An overview of some of the projects we have co- created, -designed and/or -implemented in partnership with other organisations.
WRC PROJECT: THE BLUE ECONOMY FROM ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY PERSPECTIVE
“Imagine a Blue Economy that actually helps bring the ocean back to health, by fitting within the boundaries of the ocean’s ecosystems, accelerating the adoption of clean technologies and renewable energy, and creating circular material flows. Imagine that this process creates new jobs and economic opportunities.” – WWF, 2015
The term the Blue Economy is used for both an economy based on ocean related activities and an approach to a green economy that is based on innovation and cascading resources for greater benefit than single use, including the elimination of waste and pollution. It’s actually essential to apply the latter to ocean related economic activities, based on the current depleted state of our ocean and estuary ecosystems, and hence their capacity as a resource.
The aims of this project are:
To develop sustainable economic models necessary to support the Blue Economy
Pilot test the business model using selected case studies
Integrate the best practice into draft South African Blue Economy Strategy and related legislation
To develop a model and guiding framework on how coastal ecosystems can support the blue economy that benefits local and broader communities
Share knowledge generated with local and global networks and stakeholders
This is a three year project, coming to an end in 2019 when we will then share the results. The project has yielded some innovative approaches to ecosystem restoration combined with regenerative & distributed economic development with a focus on SMMEs. It’s a model for how to take the conceptual thinking behind 21st Century Economics (Kate Raworth) and apply it at a local level - in this case within the oceans economy.
genius of space PROJECT - LANGRUG
The Genius of SPACE Project is building innovative water and waste treatment solutions in Langrug – an informal settlement in the Western Cape, South Africa. The project uses Biomimicry principles to clean up the grey water, storm water, and solid waste challenges that the community face. These low tech, easily maintained solutions will help to address the key challenges faced by this community such as health and well being. The project includes water treatment and waste upcycling for restoration of the health of the community and the Berg River. One of the 110% Green initiatives of the Western Cape Government. A finalist in the European Green Tech Awards in 2015. BiomimicrySA is working together with John Todd Ecological Designs to design and implement the innovative solution to the wastewater challenge. The larger team also includes In/formal South, Isidima, Maluti Water, WaterLove Projects, Greenhouse Systems Development and CORC. Find out more about this project in this short film below. Find out more about this project HERE.
durban urban planning resilience framework
Developing a Resilience Framework to Inform Urban Planning and Design in the Northern Spatial Development Plan Area, eThekwini Municipality. A well adapted ecological urban system meets it’s functional needs within it’s context. Durban's context has shifted from one with plenty of available nutrients, energy and water to one with limits and boundaries that can no longer be ignored. Business-as-usual development can only happen within the context of abundant resources and supply of services. The context has shifted to one with significant constraints on energy, water and waste related services and on critical ecosystem services.
Clients: Tongaat Hullet Developments, Dube Trade Port and eThekwini Municipality's Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department.
imagine if the grey (development) functioned like the native ecosystem
A well adapted ecological urban system meets it’s functional needs within it’s context. Durban's context has shifted from one with plenty of available nutrients, energy and water to one with limits and boundaries that can no longer be ignored. Business-as-usual development can only happen within the context of abundant resources and supply of services. The context has shifted to one with significant constraints on energy, water and waste related services and on critical ecosystem services. The developments in the Durban Northern Planning Region are planned to function as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. However, demands for growth are hitting up against the walls of supply of critical services. Therefore business-as-usual or development-as-usual is no longer feasible as there are too many risks and associated costs. The challenges associated with developing the Durban Northern Planning region need radically different thinking around resource efficiency, resilience and sustainability. Resilience is about reducing risk. Resilient and wise planning demands a shift in strategy.
