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Biophilic Design, Cities and Camps

a holistic model to avoid our extintion...

Biophilia is “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature” (Kellert & Calabrese 2015)

Biophilia supports the proposition that urban environments need to be integrated with nature for reasons of psychological health as well as environmental fit: a growing body of scientific study indicates that humans need daily contact with nature to be productive and healthy, have evolved as part of nature, and are interdependent and interconnected to nature and other forms of life (Beatley, 2011).

How to make our cities and territories more health, welcoming and more hospitable in a planet at risk of environmental catastrophes? How to coexist in a growing condition of ethnicities, cultures and needs? What’s extremely urgent in cities nowadays is focusing on improving the quality of neighborhoods with open and green spaces where people can walk, interact and connect, with adequate security measures, to improve their physical and mental condition. The ultimate goal of politicians, citizens, and all inhabitants of cities, fire-prone or flooding-prone areas should be to improve community resilience.

“The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone” ~J. Benyus.

At BioMIMESIS design we put the biophilia hypothesis into practice at an urban and peri-urban scale, proposing a new “resilient community” model that integrates biophilic elements (together with Biomimicry and Permaculture principles).

By understanding how natural systems work, how all things are interrelated and interdependent, and how they interact with each other, we can create “Persuasive urban systems”, (and peri-urban), that reflect the properties of natural systems — sustainable, energy efficient, harmonious and life-affirming. We can design food production systems, intentional communities, bio-inspired businesses or any other human system in a more sustainable way. Furthermore, it is now being recognized by all governments around the world that creating strong bonds and mutual support between rural and urban areas is the key to achieving intelligent, circular and inclusive development for a sustainable world.

Biomimesis design is an architect studio and an innovative start-up focused on the development of “living labs” (bioCamps) based on micro-housing, mobility and community systems that emulate life itself while safeguarding the territory and the environment. Referring to biological and ecological principles, “freeDOME” project is aimed at re-qualifying and connecting urban, peri-urban and/or rural under-used spaces, through an integrated smart system based on intelligent vehicular Pods and Camps where people can connect and share, grow their own food and develop a new form of work-life environment that can lead to a more inclusive, healthy, active and sustainable lifestyle. This system will reduce the traffic to and from city centres, the consumption of fuel, water, energy and land therefore our environmental footprint. The project operates on two fronts to promote a sustainable technological dimension towards a non-fragile and integrated habitat model:

First, via the development of a fully self-sustaining autonomous “biopod” (a smart mobility solution in the form of a novel living + working bioShell for “millennials and new nomads”, fully off-grid and capable of generating its own energy, supporting flexible and highly integrated and networked living style). The shells, defined as freeDOME bio(mimetic)Pods, will function as a smart and green solution for accommodation, work and commuting, facilitating internal mobility and sustainable integration between humans and natural habitats.

freeDOME biopod. C 2015 Serena Fiorelli

Second, via the definition of an integrated, adaptable and scalable pilot project "FreeDOME bio(Philic)Camp" as a new solution for the ecological and social recovery of otherwise derelict, fragile or under-used urban, suburban or rural zones in a resilient, flexible and inclusive way and their networking. The camps will serve as self-sufficient farms for hosting the autonomous pods and will be distinguished by their high connectivity, accessibility and environmentally-friendly features. For a urban-rural connection we envision 2 different Camp models: The Agri-camps" will represent “open-sky hubs” where the individuals, through their “bio-shell” will be able to work or study remotely, reducing traffic, emission and in the same time learning to be self-sufficient by collaborating with the ecosystem. The "Urban camps", seen as smarter sharing-neighborhoods for the 21st century millennials living, are also envisioned as new urban transformation engines, which will render a new land use and gentrification culture to fuse seamlessly within the dense urban fabric. Acting as engines for PED (positive energy districts), they should be placed at 20 minutes walking distance and be connected with the suburban and ‘Agri Camps’ through greenways or “ecological corridors” for bikes and the Pods.

“A holistic project which, through ecological and biological principles, mimics nature and ancient civilizations to shift our impact from destructive to regenerative. The bioCamp is a semi-naomadic ‘living lab’ where young adults, in synergy with each other and with nature, learn to live in a more sustainable, healthy and connected way, meanwhile protecting the environment.”

freeDOME bioPHILIC urban camp. Rendering: High Park, Toronto. C 2015 Serena Fiorelli

In this modern digital world, where all activities are moving on-line and less space is needed, “freeDOME is the place where both nature and humanity coexist in harmony through a smarter use of technology”.

The research and project have been developed between Italy, where the automotive design and the ‘Made in Italy’ design in general have represented the national identity for centuries, and Australia, where the semi-nomadic Aboriginal culture, their relationship with the land and the wild extended territory, perfectly favour the hypothesis of new forms of “semi-nomadic and resilient communities”.

‘step back to move forward, tomorrow will be less.’

Serena Fiorelli- BioMIMESIS design

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