Working Groups: Purpose

Well-known Chicago architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham famously said “make no little plans.” At Biomimicry Chicago, we seek to catalyze a paradigm shift in our Chicago region’s built environment, from one that sits upon to one that thrives within our local ecosystems.

Together with our Deep Roots Initiative partners and collaborators, we are creating a framework and process to establish a science-based definition of sustainability for our region: one that sets the audacious goal that our built environment should perform ecosystem functions at least as well as the ecosystem it inhabits.

To bridge the gap between our goals and current industry practice, we are also creating an interactive tool of place-based, nature-inspired solutions that will empower the industry to measure impact, allocate resources, and innovate toward a truly sustainable and resilient built environment. The information in this tool will be specific to the Chicago region with the hope the framework and tool will serve as a model for cities around the world.

Working Groups

Through the fall of 2017 into spring of 2018, we are calling upon our network to co-create this initiative with us through a series of specific working groups. During this phase of our initiative, network leaders will provide free training to network members in the biomimicry process of discovery, and in return we ask them to contribute their time and expertise toward our initiative in one of five (5) categories:

    • Water. Functions explored will include nature’s strategies to slow water flow, capture water, filter water, store water, and distribute water.
    • Biodiversity. Functions explored will include food productions, supporting habitats, genetic resources, and biological control.
    • Community Connections. Functions explored will include cooperation, responding to signals, and embodying resilience.
    • Materials. Functions explored will include soil stabilization, break down waste, transport waste, store waste, distribute waste, recycling waste, and completing the cycle.
    • Carbon and Climate. Functions explored will include sequester carbon, regulate temperature, cool ambient temperature, harness energy, purify air, self-shade, and provide shelter.

Through this process, participants will learn about the biomimicry design process and apply what they learn to their interests in the built environment. Participants will participate in the free training, be mentored through the process of research and discovery, and create a BioBrainstorm card that will be used in a Design Jam! event. Documents and resources to assist this process will be provided.