March 28, 2014
Biomimetics and Resiliency in Urban Settlements: Connecting Nature with Human Nature
Scientists predict that extreme meteorological events are becoming more frequent and destructive. For instance late last year, HYPERLINK "http://youtu.be/SapbtItpTgs" t "_blank" Haiyan (local name Yolanda), the strongest storm recorded in the world so far, decimated central island cities in the Philippines. Early this year, data sourced from the Japanese Meteorological Agency indicated extreme weather occurrences across […]
Scientists predict that extreme meteorological events are becoming more frequent and destructive. For instance late last year, HYPERLINK "http://youtu.be/SapbtItpTgs" t "_blank" Haiyan (local name Yolanda), the strongest storm recorded in the world so far, decimated central island cities in the Philippines. Early this year, data sourced from the Japanese Meteorological Agency indicated extreme weather occurrences across the globe. These pose critical challenges to our current and future rebuilding programs in cities where extreme weather has become the new “benchmark for disaster prevention.” WHO SAYS THIS? WHEN YOU USE A QUOTE, YOU NEED ATTRIBUTE IT TO SOMEONE. What are the systems and strategies that can get us to resiliency?
In searching for sustainable strategies for the rebuilding program of the HYPERLINK "http://leapfrogproject.liraluis.com/About.html" t "_blank" Leapfrog Project for Central Philippines, I came across the Global Innovation Science Handbook. It contains 50 chapters that can be read independently, on innovation within a variety of industries. Chapter 9, written by design scientist and futurist Melissa Sterry, focuses on “ HYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/Global-Innovation-Science-Handbook-Chapter-ebook/dp/B00I5RMK6C" t "_blank" Biomimetics: Learning From Life.” It grips you with insights on two great fields of human endeavor: leading-edge science and technology. While it has a sense of otherworldliness bordering on “science fiction film set far in the future,” WHO SAYS THIS? it’s delivered in an accessible prose that will be appreciated by practicing architects, designers, even casual readers. The text provokes thought about biomimetics as the intuitive part of our natural self and nature itself.
“Bionics for the Body” will inspire those interested in applying neuroscience to architecture. In “We All Have the Technology: DIY Bionics for All,” I can see the potential in developing nations where they are not limited by old methods of manufacturing and the lack of industrial-scale machines for production. Consider this: if one-third of the world's population is online and 60 percent of these users are from developing countries (per United Nations 2013 survey), then a maker economy that results from the concepts in “DIY Bionics” it will make it possible for them to flourish.
The topic that resonates with me as an architect is “A City for All Seasons: Biomimetics in the Built Environment.” It challenges us to confront our ability to suspend disbelief and at the same time inspire creativity for our own agency.
Perhaps one of Melissa's strengths is her ability to bring to life the colorful creations illustrated in leading-edge science and technology. They become convincing potential drivers that intuit solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues like the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal No.8, which aims to develop global partnerships for development.
I look forward to using this handbook as a resource and inspiration for rebuilding projects in the Philippines post-Haiyan, as well as reading further narratives by Melissa Sterry about Bionic City, including her sensitive observations about nature and a better world where everyone could flourish.
Lira Luis, AIA, RIBA, NCARB, CeM, LEED AP BD+C is a global architect specializing in organic architecture. She graduated with a Master of Architecture degree from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture, Cum Laude, from the University of Santo Tomas. She holds multiple architect licenses in Asia, North America, and a Chartered Architect designation in the UK. She is currently a Presidential-Appointee to the national leadership of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Diversity Council and the Advisory Group of the Practice Management Knowledge Community.