Nigeria celebrated 100 years of unity in January 2014. On this momentous occasion a number of future projects were announced by the presidency. One of those projects is the design of a biomimetic city that will be built from scratch on a 1000ha unpopulated area close to the Nigerian capital Abuja. The project will be funded by the private sector and involves companies and agencies such as Biomimicry South Africa, In/formal South and Smartland International. The goal of the project is to build a city that demonstrates the harmony of nature and humankind but also to show how we can learn from nature and embed nature’s design principles in our everyday life. The city is supposed to function as an ecosystem including principles such as circular metabolism, weblike food chains, a great diversity of species and functions, adaptive and modular decentralized infrastructure, cooperative relationships across socio-economic boundaries, quality information feedback loops, and development integrated with growth.
A team of designers will take a look at natural systems and structures that can inform principles for a revolutionary city design. The key insight is to realize a natural, non-static system with constant flows of energy, nutrients, materials and information. The focus will be on the utilization of available resources that can be reused to eliminate the exploitation of habitat. Furthermore, the city will be built as a cluster of self-sufficient and independent cells that can grow and divide. The cells will be designed as self-organized and decentralized structures that can adapt and respond to their needs and the needs of the units around them. The same principles will also be incorporated into the individual building structures throughout the city. Water will flow freely throughout the city embedded into green belts that will follow the natural hydrology. This will allow for urban agriculture, reducing the need to import resources from outside the cell. The edges of the waterways will serve as bio-filters where wastewater will be turned into clean drinking water. Also, the transportation system of the proposed city will be inspired by nature. First priority will be given to pedestrians and non-motorized transport. Pubic transport will connect the residents with other locations outside of their cell. Motorized vehicles will only be introduced where absolutely necessary to achieve the goal of a zero emission transportation system. More information is available on the website of Biomimicry South Africa.