- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Island Press; None edition (October 25, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597267155
- ISBN-13: 978-1597267151
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning None Edition
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I did write a ton of notes in this book, even though it's a thin book. It's packed full of information, and it's read-friendly with sections for each concept. The author also uses a lot of interesting exactly from countries all over the world that you can actually do further research in (if you're into that).
All in all, I expect to keep this book for a long time and keep up with the updates in the field of biophilic urban design. Go green!
For him, this greening isn't just about improving recycling rates or using renewable energy. He believes we have an innate need to connect with nature in our daily lives. If satisfying this need isn't incorporated into urban design, then a steady decline in our mental and physical health will surely follow.
In Biophilic Cities, Beatley sets out his holistic vision of how this can be achieved: by conserving and improving on what's already there, or by repairing nature whenever the opportunity arises. This isn't just about having one or two "grand design" style projects: the cumulative benefit of having smaller, closer green spaces is also discussed.
He argues that nature in our cities isn't just about biodiversity or lots of types of green space either. It's a place where natural materials, forms, systems and images are incorporated into design. There must also be plenty of opportunities to celebrate or learn about the natural world, usually through community initiatives and organisations.
He also recognises that strong leadership is needed to make all of this happen, e.g. via a local mayor, a professional body or a campaign group. Specific legislation is also cited as ensuring success at city, regional or national levels.
There are plentiful examples of how major cities around the world have integrated nature into their urban planning, plus how a biophilic vision can be broken down into specific measures of success. Here the more familiar green roofs, green walls, urban nature trails, community farms and gardens are discussed.
Personally I would have liked a different format to the book as I found once I'd grasped the concept, the chosen style was somewhat repetitive, particularly as many of the examples were used to illustrate different points in a number of chapters. Some detailed case studies and a stronger economic argument would have been beneficial, especially if this work is to be used to persuade today's decision makers to incorporate its principles into their legislation and planning.
However, this is still an important, relatively compact work, which deserves to be on the reading list of all planning, architecture and landscape design courses.
NB This review first appeared in 'Green Places' magazine in July 2011 and on amazon.co.uk in September 2011.