Ecomimicry

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Ecomimicry is an umbrella concept used to describe the practice of mimicking the natural world in the technological world. The result may be a product, a process, a landscape plan, a service, an innovative behaviour, an agricultural system, an artwork, etc.


There are two major ways that the concept has been interpreted:


1) ecomimicry is the ecofriendly version of biomimicry (i.e. using the practice of biomimicry to make ecofriendly and socially-responsive technologies) For example, see "The Theory and Practice of Ecomimicry, Sustaining Gondwana Working Paper Series, Issue 3" by Alan Marshall (2007) or "Wild Design: The Ecomimicry Project, North Atlantic Books" by Alan Marshall (2009).


2) ecomimicry involves mimicking ecological settings rather than individual organisms (i.e. using ecosystems and ecological communities as a basis for designing artificial systems like factories, cities and farms) For example see: Agriculture as a Mimic of Natural Ecosystems by E.C. Lefroy, R.J. Hobbs, M.H. O’Connor, J.S. Pate (Eds.); Kluwer Academic Publishers


Examples of the concept of ecomimicry that combine the two interpretations listed above might include:

-permaculture

-industrial ecology

-analog forestry


The first use of the term 'ecomimicry' seems to be in the 2003 Greening of the Campus conference at Ball State University but similar terms like 'biomimicry' and 'ecomimetics' were in use before then.


Use of the term 'ecomimicry' as an umbrella concept has increased in the last five or six years with many authors preferring to use it to describe their ecodesign ideas instead of the above-listed alternatives.

For example the following individuals have used the concept in their university research or private practice:

-Neil B. Chambers. Urban Green: Architecture for the Future. Palgrave Macmillan. July 2011

-Maibritt Pedersen Zari, BIOMIMETIC APPROACHES TO ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN FOR INCREASED SUSTAINABILITY, SB07 New Zealand Paper number: 033, School of Architecture, Victoria University, NZ

-Novotny, et al, Stormwater Pollution Abatement and Flood Control—Stormwater as a Resource, Published Online: 9 SEP 2010, Wiley Online.

-Marshall, A. and S. Lozeva (2009) 'Questioning the Theory and Practice of Biomimicry', International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol 4, No 1, pp1-10.

-The Ecologic Design Lab (http://ecologicdesignlab.com/services/create/)

-Neil Chambers (http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/20120516/re-imagining-infrastructure)

-Ecotone Studies (http://blog.ecotonestudios.com/?tag=ecomimicry)