Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature Into Urban Design and Planning
About the Book: Along with other important elements of urban greening, we must remember that human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis).
In Biophilic Cities, Beatley outlines the essential elements of a biophilic city and 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, green walls and sidewalk gardens, Biophilic Cities 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 gray and lifeless to green and biodiverse.
“Because of his great vision, Tim Beatley is a hero to many of us. To paraphrase a famous quote, some people see cities as they are and ask why; Tim Beatley sees cities as they could be (filled with nature) and says why not?”
-Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
About the Book: The eminent biologist reflects on his own response to nature and the aesthetic aspects of his exploration of natural systems in an intensely personal essay that examines the essential links between mankind and the rest of the living world. (Harvard University Press, 1984)
Praise: “A fine memoir by one of America’s foremost evolutionary biologists. E. O. Wilson defines biophilia as ‘the innate tendency [in human beings] to focus on life and lifelike process. To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it, hopes rise on its currents.’ Scientifically demonstrating this human propensity would be a task beyond the scope of today’s biology, and Wilson wisely eschews that course. Instead, he relies on his own experiences and feelings as a field biologist, cleverly interweaving them with the facts, history, and philosophy of evolutionary biology and an eclectic set of cultural observations.
–Paul R. Ehrlich (Natural History )
Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life
About the Book: The groundbreaking guide to the emerging practice of biophilic design
This book offers a paradigm shift in how we design and build our buildings and our communities, one that recognizes that the positive experience of natural systems and processes in our buildings and constructed landscapes is critical to human health, performance, and well-being. Biophilic design is about humanity’s place in nature and the natural world’s place in human society, where mutuality, respect, and enriching relationships can and should exist at all levels and should emerge as the norm rather than the exception.
Written for architects, landscape architects, planners,developers, environmental designers, as well as building owners, Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life is a guide to the theory, science, and practice of biophilic design. Twenty-three original and timely essays by world-renowned scientists, designers, and practitioners
Praise: “When nature inspires our architecture—not just how it looks but how buildings and communities actually function—we will have made great strides as a society. Biophilic Design provides us with tremendous insight into the ‘why,’ then builds us a road map for what is sure to be the next great design journey of our times.”
—Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chairman, U.S. Green Building Council
Stephen Kellert, Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection, Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005.
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, NC, 2005.
E.O. Wilson, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, W.W. Norton and Company, 2006
The Nature of Cities Film
The Nature of Cities can be purchased. The Biophilic Cities project has a small library of DVD copies of The Nature of Cities to loan for screenings. If you would like to borrow a copy please email Tim Beatley at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on our home page.
The Nature of Cities is a one hour documentary about the projects and people in cities across the world who believe that, even as we become more urbanized, we must reclaim an essential piece of our humanness – our connection to the nature around us. Amazing projects in cities around the globe have already begun this task. It is our goal to raise the consciousness and understanding of this movement as we explore the need of moving not only to sustainability, but also to a regenerative way of living.
Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life
“Cities around the world are conserving species and restoring habitat.”
by Richard Blaustein | Appeared in BioScience Journal, February 2013.
- “The Distinction between Humans & Nature: Human Perceptions of Connectedness to Nature & Elements of the Natural & Unnatural”
by Joanne Vining, Melinda S. Merrick
by Branas, Cheney, MacDonald, Tam, Jackson, Have
Mayer, S. F., & Frantz, C. M.
10 ways to connect with nature in the city!
1. Invite native flora and fauna into your life: City version! Plant a window box with native species, keep an eye out for birds and insects at your window or on your street. What are other ways you can find native flora and fauna in the city?
2. Go on a nature scavenger hunt of your block! How many different birds do you see? Plants? Insects? Other types of nature?
3. Go camping in a city park! See if your city has a program for your family to spend a night under the stars in the city!
4. Participate in a community garden!
5. Adopt a family tree in your neighborhood! Do sketchings and rubbings. Collect leaves and take notes as it changes over time.
6. Do a sound inventory! How many different nature sounds can you identify? Use a smartphone app to test yourself! Take recordings of sounds to share with your friends and neighbors.
7. Star gaze! Take a walk around the city and search for the best place to see stars. A great opportunity to discuss light pollution.
8. Use nature as art! Go on an urban hike and collect objects like rocks, leaves, and seeds and use them as stamps or trace them on paper.
9. Follow the creek! Find a creek and follow it through the city on an afternoon hike! See where it goes underground and try to find where it comes out!
10.Measure the sun! Use chalk to measure the sun on asphalt. Measure how its position changes over time and how it might be different on different days.
Children’s Books about Nature in Cities and Suburbs
- The Urban Animal: An enlightening and in-depth look at wildlife in the towns and cities of the world by Barbara Taylor. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2000.
- Urban Roosts: Where Birds Nest in the City by Barbara Bash. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books and Little, Brown & Co. of Boston, MA, 1990.
- For these and other resources, see: http://www.oh-pin.org/articles/pex-04-nature-connections-for-ki.pdf
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center:
New York Restoration Society:
Urban and Community Forestry (DOA)
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society /Philly Green
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities:
American Planning Association
American Society of Landscape Architects