Urban development and biology, infrastructures and nature... The outlines of our cities must be reinvented now, if they are to adapt more closely to the imperatives of the present and the future.
The principle of “urban metabolism” is gradually emerging in ideas on cities and their development. This expression, which was first coined in the 1960s, may sound surprising, but its full meaning become clear in the light of climate change, ecological issues and social evolution. A research article published by the University of Toronto, “The Changing Metabolism of Cities”, proposed a precise definition in 2007: “Urban metabolism might be defined as the sum total of the technical and socioeconomic processes that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy, and elimination of waste”. In the opinion of the authors, studying and understanding this metabolism is the key to a global approach that is necessary to build sustainable cities that are “in good health”.
The biological analogy is far from neutral. If a cities are living organisms, then shouldn’t we draw inspiration from nature to manage them better? Biomimicry is already successfully used to design machines, robots and electronic chips. So, could it help to make our communal spaces more comfortable, ecological and sustainable?