Sunday, January 15, 2012

Envisioning Biophilic Cities

I learned of an upcoming lecture that sounds fascinating from the latest issue of the Eugene Weekly. Noted urban planner and sustainability author Timothy Beatley will advocate the greening of cities in a talk this Tuesday, January 17 at Fenton Hall on the University of Oregon campus.

Beatley is a 1981 Master’s in Urban Planning graduate of the University of Oregon (which means that he and I no doubt crossed paths, although I’ve never met him) and secured his PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He presently teaches as the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia.

He is the author of BiophilicCities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning (Island Press 2010), a book in which he outlines the essential elements of a biophilic city. These include being a place that learns from nature and emulates natural systems, incorporates natural forms and images into its buildings and landscapes, and designs and plans in conjunction with nature. According to Beatley, a biophilic city cherishes the natural features that already exist but also works to restore and repair what has been lost or degraded.

In a conversation with Weekly editor Ted Taylor, Beatley commented about how the architecture community is largely oriented to buildings, but he would like to see the discussion go beyond just the design of structures. “We need that bond with nature,” he said. “The evidence is pretty convincing that we carry with us, in our ancient brains, the need for connection with the natural world in order to be happy, healthy and productive.”

Because of other commitments next Tuesday, I unfortunately won’t be able to attend Beatley’s lecture. If any of you do attend, I’d welcome your comments on my blog about your impressions and what you may have learned.

What:  Envisioning Biophilic Cities, a lecture by Timothy Beatley

When:  Tuesday, January 17, 2012 – 5:30 PM

Where:  Fenton Hall, room 110, on the University of Oregon campus

Cost:  Free

No comments: