Festival of the Future City

Biomimicry and Future Cities

Festival of the Future City


Please note: This event took place in Nov 2015

The biomimetic city - a city modelled on nature - offers a sustainable future. To what extent can we use biomimicry to help shape our cities' infrastructure? What are the trade-offs and leverage points that can allow us to develop systems - ecological, structural, technological, circulatory and chemical - that are more productive and effective than those already in place? Can we go beyond looking at organisms and start by valuing the interconnectedness?

Peter Head (Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Ecological Sequestration Trust) joins Julian Vincent (Honorary Professor of Biomimetics at University of Rhein-Waal/ University of Oxford) and Sue Thomas (Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace). Chaired by Richard James MacCowan (Founder Director - Biomimicry UK).

Speaker biographies:

Peter Head is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Ecological Sequestration Trust, which he established in 2011. He is a civil and structural engineer who has become a recognised world leader in major bridges, advanced composite technology and sustainable development in cities and regions. Prior to establishing The Ecological Sequestration Trust, he worked at Arup, creating and leading their planning and integrated urbanism team. He has won many awards for his work including the Award of Merit of IABSE, the Prince Philip Award for Polymers in the Service of Mankind and the Sir Frank Whittle medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2011 he was awarded the CBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to Civil Engineering and the Environment.

Julian Vincent is the first Chair in Biomimetrics at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, where his role is to introduce concepts from biology into engineering and design. Prior to joining the University of Bath, he spent most of his research career in the Department of Zoology at the University of Reading, studying the mechanical design of organisms and working out ways in which aspects of their design could be used in technology. During his last nine years at Reading, he established and ran the Centre for Biomimetics.

Sue Thomas is the author of Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace (2013). She has been writing about the computers and the internet since the late 1990s; other books include Hello World: Travels in Virtuality (2000) and Correspondence (1992), which was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Between 2005 and 2013, she was Professor of New Media in the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University.

Richard MacCowan is Director and Co-Founder of Biomimicry UK. He is an award-winning urbanist and urban design consultant, and has worked on a variety of projects across the UK and Europe, from housing schemes through to billion-dollar asset transfers. He is currently undertaking his doctoral research on biomimicry, biophilia and systems-thinking at the Leeds School of Art, Architecture and Design. He is a Living Building Challenge ambassador and is part of the UK collaborative adapting it to the UK. He is lead for the Alloa project with The Ecological Sequestration Trust.

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