Although an outstanding musical project- in which the eccentric Icelandic artist Bjork explores and plays with the idea of interconnection between music, nature and technology - Biophilia finds its origin in a scientific concept brought to life by the American biologist Edward O. Wilson (also known for his work on ‘Biodiversity’).
Essentially, Edward O. Wilson suggests that human kind is intimately attached to other living systems but how does this love of living systems (literally) echo in our urban environment? Is its translation into derivatives like biophilic cities or biophilic urbanism only another unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate sustainable development? We could also ponder on the actual impact of the implementation of an urban forest strategy such as the one prepared by the City of Melbourne in an attempt to relocate the city within the forest rather that the forest in the city while ensuring that the municipality’s canopy cover continues to expand.
Is the greening of the city enough?
There are numerous acknowledged benefits to bringing nature to the cities from alleviating pollution, environment protection, and biodiversity conservation to reducing urban heat islands.
What distinguishes Biophilia from the traditional sustainability movement is its focus on reconnecting people to the nature. Or like others have put it: Biophilia is the missing puzzle of sustainable development which takes it a step further.
Cities worldwide are joining this new approach to urbanism and are providing remarkable examples of dense urban environment intrinsically embedded with nature. Cities such as Oslo and Singapore are setting an example for future biophilic cities. It has involved the restoration of rivers through the city (the Akersleva River in Oslo which is now a green corridor), the incorporation of Park Connectors in Singapore which connects two regional parks in a highly urbanised city. This bond between the urbanites and the nature infiltrates not only the streets, parks, building facades or rooftops but also places such as schools, hospitals and office buildings.
How radically different Elizabeth Street would be if the former creek was restored along with a renewed ecosystem.
Read more on biophilic cities and design.