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Urban Ecosystem-Level Biomimicry and Regenerative Design: Linking Ecosystem Functioning and Urban Built Environments

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journal contribution
posted on 28.06.2021, 00:46 by Eduardo Blanco, Maibritt Pedersen Zari, Kalina Raskin, Philippe Clergeau
By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will likely live in cities. Human settlements depend on resources, benefits, and services from ecosystems, but they also tend to deplete ecosystem health. To address this situation, a new urban design and planning approach is emerging. Based on regenerative design, ecosystem-level biomimicry, and ecosystem services theories, it proposes designing projects that reconnect urban space to natural ecosystems and regenerate whole socio-ecosystems, contributing to ecosystem health and ecosystem services production. In this paper, we review ecosystems as models for urban design and review recent research on ecosystem services production. We also examine two illustrative case studies using this approach: Lavasa Hill in India and Lloyd Crossing in the U.S.A. With increasing conceptualisation and application, we argue that the approach contributes positive impacts to socio-ecosystems and enables scale jumping of regenerative practices at the urban scale. However, ecosystem-level biomimicry practices in urban design to create regenerative impact still lack crucial integrated knowledge on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services productions, making it less effective than potentially it could be. We identify crucial gaps in knowledge where further research is needed and pose further relevant research questions to make ecosystem-level biomimicry approaches aiming for regenerative impact more effective.

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