Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature

  • 2023

  • Design Research

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Adrian McGregor

Designed In:


‘Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature’ by Adrian McGregor, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and Founder & Chief Design Officer at McGregor Coxall, is a rallying cry for cities to adopt intelligent sustainable design, promoting decarbonization and resilience to climate and economic challenges posed by global warming.

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Image: Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature by Adrian McGregor
Image: Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature by Adrian McGregor
Image: Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature by Adrian McGregor
Image: Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature by Adrian McGregor
Image: Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature by Adrian McGregor
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  • 'Biourbanism :: Cities as Nature' responds to cities' urgent need to decarbonize and build resilience against increasing impacts of the climate emergency. The Biourbanism model proposes that cities must be reclassified as anthromes, or anthropogenic biomes: a form of human modified nature. Ultimately, the climate crisis is a design crisis. Research represented in the book declares cities are responsible for creating more than 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 70% of cities are already dealing with climate change and by 2050, an approximate US$158 trillion of global assets will be at risk – double the total annual output of the global economy.

  • The Biourbanism model proposes a new approach to city sustainability that is based on ten interconnected Bio and Urban systems, which together determine the health, prosperity, and resilience of cities. By utilizing emerging digital twin technology, cities can track progress on their planning, environmental, and prosperity targets, and create a Resilience Action Plan based on the Biourbanism model. The design challenge is to create sustainable, resilient cities that are in harmony with nature and can continue to prosper in the face of the climate emergency. The book poses strategies in decarbonisation and electrification within realms of multidisciplinary design.

  • The Biourbanism model has been tested during the design of two new cities and matured through a combination of projects and university research through the McGregor Coxall studio over a 15-year period. Implementing the model allows governments and designers to take a holistic view of cities and to manage the intricate interplay between these ten systems in a mutually beneficial way. Biourbanism sets out how cities can utilize emerging digital twin technology, a metaverse modeled to mimic the physical city, to track progress on their planning, environmental and prosperity targets.

  • Adrian McGregor explores landscape architecture's influence on city sustainability in his book. The Biourbanism model revolves around ten interconnected Bio and Urban systems that shape cities' well-being and resilience. The five Bio Systems include citizens, food, landscape, waste, and water, while the five Urban Systems comprise economy, energy, infrastructure, mobility, and technology. The book is divided into four chapters with the aim of mobilizing cities towards decarbonization and resilience, accessible to the general public. Chapter One examines the historical rise and fall of cities. Chapter Two delves into current challenges posed by the climate emergency, such as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, drought, extreme heat, bushfires, and food security. Chapter Three explores the scientific aspects of the Biourbanism framework, including the concept of the anthrome and a detailed discussion of the ten systems. Chapter Four focuses on implementing Biourbanism through a Resilience Action Plan tailored to each city, accompanied by case studies showcasing real-world applications worldwide. The book is extensively researched, with over 100 academic citations and sources supporting its content and the Biourbanism model. By emphasizing landscape architecture's role, McGregor aims to inspire cities to embrace sustainable design principles and build climate-resilient communities.