The plans to build a "cage-free" zoo in Denmark are interesting but unrealistic
One aspect of writing for Psychology Today that I really enjoy is that I receive numerous emails from people alerting me to news items I might have missed. One project about which I hadn't known that generated a lot of alerts involved futuristic plans to build a "cage-free" zoo in Denmark by the Danish architecture firm called BIG. This project has generated a lot of press and two good reviews can be found in an essay in Slate called "A Cage-Free Zoo That Helps Hide the Humans From the Animals" by Kristin Hohenadel and in an essay in The Guardian by Oliver Wainwright titled "Denmark's cage-free zoo will put humans in captivity."
Can zoos really be cage-free or cageless?
This essay is more an alert about this ambitious project, as it is a work in progress, and an answer to a large number of queries about whether or not zoos can truly be cage-free, cageless, or enclosure-free. They cannot. And, the titles for the above and other essays, truly are misleading for there will be cages and the humans will not be placed in captivity.
Zoos, by definition, are holding their residents captive and of course they have to do this. Whether the homes of the animals are small, medium, or large, and even if they're called "enclosures" or "habitats" for a specific animal with relatively invisible barriers or full of water, they still are cages because they restrict the movements of the animals, as they must do. And, the visitors are free to come and go whenever they choose to do so.