Through a series of stakeholder engagement, biomimicry training and wetland assessment processes, our biomimicrySA team working with In/formal South, Biomimicry3.8, Futureworks, IPK, NEF, and Eco-pulse developed an urban planning resilience framework for the area. The basis of the plan is a wetland protection and restoration plan, combined with design principles and management guidelines for a development that functions like native ecosystems. This project included risk assessments, keys to resilience research, development of ecological performance standards (with the help of InVest modelling and hydrological modelling tools), developing design principles, critical biodiversity assessment, conflict resolution and stakeholder engagement processes. High-level design principles were developed for the project. They form the basis for the resilience framework where the application of these principles will be unpacked for specific components of urban planning and design (related to design and management of infrastructure, as well as governance). The design principles will also be used to inform land-use suitability planning (regional scale) and the conceptual spatial design (precinct scale). Read more HERE
ecological performance standards
plankenbrug river restorer
Through Wildlands Conservation Trust and funding from a German funding agency, we initiated a project for the design of a river restoration system for the Plankenbrug river in the Western Cape. We connected John Todd Ecological Design and Isidima to take this project forward from design to implementation of a prototype. The pilot project is currently under development. The Water Research Commission is funding postgraduate research related to this project. To find out more about this project contact jonny[a]isidima.net
Plankenbrug River Restorer - an ecomachine cleaning Ecoli pollution in the Plankenbrug river
recreating urban abundance hout bay
Our team was involved in an Informal South project which involved a co-creative process to identify opportunities for restoring the health of Hout Bay in Cape Town with a focus on the disa river catchment area. We walked the Disa River catchment area together with local residents, scoped the critical challenges along the river. We identified opportunities for how nature's genius could inform the restoration of nature and the community. There are many opportunities for biomimicry in complex systems. The opportunities for this Hout Bay project are as diverse as biodiverse ecosystems themselves. In addition to these three levels of applying biomimicry, there are also three alternative options for biomimicry interventions for any design challenge: Biomimicry Technologies, Methodology and/or Thinking. This initial scoping review of opportunities is now part of a larger proposal for raising funds to implement some of the ideas generated. To find out more about this project visit HERE or contact shannon[a]acturban.com
abuja city design
Biomimicry Principles Applied to Design of a New City in Nigeria. Design Challenge: How do we create an abundant and flourishing city in Abuja, that functions like a mature ecosystem by creating a circular metabolism, weblike food chains, a high diversity of species, adaptive decentralised infrastructure; focused on creating cooperative relationships and underpinned by good quality feedback loops of information? Our team participated in biomimicry processes for this concept design. The resulting concept design is a blueprint for designing cities that function like ecosystems and meet many of Biomimicry Life's Principles. Find out more about this project in this short film below or read more details HERE.
biomimicry water treatment
This project is funded by the Water Research Commission and lead by Golder Associates with biomimicrySA providing the biomimicry expertise on the team. This project looks to exploit knowledge on how nature cleans water, to better engineer constructed wetlands to meet the challenges of current and emerging pollutants and pathogens. The core project team consists of engineers and scientists with experience in various sectors. The project began in April 2011 and continues into 2016. Aims of the project include: to review current knowledge of natural wetlands and natural water treatment processing, applying the biomimicry methodology to develop innovative concepts to design biomimetic water treatment systems. In addition the project provides funding for postgraduate research into biomimicry wastewater treatment concepts. The project currently funds 5 postgraduates - two at Wits University researching biomimicry options for acid mine drainage and two from the University of Stellenbosch researching critical wastewater treatment components of the Langrug informal settlement wastewater treatment systems. For more information contact claire[a]biomimicrysa.co.za
biomimicry water tool
This project is part of the larger project listed above - funded by the Water Research Commission and lead by Golder Associates with biomimicrySA providing the biomimicry expertise on the team, and in collaboration with CPUT. This project looks to exploit knowledge on how nature cleans water. Solutions evolving from the biomimicry methodology can significantly contribute to wastewater treatment, managing stormwater runoff, mitigating effects of erosion and contaminated runoff, greening the community and improved health. The Biomimicry Water Tool that has been developed as part of this project is considered a useful tool that will be the future reference for Biomimicry research and development, including innovation for addressing challenges in the water sector in a sustainable manner. Consider the tool a kind of digital biomimicry textbook around the function of "how does nature purify water." The tool is arranged around the areas of interest to water treatment engineers, water managers, water researchers etc. For each example there is an explanation of potential innovation, the design principle, the original biology and references. Where applicable, existing biomimicry is also included. You can access the Water Tool through the WRC website through this link HERE.
bioquest biomimicry discovery park
The BioQuest Biomimicry Discovery Park is a project initiated and run by Biowise. BiomimicrySA have provided initial design concept advice and we support the fundraising initiatives to make this project a reality. Members of our team also serve on the Board of BioWise. At one level the park aims to be an edutainment centre and tourism attraction – showcasing a new way of viewing and valuing nature through experiential activities, models, exhibitions and demonstrations on biomimicry. At the same time the Park will provide highly relevant research and educational opportunities. Imagine a place of adventure, mystery and wonder, a place that takes you on an extraordinary journey of discovery where around every corner you are drawn further and further into the fascinating lives of plants, animals, fungae and microbes that reveal secrets to engineering, architecture, design, physics, chemistry and system’s functioning that are so beguilingly simple yet breathtakingly elegant as to leave one awe-struck. This is the biomimicry discovery park. A place where you are immersed in, re-connect with and discover nature from a whole fresh perspective, the perspective of learning from nature rather than learning about it. BioWise is currently seeking funding and partnerships to undertake the full design and build of the Discovery Park. For more information contact:Susan Swain of BioWise: sue[a]biowise.org.za