b. 1986, HK.


Madeleine L. Hykes

I am a recent graduate from McGill University with a degree in Honours Urban Studies. This portfolio shares some intersections between my academic interests and creative pursuits within the realm of urbanism. I am currently building on my qualitative research background in urban studies, and exploring 3D printing, participatory planning, and inclusive design.



In this portfolio I have compiled different projects I have worked on over the past few years, the majority of which have taken place between 2016 and today. Because much of my approach to research (or academic exploration, I should say) has been textually-based, the visual components I share here are often ancillary outcomes of a certain project. This is the case with my photos taken in Hanoi. I am keen to continue finding a middle-ground between the rigour of academic work and the value of design in making information accessible in a variety of different ways. I hope this website makes this aim clear, and that the various pages on here share some insight into the range of ideas I am interested in, softwares I have learned and added to my toolkit, and the way in which I, as an individual, bring a unique approach to work.

Research on Urban Accessibility

Misc. Explorations

Photo & Film


Research Interests

Urban development models in Southeast Asia

Participatory Research Methods & Design

multi-sensory environments

Urban Public spaces

future mobilities

Social Architecture 

CV June 2019 JPG.jpg

My Current CV

Last Updated: June 2019

a bit more about me

I was born in France and lived in Paris until the age of seven before moving with my mother to Connecticut for five years and then to East Hampton, NY so that I could attend The Ross School. Here, the curriculum was, by and large, centred on exposing students to the value of an integrated, multi-disciplinary, critical and systems thinking approach to education. This included an emphasis on interacting with, learning from, and connecting to people from all around the world. During the months of March, high schoolers were able to go in groups to different areas of the world and to learn about different subjects, be it ethnomusicology, urban development, the Renaissance, and so on and so forth.

Beginning with travels with my school to Southeast Asia in 2012 and 2014, I found myself in awe of urbanization strategies being practiced in China and Myanmar, particularly the differences in the rhetorics being used by officials to justify large-scale urban developments. This particular interest in better understanding the relationship between citizen, state, and urban fabric led, in part, to my pursuit of an honours thesis based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Over the course of six-weeks I traveled around the city meeting with youth, long-time residents, urban planners, and academics to grasp how top-down decisions are being perceived, experienced, and navigated by one growing demographic group: youth.

Following the completion of my thesis, I took part in the first BLUE Fellowship at Building 21—a new innovation centre affiliated with McGill University that focuses on providing students and young researchers with a space to pursue unconventional ideas without constraint. Here, I sought to understand the experience of cities and urban (in)justice from a different lens—that is, through the perspective of non-sighted individuals. As a sighted researcher, I conducted walk-along interviews with non-sighted people and learned how minute details in the city of Montreal translate into access barriers. Using the ‘intellectual makerspace’ that is B21, I put together a multi-media installation that re-created the immersive setting in which these interviews took place. This was with the goal of broadening discussions around (in)accessibility in Montreal and to explore a different means through which notions of embodied comfort and discomfort are perpetuated in cities.

Currently, I am working on an independent research project related to enhancing accessibility at Building 21 through interviews with disabled people, 3D printing braille signs, and creating an interactive map.


Timeline of various projects and creative explorations between 2014 and 2019