Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design
7 x 10
69 photos, 3 illustrations
7 x 10
69 photos, 3 illustrations
What if, even in the heart of a densely developed city, people could have meaningful encounters with nature? While parks, street trees, and green roofs are increasingly appreciated for their technical services like stormwater reduction, from a biophilic viewpoint, they also facilitate experiences that contribute to better physical and mental health: natural elements in play areas can lessen children's symptoms of ADHD, and adults who exercise in natural spaces can experience greater reductions in anxiety and blood pressure.
The Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design offers practical advice and inspiration for ensuring that nature in the city is more than infrastructure—that it also promotes well-being and creates an emotional connection to the earth among urban residents. Divided into six parts, the Handbook begins by introducing key ideas, literature, and theory about biophilic urbanism. Chapters highlight urban biophilic innovations in more than a dozen global cities. The final part concludes with lessons on how to advance an agenda for urban biophilia and an extensive list of resources.
As the most comprehensive reference on the emerging field of biophilic urbanism, the Handbook is essential reading for students and practitioners looking to place nature at the core of their planning and design ideas and encourage what preeminent biologist E.O. Wilson described as "the innate emotional connection of humans to all living things."
"As humans have now become predominately an urban species the need for a connection to nature is ever more important. Timothy Beatley has beautifully documented the nature-connecting strategies that different cities are using to improve the health and well-being of their citizens and local ecosystems."
Bill Browning, Founding Partner, Terrapin Bright Green
"Ecological urbanism has taken root and blossomed over the past four decades. Tim Beatley's Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design gathers the fruits of that movement: a rich cornucopia of inspiring projects and practices from across the globe, which are models for all cities."
Anne Whiston Spirn, author of The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design
"Professor Beatley grasps the fundamental role of ecological restoration and stewardship in achieving urban environmental sustainability and resilience. He performs a heroic service by meticulously illustrating that communities all around Earth are reintegrating nature into everyday life in their own place-based ways."
Peter Brastow, Biodiversity Coordinator for San Francisco, California
"In moving beyond green architectural, infrastructural, and technological fixes, Beatley emphasizes an integrated socio-ecological approach to nature-centered urban living—an approach that is increasingly urgent and essential in the Anthropocene. Grounded in theory and accompanied by an international suite of best-and-next practices, this work offers a timely call to action for the planning and design of resilient cities that nurture, protect, and connect with the nature that sustains us."
Nina-Marie E. Lister, Associate Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Part I. The Power and Promise of Biophilic Cities
Chapter 1. The Power of Urban Nature: The Essential Benefits of a Biophilic Urbanism
Chapter 2. Placing Biophilic Cities: Planning History, Theory and the New Sustainability
Chapter 3. Urban Trends and Nature Trends: Can the Two Intersect?
Chapter 4. Biophilic Cities: Examining the Metrics and Theory
Part II. The Practice of Biophilic Urbanism: Cities Leading the Way
Chapter 5. Singapore: City in a Garden
Chapter 6. Wellington, NZ: Nature on the Edge
Chapter 7. Milwaukee: Greening the Rust Belt
Chapter 8. Birmingham: Health, Nature and Urban Regeneration
Chapter 9. Phoenix: The Promise of Biophilia in the Desert
Chapter 10. Portland: Nature in the Compact City
Chapter 11. San Francisco: From Park City to Wild City
Chapter 12. Oslo: The City of Forest and Fjord
Chapter 13. Vitoria-Gasteiz
Chapter 14. Global Survey of Cities: Shorter City Cases and Exemplars
Part III. Exemplary Tools, Policy Practices
Chapter 15. Detailed Profiles of Biophilic Design Tools Techniques, Design Ideas
Part IV. Successes and Future Directions
Chapter 16. Biophilic Cities in the Age of Climate Change: Mitigation, Resilience Through Nature
Chapter 17. What Can Be Learned From the Best Biophilic Cities?
Chapter 18. Key Obstacles to Biophilic Cities (And Ways To Overcome Them)
Chapter 19. Conclusions and Future Directions
Few things in the world have as much immediate ability to shift me into a different mood, into a different and more positive outlook, than birds—seeing them, hearing them, watching their often frenetic but joyful movements and machinations. Birds, and animals more generally, don’t receive the attention they deserve among urban designers and planners. They are so profoundly a part of the quality of life, and so important to the positive mental health of urban residents, that they ought to be given more attention in planning. And of course the many design decisions we make about our buildings and urban neighborhoods have major implications for birds. Bird-building collisions account for hundreds of millions of bird deaths a year.
That could change if we generally followed bird-friendly design guidelines. We review some of these ideas in the Handbook of Biophilic City Planning and Design. One remarkable building we profiled is the Studio Gang–designed Aqua Tower in Chicago. With its visually distinct, undulating facade, birds are able to see this building and avoid colliding with it. Cities can of course take many other steps, and many, such as the City of San Francisco, also profiled in the Handbook, have adopted impressive “Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings. These standards actually mandate bird-friendly window and facade treatments. There are lights-out programs in San Francisco, as well as in Chicago, Toronto and other cities. Nonprofits like FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) in Toronto are working to raise awareness about bird-building fatalities and what we can do about them.
In another city profiled in our book, Wellington, New Zealand, there is a remarkable wild preserve called Zealandia (surrounded by a predator-proof fence), that seeks to allow native species to rebound. With the tagline “bringing birdsong back to Wellington,” Zealandia has already been successful as more residents and neighborhoods are experiencing formerly-decimated native birds like the Kaka (a species of parrot), and this species has really rebounded. For many of us who are advocates of urbanism there is a growing appreciation of the power and life-enhancing nature of birdsong! And perhaps a metric for judging the long term success of city planning and design (what percentage of city’s neighborhoods can one hear native birdsong?).
One of my favorite species of bird, both to hear and to watch, is the Chimney Swift. Their speed and aerobatics are wonderful and gravity-defying. Yet their numbers are in decline, in part because of the found in homes and businesses.
Communities around the country have sought to remedy this by erecting Swift Towers. From Chicago to Raleigh, North Carolina, these towers are popping up to create new nesting spaces and roosting spots. But we need more efforts to ensure that existing chimneys remain as habitat. As the time for southern migration approaches, the swifts begin to congregate in large flocks, and each evening settle to roost in dramatic fashion—a wondrous swirling vortex of birds that somehow makes its way through the opening of a chimney. It can be a moment of collective wonder and solace, as it is in places like Arlington County, Virginia, where residents come together to watch this spectacle, or in Portland, Oregon, where groups enjoy watching Vaux Swifts engage in similar aerobatics. This is a group (bird) therapy that adds immensely to our urban lives.
Timothy Beatley is Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for over twenty-five years. His books include Blue Urbanism, Biophilic Cities, Resilient Cities, and Green Urbanism.