Biomimicry Oregon gets Bullitt funding to study regional issues

Sustainable Business Oregon

Biomimicry Oregon, one of 12 regional nonprofits recognized by the national Biomimicry 3.8 organization, is working on a way to solve the region's stormwater problems by learning from nature.

The project is funded by a $30,000 grant from the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation which is being shared between Biomimicry 3.8, Biomimicry Oregon and Biomimicry Puget Sound.

The concept of biomimicry holds that engineers and designers should learn from nature and evolutionary science to solve problems. Biomimicry Oregon, formed last year, is using the Bullitt grant to fund a "Genius of Place" project, which is gathering biologists, engineers, architects and planners to look at issues of stormwater flow.

"The idea is to find a local challenge and find a local solution," said Mary Hansel, cofounder of Biomimicry Oregon and the group's volunteer convener.

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nhoeller's picture

Biomimicry Oregon 'Genius of Place' Project Update

The March 2013 Biomimicry Newsletter included an update on the Genius of Place pilot project.  The workshop presentation is a comprehensive Prezi overview of biomimicry, the past and current context and a series of inspirations, design principles and application ideas.  A summary diagram integrates some of the ideas into a model community.

The project team conducted research that resulted in the development of seven Genius of Place worksheets that Biomimicry Oregon will leverage as the centerpiece of its 2013-2015 strategic plan. Forty-five biologists, stormwater designers, researchers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs participated in a workshop and ideated 25 novel ways to manage stormwater based on these lessons from nature. From “spongewood” to “living signs," stormwater “trees,” awnings that “walk away” from a building, and “living walls on steroids,” participants enthusiastically applied nature’s inspiration to the challenge of managing stormwater flows in an urban setting.

Written feedback showed that workshop participants believe the Genius of Place process is a useful approach to innovation and has real value for their work. The project also captured the attention of city officials and created enough interest in the topic to hold a second workshop. Explore the workshop presentation and/or check out the graphic recorder’s notes.

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