FUTURE CAPE TOWN: Why cities should learn from nature : The case for biomimicry
“We’re stuck in a paradigm of not even realising we’re part of nature” states Shannon Royden Turner, Director at Actuality
During an interview in her Cape Town office on Long Street. With over 15 years of experience, Shannon’s works with local & provincial government, community members, community leaders, NGOs and corporate organisations to uncover solutions that consider the interrelationship between complex components of cities.
Biomimicry (life mimicking), the principle which underlies Shannon’s work, achieves understandings and solutions through focusing on what society can learn and implement from nature’s 3.8 billion year old systems which have been evolving to optimize life on the planet in the most sustainable way.
Today, with the sustainability crisis faced in cities around the world, it is increasingly important for society and urban centres to shift its historical model of overpowering and controlling nature, to a model that is more integrated and knowledgeable of natural systems to bring cities forward.
Actuality applies the philosophies of biomimicry to solve complex urban challenges across a wide range of projects.
For Shannon, biomimicry is able to interpret cities as ecosystems with interconnected complexities and evolutionary cycles of growth. “Imagine the city is an ecosystem, moving from a pioneering system towards maturity – similar to how a burnt-out field changes and grows to become a lush forest. A pioneering system in nature responds to the context with a set of strategies, which is exactly the same set of strategies that cities have used. The key is to recognize that the context has shifted, and in nature when the context shifts the strategies also shift. An ecosystem shifts from a pioneering system to a mature system because of a shift in context. For humans to continue to survive and thrive we need to shift strategies to that of a mature system.”
Read full story and more pictures: Future Cape Town