Biotechnologies and Biomimetics for Civil Engineering

pp 81-113


Can Biomimicry Be a Useful Tool for Design for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation?

  • Maibritt Pedersen ZariAffiliated withSchool of Architecture, Victoria University Email author 

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As professionals of the built environment need to solve more urgent and difficult problems related to mitigating and adapting to climate change, it may be useful to examine examples of how the same problems have been solved by other living organisms or ecosystems. Looking to plants or animals that are highly adaptable or ones that survive in extreme climates or through climatic changes may provide insights into how buildings could or should function. Examining the qualities of ecosystems that enable them to be adaptable and resilient may also offer potential avenues to follow. This chapter examines whether biomimicry, where organisms or ecosystems are mimicked in human design, can be an effective means to either mitigate the causes of climate change the built environment is responsible for, or to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Different biomimetic approaches to design are discussed and categorised, and a series of case study examples illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. In light of the conclusions reached during the course of the research, it is argued that design that mimics ecosystems and utilises synergies between mitigation and adaptation strategies in relation to climate change could be a beneficial long-term biomimetic built environment response to climate change. The foundations of the theory to support this are also presented.