Social Innovation inspired by nature
There is no doubt that humans are inventive, clever, and driven, but we are not alone in this. Every species currently in existence is here today due to nearly 4 billion years of evolution. These organisms have developed a vast range of strategies and symbiotic relationships that not only support their own life, but also through their deep-rooted connections to the rest of their surrounding ecosystem, create conditions where life begets life.
They have learned to not overdraw their resources, to use and value diversity, to take advantage of opportunities through organic succession, and to return any surplus that they produce.
Discover natural models
Find an inspiring organism or ecosystem and learn about its unique strategies for survival.
Abstract biological strategies
Determine the mechanism behind the organism’s or ecosystem’s strategy and translate that into a design principle by removing biological terminology.
Using the strategy and your design principle as a guide, define what functional need is being met. The function should be the same for both.
Brainstorm applications where this function is needed. Who needs to do what your biological example is doing?
Brainstorm bio-inspired ideas
Think of examples for how to define the context, function, and design principle(s) to solve a challenge.
Integrate Life’s Principles
As you consider your ideas, make sure you incorporate Life’s Principles into the solution
Emulate design principles
Hone in on the best ideas from your brainstorm and develop a design concept. Consider aspects of scale, and whether you can go beyond emulating form and also emulate process and ecosystem.
Measure using Life’s Principles
Assess your design using Life’s Principles as a reference.
The Frogtown agrihub
Taking inspiration from the fungal-based agricultural society of leaf-cutter ants and the adaptive reuse strategies of the burrowing owl, the FrogTown AgriHub transforms the old Central of Georgia Railway in Savannah, GA into a regenerative community hub. More than just the remediation of toxins that leached from past industrial processes, the AgriHub aims to remediate the social and economic effects of urban decay that followed deindustrialization in Savannah.
FrogTown Biomimicry Flower
The FrogTown Biomimicry Flower showcases all of the species that our team looked to for inspiration in finding solutions to human problems. The three species that largely guided our project were the Bird Catcher Tree, Leafcutter Ants and Burrowing Owl.
Our team proposed the following programming within the building to bring the space back to life. These programs are meant to bring community back into the space in diverse and inclusive ways.
Double stacked shipping containers provide living space on top and workshop space on the bottom for craftspeople in need of transition housing or permanent housing and studio space to start earning a livelihood.
Print Shop Art Gallery
Art gallery space for local artists to bring in community members to experience their work and help the space gain exposure to the community that can begin to utilize it and see its potential.
Aquaponics mimics the symbiotic relationship between fish, plants, and beneficial microorganisms in natural wetlands and rivers, where the nutrients excreted as waste from fish is used by plants as energy, which then filters the water of contaminants before being cycled back into the fish tanks.
The shop allows for people to understand the processes happening in the AgriHub and how they are related to the system. The education makes the Hub work and then allows those that experience it to spread it to their own neighborhood and community.
For a comprehensive look at our teams primary and secondary research, more information about biomimicry practice and case studies reviewed, look through our process book bellow.