Biomimicry approach to urban planning

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Bachelor's thesis
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Biomimicry aims to emulate the processes and logic of natural systems to solve human-made problems. Bio-inspired technologies have been applied in various fields, such as robotics, biotechnology, computer science, engineering, and architectural design. However, they have rarely been used in fields where a broader understanding is needed, such as urban planning and design. This is where complexity and interactions between systems increase exponentially. Thus, the research question of how to apply biomimicry is granted its relevance. The aim of this study is to provide planning and design guidelines for the district of Coyoacan, using biomimicry as a guide and design tool. To achieve this the following steps are proposed, 1) Reviewing the state of the art in biomimicry. 2) Conducting a literature review. 3) Developing an understanding of the chosen area. 4) Proposing planning and design guidelines for the area following the “Challenge to Biology” methodology that consists of different steps. Its starting point is to identify the local urban challenge(s) to be solved. The local challenges identified are: conflictive crossings, oversized blocks along main roads, irregular grids and comb shaped blocks with end roads. Several biological systems were analyzed in order to find design principles that could properly be translated and emulated to the urban context of Coyoacan District. These analyzed systems were: veins network systems in leaves that helped reconfiguring distribution of flow and propose extension of some roads. The optimization and efficiency of finding a route of slime mold was emulated to find the most appropriate route in some areas, the organizational system of plant and blood cells was emulated to redesign irregular blocks. The findings of the application of this method demonstrated that the local design challenges can be provided design solutions, if a proper understanding and emulation of the biological systems is followed. The aim is to apply the biomimicry approach in urban planning and design. This research aims to make two contributions. The first is to promote the importance of integrating knowledge from other fields such as biology and ecology, whereby future potential “urban ecologists” will work from an integrative platform of knowledge, and the importance of urban ecologies will be highlighted. The second is to apply a methodology of emulating natural form, processes or ecosystem, which is called Biomimicry within the urban context of Coyoacan District in Mexico City.
Lapintie, Kimmo
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Di Marino, Mina
Hewidy, Hossam
biomimicry, urban, planning, design
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