November 18, 2010 — Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, School of Architecture, "Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning." Island Press.
Beatley has long been a leader in advocating for the "greening" of cities. But too often, he notes, urban greening efforts focus on everything except nature, emphasizing such elements as public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems. While these are important aspects of reimagining urban living, they are not enough, Beatley writes.
Human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world, he argues, and any vision of a sustainable urban future must place its focus squarely on nature – on the presence, conservation and celebration of the actual green features and natural life forms.
A biophilic city is more than simply a biodiverse city, Beatley writes. It is a place that learns from nature and emulates natural systems, incorporates natural forms and images into its buildings and cityscapes, and designs and plans in conjunction with nature. A biophilic city cherishes the natural features that already exist, but also works to restore and repair what has been lost or degraded.
In "Biophilic Cities," Beatley not only outlines the essential elements of a biophilic city, but provides examples and stories about cities that have successfully integrated biophilic elements – from the building to the regional level – around the world.