Using the Structures of a Forest to Design a City

Designers are looking at forests to help design cities. Forests are able to deal with the harsh climate and still provide plenty of resources for its communities. Martin Smith reports that it is important to look at forests to see how we can allocate our resources efficiently to help our rising population problem (2015). A city in Mumbai, India is looking at their deciduous forests to help them design their urban center. The city of Lavasa is a place where monsoonal waters occur frequently so their towns accumulate water constantly. This can create a problem because the water can harm the city’s infrastructure and pollutants can be spread around creating health hazards. Lavasa, therefore, is mimicking deciduous forests by creating roads and pavement that allow water to reach the ground. Furthermore, when you observe trees in forests you can see how water is stored in underground roots just in case droughts occur. It is useful to utilize this technique to store water for agricultural practices. This will also help reduce soil erosion, during monsoon season, since the water will not be flowing down the hills (Poon, 2016). This biomimicry technique involves placing building foundations near hillsides and creating a water channel that stores the water around the hillsides (Gendall, 2009). The building foundations and water channel resemble the trees’ root system in that it is spread around the city and clings on to the hillsides.

This project will allow this city to be sustainable because it does not require the city to seek water from other places. Furthermore, the city will have a water supply so its citizens will have water for their agriculture. This project seeks to make this city sustainable by using the resources available to them without having to spend money purchasing these goods. The engineering company is designing the building foundations so water is able to be stored and channeled (Gendall, 2009). This project addresses the environmental and health issues by preventing pollutants from spreading which can harm wildlife and people. The project is also benefiting its economy because the city will have a steady water supply just in case a drought occurs which can harm their agricultural sector. Social equity is addressed since the water channels will be spread out so all of the residents will have access to the water. Lastly, energy is benefited because there will be less equipment needed to transport water to the fields since there is already an irrigation system set in place.

Resources

John Gendall, 2009: http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/09/architecture-imitates-life

Linda Poon, 2016: https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/biomimicry-how-nature-inspires-the-cities-of-our-future-citylab.pdf

Martin Smith, 2015: http://themodernape.com/2015/06/02/building-cities-like-forests-when-biomimicry-meets-urban-design/

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