Planning meets biomimicry?

See the featured Urban Greenprint project, other resources, and the conference link below for a quick glimpse of an inspiring range of innovative, leading-edge, regenerative/ecological/biomimicry-based urban planning projects.

This range of initiatives may be useful for planners in further defining the goal, domain, and methods of sustainability planning (the profession or an individual department).  These projects are too design/building focused to define the full domain of planning, but the connections to the larger city and a/the method is illuminated.  There is not much biophilia or biodiversity directly featured, but it is embedded.

The question to planners:  what would the “planning” behind this work look like (code, general plan policies, guidelines, themes, project types, stakeholder engagement initiatives, etc.)?

The Urban Greenprint Project mentioned below is included in the list under the title, Biomimicry & the Urban Greenprint: how can our cities function like forests (that’s Bill McDonough’s famous challenge, as you likely know).

The Sustainable Design & Development Conf 2013 (Northwest) has some other interesting topics. This is still mostly a green building dialogue, although the movement towards planning is visible.

Looks like Passive House is getting featured as affordable building technology for habitat for humanity.

This Seattle 2030 Districts Rising is worth skimming. It looks similar to the EcoDistrict concept. Again, it is building based. As such, it does not go as far as planning can go, but it is a vision and includes some planning characterisitcs. It is based on the Architecture 2030 Challenge (and associated Planning 2030 Challenge). The Architect 2030’s website also profiles their Seattle 2030 District’s initiative.

URBAN GREENPRINT PROJECT (Jennifer Barnes‘co-founder).

The Urban Greenprint is a biomimicry-inspired approach that asks what Nature can teach us that will help our cities be more resilient, healthy and livable. Although many of the current strategies being applied to solve issues like stormwater mitigation, energy efficiency and CO2 sequestration are effective, these alone will not solve the magnitude of issues that face us.

This methodology approaches environmental issues in two atypical ways: by gaining a deep understanding of a city’s predevelopment ecosystems, and by applying biomimicry to the design process to generate solutions which emulate nature.

The goal is not to recreate the predevelopment ecosystem but instead to understand how urban structures and spaces can restore the functions those earlier ecosystems provided. Through place-based research and a biomimetic process, the Urban Greenprint:

1) Provides biomimicry design guidelines

2) Proposes and champions real projects

3) Establishes a connective framework between existing city initiatives

The combination of these efforts creates a cohesive approach to improving a city’s ecological health and the wellbeing of its population.


1 thought on “Planning meets biomimicry?”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! As a planner and Permaculture teacher I am very interested in this topic. I see Permaculture as the ideal system design framework for planners looking to create more resilient and sustainable communities. It is scaleable and you can start wherever the political will exists or your budget will allow. Plus there are likely to be permaculturists within your community already ready to help. We have started offering Permaculture training specifically for planners. Reach out if you are interested in collaborating.

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