Zootopia is described as a "modern, civilized world that is entirely animal", meaning it is a world where humans are nonexistent, and anthropomorphic animals thrive in their place. Originally a mammal watering hole thousands of years prior, Zootopia grew into a city built by animals, for animals. Unfortunately, Zootopia is, similar to the human world, plagued with prejudice. Small and weak animals, especially prey animals like rabbits and sheep are often underestimated by large herbivores and predators, such as elephants and tigers. The prey animals, especially the small ones, are often seen as weak and find themselves being underestimated and underappreciated. Predators are often viewed as loud, arrogant and violent by the prey, who make up 90% of the population. In spite of this, the city holds the mantra of "In Zootopia, anyone can be anything", coined by the city's noble head, Mayor Lionheart, who has worked on a project known as the Mammal Inclusion Initiative that, in theory, provides all species of mammals high-ranking opportunities in every part of Zootopian society.
To accommodate the residents of each district's environmental requirements, Zootopia's districts feature artificial climate zones. For districts with opposing climate zones, there are massive walls separating them designed to ventilate the air temperatures between the two environments, similar to air conditioners. Zootopia also features an extensive transit system for all sizes of mammal, including a smaller section for rodents to board safely from larger animals.
During story development, there were other districts in the city of Zootopia that were developed but not used in the film. These include Outback Island, the Meadowlands, the Nocturnal District, the Burrows, the Canals, and Happytown. The Burrows may have been a precursor of Bunnyburrow, and Happytown (actually a slummy district) seems particularly geared toward the darker, more dystopian versions of the story that were later abandoned.
Some existing cities in the diverse world of Zootopia had to get cut out of the film, although some remain on the map, as seen in the film. Those include the Meadowlands, which are all sheep; an Australian district named Outback Island; and the Nocturnal District, a city of caves. There were cities for reptiles and birds—classes of animals also not present in the film—as opposed to Zootopia's all-mammal population.
Zootopia is divided into several districts. Their names are as follows:
- Sahara Square
- Polar Strait*
- Little Rodentia
- Rainforest District
- Canal District*
- Nocturnal District*
- Outback Island*
*These districts were shown, alluded to, or confirmed in supplementary materials but were never mentioned or explored in the film.
- 90% of the city's population consists of prey animals.
- In ecology, this is called the Rule of Ten: for every predatory animal, there must be ten times as many prey animals to sustain them.
- There are no birds, reptiles, marine mammals, or amphibians in the city of Zootopia.
- According to the filmmakers, the carnivore citizens do not eat other mammals because the dietary supplements for them are fish, plant protein and insects, since fish and bugs are not sapient. The city also has a fast-food restaurant chain named Bug-Burga, which caters insect-based cuisine for this need.
- Zootopia's currency features deer on dollar bills (a pun on the word "buck" being a homonym-another word for "dollar" and the name for a male deer).
- In early drafts, the city was home to an illegal amusement park called "Wild Times", which was owned and operated by Nick Wilde. Though the park was scrapped from the film, it was later legitimized with an alternate background in the sequel book, The Stinky Cheese Caper.
- In one of the deleted scenes, when Judy looks at Emmet's information, one of his credentials includes the United States flag in the bottom right corner.
- File:Disney's Zootopia Zootropolis Annecy 2015 Interview
- King, Katherine (December 1, 2015). "Welcome to the World of #Zootopia". On The Scene with Mrs. Kathy King.
- Zootopia: The Essential Guide, page 13
- Eisenberg, Eric. "Three Amazing Zootopia Locations That Didn't Make It Into The Movie". Cinemablend.
- Zootopia Districts
- Lechner, Matthias. "ZOOTOPIA" (Blog).
- Radish, Christina (December 1, 2015). "‘Zootopia’: 20 Things to Know about Disney's Latest Animated Adventure". Collider.
- Howard, Byron (October 18, 2016). "@YasmeenShamli there are no birds or reptiles in the movie, just mammals. :)" (Tweet). Twitter.
- Howard, Byron (October 18, 2016). "@YasmeenShamli Zootopia is a city of all mammals. No birds. :)" (Tweet). Twitter.
- Zootopia Transit Map
- Moore, Rich (April 11, 2016). "Absolutely Kai, they live in the Nocturnal District.🏤🌙 (reply to @_rich_moore Do bats exist in the Zootopia universe?)" (Tweet). Twitter. Retrieved on May 9, 2016.
- The Stinky Cheese Caper
- Zootopia: The Essential Guide, page 16
- Bush, Jared (October 27, 2015). "@Prajzis - in #Zootopia carnivores eat plant-based proteins and insects. Bug-burga is their favorite restaurant - @ByronPHoward - got a pic?" (Tweet). Twitter.
- Moore, Rich (February 23, 2016). "Lil known fact- they eat food made from insect protein- because as everyone knows, bugs aren't sentient in Zootopia" (Tweet). Twitter.
- Howard, Byron (March 15, 2016). "#Zootopia answers for fans! Some people asked for clarity, so Q#3 should be clearer now. :) #Zootropolis #Zoomania" (Tweet). Twitter. Retrieved on March 15, 2016.