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Question

Aim: 

To demonstrate your understanding of the key definitions, principles, and theory of contemporary urban ecological  practice, the application of Biophilic Urban Design and Planning with an emphasis upon the role and use of vegetation and ecological principles in the design and planning of cities.  

Task: 

A critical review, evaluation and critique of an existing case study exemplar (built or proposed). This case study must  reflect the application of Biophilic design and planning outcomes. Demonstrate the importance of the human – nature  relationship and critique the use of vegetation/ecology as a means to improve wellbeing, as well as demonstrating the  results of improving sustainable and resilient futures. 

Solution

Introduction

With the advent of the Anthropocene epoch, humanity has become a driving force of change on the planet. This change, however, has been found to have a more negative than a positive impact. Human intervention and actions are now causing drastic changes to the ecosystem and the natural balance of planet Earth as a whole. Technological and economic changes are changing the lifestyles and way of living of humans from all strata of society and this, in turn, is creating a profound impact on the environment. The Anthropocene epoch is signified by the massive impacts human lives have on every aspect of the planet's ecology. This has resulted in the endangerment and even total extinction of a large number of plant and animal species; resulted in pollution of land, water and air; and destruction of green cover and deforestation due to the growth of urban environments. Urban environments are one of the prime driving forces of pollution and overall destruction and negative impact on nature. Climate change and global warming are some of the most catastrophic consequences of urbanisation. The responsibility now falls upon human beings to rectify and reverse all of these negative impacts and results due to their careless and destructive actions. One of the primary steps that can be taken is the reduction of the damage caused by cities as they are some of the main sources of pollution that corrupt and damage the ecosystem (Davood et al., 2015).

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Main body:

Urban ecology:

Urban ecological measures are one type of measure that can be implemented to make human cities sustainable and less damaging to the world's ecology. Biophilic cities are cities that have wide-scale provisions to incorporate natural resources such as plants and trees into their immediate environment to make the urban centre nature-friendly. This type of ecological environment promotes daily contact with nature and creates and fosters an increasing awareness and understanding of the vitality of nature and why normal nature processes are irreplaceable if human life is to continue its existence. Various measure and techniques are been used by architects, city planners and civil engineers to use large numbers of open and unutilized spaces in an urban environment for the nurturing and growth of vegetation. The human mind's and body's functions are improved when in close contact with nature as for aeons and aeons they are tuned to be affiliated with the delicate and normal natural processes. Principles of a green neighbourhood can be initiated as these will greatly help in reducing mental stress, tension and anxiety thereby improving mental and physical health. A number of eco-friendly steps do exist in most major and minor cities all over the world, such as green parks, tree rows, river and estuarial habitats. Newer methods are now being discussed and also implemented in urban ecological systems. Techniques utilized are numerous such as , urban daylight water streams, new tree plantations in green areas reserved only for vegetation, gardens amongst local communities, greenery walls, vertical steppes like gardens on outer layers of buildings, these are some of the many ways that can make an urban environment greener and healthier (Peter, Beatley and Timothy, 2013). Humans and nature share an ancient and very intimate and delicate relationship with the natural ecosystem. From the early Stone Age to the advent of urbanism and the industrial revolution, humans are dependent regarding any and all of their aspects of nature and its processes. With the advent of technology and urbanisation, human beings are getting more and more alienated from a healthy natural environment and are thus losing their realization of the importance and benefits that nature has on human life. Humans are now instead stripping nature of all its resources and are damaging the planet's ecology. This will, in turn, result in further overall damage of the natural environment and consequentially, will result in damage to human life nature and physiology. Biophilic cities are an urban system of increasing the greenery and positive effects on the ecology that cities have.  These cities incorporate and include nature into all of its design consideration, whether that is building, bridges or other structures (Strauss and Eric, 2015). The daily requirements and need for close contact with nature have been understood and well realized by the managerial authorization of these cities. The idea of biodiversity is widely used in these cities as they use different techniques and processes to plant vegetation in any and every possible life-supporting spaces present in the city. Treetop lichens, small plants, large giant trees and animal zoos and husbandries are being erected in such cities that help in promoting fresh ecological impacts in nature.  Biophilic cities take care, cherish and restore any kind of damaged natural resources and also integrate and implement new methods to spread greenery and create a natural and healthy environment. Residents of cities should also be responsible in understanding the importance of nature in daily life, prevent any and all types of pollutions that damage nature and utilize ways to spread greenery and promote a natural ecology with an affinity towards nature and its various components (Krasny and Marianne, 2015). In simple words, it can be said that these cities celebrate nature by utilizing greenery concepts such as green rooftops, green walls and green gardens; reserve percentages of city areas for plantation and vegetation by setting up ecology parks, sky walls, green courtyards , city tree canopy etc. ; spread the culture of nature affinity amongst the citizens and residents of all walks and society strata; make governmental policies that promote natural resource conservation, eco friendly business and trade practices, enforce laws that reduce pollution due to vehicular emissions, industrial and residential runoffs and hazardous landfills and waste disposal. A number of projects have been undertaken by governments all around the world regarding the implementation of various modifications and measures that can help morph a city into an environmentally friendly habitat system. For example, in the city of San Diego, California, citizens receive training to become parabotanists and are given the responsibility to collect different kinds of specimens of plants from various corners of the United States of America. There are now approximately 200 citizens who serve as parabotanists who work together to promote green concepts under the San Diego Plant Atlas Project that had begun in 2002 (Peter, Beatley and Timothy, 2013).

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