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Environmental Sciences - Sustainable Development | Biophilic Cities - Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning

Biophilic Cities

Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning

Beatley, Timothy

2011, XVI, 192p.


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  • Includes examples from cities around the world as well as many in the U.S. (bat watching in Austin, urban programs in NYC, San Francisco)
  • New perspective for those working to implement urban sustainability programs - it is not just about environmental preservation, but about the need of humans to connect to nature and the benefits to community and well-being
  • Interest to planners, architects, urban designers practicing “biophilic design”, ecologists and other environmentalists

Tim 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, says Beatley. We must remember that human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis). 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, says Beatley. 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.


From urban ecological networks and connected systems of urban greenspace, to green rooftops and green walls and sidewalk gardens, Beatley reviews the emerging practice of biophilic urban design and planning, and tells many compelling stories of individuals and groups working hard to transform cities from grey and lifeless to green and biodiverse.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Biological diversity - Biomimicry - Biophilia hypothesis - Bioregional planning - Ecocity

Related subjects » Ecology - Geography - Sustainable Development

Table of contents 



Chapter 1 The Importance of Nature and Wildness in Our Urban Lives

Chapter 2 The Nature of (in) Cities

Chapter 3 Biophilic Cities: What Are They?

Chapter 4 Biophilic Urban Design and Planning

Chapter 5 New Tools and Institutions to Foster Biophilic Cities

Chapter 6 Concluding Thoughts: Growing the Biophilic City


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