What is Biourbanism?


Definition prepared by the “Biourbanism Task Force” consisting of Antonio Caperna, Alessia Cerqua, Alessandro Giuliani, Nikos A. Salingaros, Stefano Serafini

Biourbanism focuses on the urban organism, considering it as a hypercomplex system, according to its internal and external dynamics and their mutual interactions.

The urban body is composed of several interconnected layers of dynamic structure, all influencing each other in a non-linear manner. This interaction results in emergent properties, which are not predictable except through a dynamical analysis of the connected whole. This approach therefore links Biourbanism to the Life Sciences, and to Integrated Systems Sciences like Statistical Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Operations Research, and Ecology in an essential manner. The similarity of approaches lies not only in the common methodology, but also in the content of the results (hence the prefix “Bio”), because the city represents the living environment of the human species. Biourbanism recognizes “optimal forms” defined at different scales (from the purely physiological up to the ecological levels) which, through morphogenetic processes, guarantee an optimum of systemic efficiency and for the quality of life of the inhabitants. A design that does not follow these laws produces anti-natural, hostile environments, which do not fit into an individual’s evolution, and thus fail to enhance life in any way.

Biourbanism acts in the real world by applying a participative and helping methodology. It verifies results inter-subjectively (as people express their physical and emotional wellbeing through feedback) as well as objectively (via experimental measures of physiological, social, and economic reactions).

The aim of Biourbanism is to make a scientific contribution towards:

  • (i) the development and implementation of the premises of Deep Ecology (Bateson) on social-environmental grounds;
  • (ii) the identification and actualization of environmental enhancement according to the natural needs of human beings and the ecosystem in which they live;
  • (iii) managing the transition of the fossil fuel economy towards a new organizational model of civilization; and
  • (iv) deepening the organic interaction between cultural and physical factors in urban reality (as, for example, the geometry of social action, fluxes and networks study, etc.).