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Biomimicry for Sustainable Watersheds and Coasts


You will learn about a new biomimicry paradigm representing how nature addresses water scarcity and quality, and how it guides sustainable design and development. By using nature as a model, measure and mentor, designers can emulate successful strategies and incorporate them into solutions. The use of the design spiral guides the process, and Life's Principles measure the success of proposed designs. This course will provide basic biomimicry concepts as a foundation, analyze case studies, demonstrate ways to look to nature for inspiration, and engage you in a design challenge.

Who Should Attend?

Students, urban planners, environmental and ecological engineers and planners, urban landscape architects and developers, designers, engineers, CEOs, educators, experts affiliated with NGOs interested in green sustainable development.


Course Overview:

Explore past, present and future examples of biomimetic solutions in addressing human problems. Learn how experts in the field of biomimicry use nature's organisms and ecosystems as models, measure and mentor to discover sustainable engineering, architectural, design, business operations, management, and product development solutions. We will then have the opportunity to show how solutions based on nature's wisdom can be applied in everyday life in our coastal and watershed communities.

Course Goals:

The overall goal for the course is to introduce the interdisciplinary field of biomimicry and provide real-world application of its methods through individual and team work. By the end of the course, you will: 1) have a solid understanding of biomimicry and biomimetic examples, 2) be able to explain what biomimicry is to a variety of audiences in a clear and concise manner and 3) be able to effectively apply biomimetic techniques to arrive at sustainable design solutions.

Part 1:

Biomimicry, an Introduction

Discover the world of nature inspired innovation. Explore Biomimicry basics as well as case study examples of designs that utilize strategies common with living organisms. Develop a rapport with other students and gain familiarity with biological terms.


Develop vocabulary related to biological processes and biomimicry; Identify examples of the use of biomimicry; Convey design connections with the natural environment as well as gaining exposure to alternative viewpoint.

Vocabulary & Resources:
Biomimicry, Biome, Biomimicry Institute, Janine Benyus, Design Spiral, Life's Principles,

Part 2:
Life's Principles

Life's Principles are nature's way of measuring success. While many assist with survival, they can also inform intelligent design that strives to exist in a natural world rather than a technological environment. However, Life's Principles can also provide inspiration for processes and methodology that would be appropriate to human design and construction. Life's Principles are a set of patterns exhibited by life that contribute to life's ability to survive and thrive. The instructor will present an overview of the diagram of Life's Principles and will highlight comparisons of natural and human design solutions. For example, nature utilizes benign manufacturing using water-based chemistry, life-friendly materials and self-assembly. Nature optimizes rather than maximizes by fitting form to function, utilizing multi-functional design and recycling all materials. Nature leverages interdependence by self-organizing and fostering cooperative relationships.

Describe the operating conditions of our planet, including water-based chemistry, dynamic non-equilibrium and limits and boundaries; Give examples of Life's Principles; Relate the importance of design that incorporates Life's Principles.

Water-based chemistry, feedback loops, benign manufacturing, cyclic processes, self-assembly, multi-functional design, cooperative relationships.

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Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Develop vocabulary related to biological processes and biomimicry
  • Identify examples of the use of biomimicry
  • Describe the operating conditions of our planet, including water-based chemistry, dynamic non-equilibrium and limits and boundaries
  • Give examples of Life's Principles
  • Relate the importance of design that incorporates Life's Principles

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This program can be applied toward the:

Dates and locations to be announced.
Fee: $195
Email us with your interest, contact:
Murali Vedula,, 414-227-3121
Marcia Gabriel,, 414-227-3378


Spring 2015 Water Technology Brochure

Or download the pdf