Designing Cities of the Future with the Principles of Biomimicry and Circular Metabolism

By Thomas Spiegelhalter.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cities are responsible for approximately 80 percent of the Green House Gases emitted worldwide and they play a crucial role in the fight against climate change. Historically, societies unable to solve their environmental crisis have either migrated or become extinct. Early societies may have even achieved a better consistency among their resource extraction, use, and life-cycle, a viscosity more in tune with their ecosystems than our own. In comparison, the natural world has provided ideal models of resource balance that have evolved over millions of years. Native ecosystems are composed of an abundance of life forms that utilize local resources in a way that is synergistically supportive of each other. Therefore, cities themselves must be viewed as complex ecological systems and this attitude must include any approach to designing cities and managing their use of resources. No cities in the world have yet to succeed in fully implementing a complete, integrated, circular metabolism resource plan.
However, the two most important inspiring cities in Europe are examined in this research, both pertaining to circular metabolism and biomimicking nature towards becoming carbon-neutral cities. The way these two cities in two different climate zones design, engineer, plan and implement resource saving strategies, where for example waste is recovered as resource, and how they globally benchmark the life-cycle of their urban systems are examined and compared.

Keywords: Biomimicry, Circular Metabolism, Low-Carbon-Economy, Ecocycles

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.267-280. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.051MB).

Prof. Thomas Spiegelhalter

Professor, Sustainability and Design, Environmental Systems, Advanced Systems Integration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA

Thomas Spiegelhalter has realized research demonstration work in Europe and the US in numerous contextual, solar, zero-fossil-energy, and low-energy building realizations projects; large-scale sustainability master planning, and redevelopment projects for abandoned post-industrial sites. Many of his completed projects have been published in International anthologies such in “Contemporary European Architects, Volume V,” 1997, Building a New Millennium 1999-2000”, both Benedict Taschen Publisher, in “Solar Architecture for Europe, Publisher Birkhäuser, 1996, in “The Architectural Review, on “Ecology and Architecture,” in 1998, in”Architectural Record-”DESIGN VANGUARD AWARD 2003 or in the monograph “Adaptable Technologies - Le tecnologie adattabili nelle architetture di Thomas Spiegelhalter” by Angeli Publisher, Rome, in 2008. Spiegelhalter includes in his master planning, research, and consultation projects multiple sustainability measurement criteria systems such as the ISO 9000/14000 standards, IEA Solar City, the European Building Energy Performance Certificate Methodology, the World GBC, CASBEE, DNGB, Energy Star, Cascadia, and the USGBC LEED rating systems. Since 1990, he has worked with numerous EU and US Universities to research on multi-disciplinary ecological engineering projects. As a result of his 20 years of design and built work, professional consulting, awarded research, teaching, Spiegelhalter has received 54 prizes, awards, and honors in European and US sustainability competitions.


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