‘Biourbanism’ Combines Nature and Data to Boost Resilience

The concept of biourbanism views cities as natural systems, but brings a data-driven approach to quantifying and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

2 minute read

June 1, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

To confront climate change, Australian designer Adrian McGregor calls for thinking about cities as part of, not in opposition to, nature. As Keira Wright explains in an interview with McGregor for Bloomberg, “With cities responsible for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions, designing smart and sustainable cities is the single most pressing challenge in confronting climate change.”

McGregor sees cities as “spectacular living, dynamic systems that evolve with us” that should be classified as “novel nature” or a “human-modified biome” to understand how to increase cities’ resilience in the face of climate change. McGregor’s concept of ‘biourbanism’ “focuses on the urban organism, considering it as a hypercomplex system, according to its internal and external dynamics and their mutual interactions.” The concept includes an urban structure focused on “10 interconnected systems: citizens, economy, energy, infrastructure, mobility, technology, water, waste, landscape and food.”

Despite the focus on natural systems, McGregor also believes technology can play an important role in mitigating the impacts of climate change and helping reduce our carbon footprint. One example is ‘digital twins,’ “models that simulate a real city linked to real data that can enable governments to “undertake climate impact testing and also plan for resilience by prioritizing investment and infrastructure spending in the right places.” McGregor’s data- and tech-centric approach focuses on transparency and access to data as first steps in understanding and reducing energy use and decarbonization

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 in Bloomberg CityLab

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