See the featured Urban Greenprint project (end of post), other resources, and the conference link below for a quick glimpse of an inspiring range of innovative, leading-edge, regenerative/ecological/biomimicry-based urban planning projects.
This range of initiatives may be useful for planners in furter defining the goal, domain, and methods of sustainability planning (the profession or an individual department). These projects are too design/building focused to define the full domain of planning, but the connections to the larger city and a/the method is illuminated. There is not much biophilia or biodiversity directly featured, but it is embedded.
The question to planners: what would the “planning” behind this work look like (code, general plan policies, guidelines, themes, project types, stakeholder engagement initiatives, etc.)?
The Urban Greenprint Project mentioned below is included in the list under the title, Biomimicry & the Urban Greenprint: how can our cities function like forests (that’s Bill McDonough's famous challenge).
The Sustainable Design & Development Conference 2013 (Northwest) has some other interesting topics. This is still mostly a green building dialogue, although the movement towards planning is visible.
Looks like Passive House is getting featured as affordable building technology for habitat for humanity.
This Seattle 2030 Districts Rising presentation is worth skimming. It looks similsr to an EcoDistrict approach. Again, it’s building based, and does not go as far as planning can go, but it is a vision and has some planning characteristics. It is based on the Architecture 2030 Challenge (and associated Planning 2030 Challenge). The Architect 2030's website also profiles their Seattle 2030 District's initiative.
URBAN GREENPRINT PROJECT: Here is how Jennifer Barnes, co-founder, the project.
The Urban Greenprint is a biomimicry-inspired approach that asks what Nature can teach us that will help our cities be more resilient, healthy and livable. Although many of the current strategies being applied to solve issues like stormwater mitigation, energy efficiency and CO2 sequestration are effective, these alone will not solve the magnitude of issues that face us.
This methodology approaches environmental issues in two atypical ways: by gaining a deep understanding of a city’s predevelopment ecosystems, and by applying biomimicry to the design process to generate solutions which emulate nature.
The goal is not to recreate the predevelopment ecosystem but instead to understand how urban structures and spaces can restore the functions those earlier ecosystems provided. Through place-based research and a biomimetic process, the Urban Greenprint:
1) Provides biomimicry design guidelines
2) Proposes and champions real projects
3) Establishes a connective framework between existing city initiatives
The combination of these efforts creates a cohesive approach to improving a city’s ecological health and the wellbeing of its population.