Page 1

Ecological service design for the urban environment


Simbiosis: Ecological service for the urban environment @2018 KUAN XU ALL RIGHTS RESERVED FOR INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT: School of Visual Arts MFA Products of Design 136West 21st Street New York, NY-10010

ALLAN CHOCHINOV Chair, MFA Products of Design Advisor



KUAN xu Author Designer

c onte nts Introduction




Design and biology


ecological debt and the city


Ecological service design










I N TRODUCTIO N Symbiosis is a metaphor to discuss the interaction between humans and nature. As an undergraduate majoring in interior design. A designer’s primary job is to figure out the interior layout of existing infrastructures. To be honest, as an interior designer there was a lack of enthusiasm about this method because instead of being creative, interior designers needed to follow restrictive rules to make rooms look better. This pursuit of esthetic is a privilege and a celebration of materialism. Although interior designers enjoy lucrative benefits, I cannot see this option due to its lack of social innovation that feeds on natural resources and celebrates hedonism just as the symbol of (a snake eating its tail) will finally die out due to self-destruction.



Believing in innovation and creativity,

hosts, are generally much smaller

will expose my work to more audiences

than their hosts, and often live in

because design should not be a kind of

or on their hosts for an extended

privilege, but should be about benefits

period. Both are special cases of

for the society as a whole. Choosing

consumer-resource interactions.

to become a products designer allows this designer to tackle problems at the

In this book, parasitism is used to

level of an ecosystem.

describe an adverse relationship between




Symbiosis refers to a long-term inter-

which is our current state, humans

action between two different biological

only take and rarely give back. We

organisms, and there are three types of

always presume nature to be this

symbiosis: parasitism, commensalism,

vault with an infinite resource. We

and mutualism, ranging from adverse

have been living in this pipedream

to advantageous. If symbiosis is put

for too long that forgets nature has

into a wider lens, it begins to interro-

limitation. Now humans suffer the

gate our relationship with nature itself.

consequence of this endless exploitation; for instance,

Unfortunately, our relationship with

global warming.

nature is still in the first stage of symbiosis—parasitism. In biology, parasit-

The next stage of the human-na-

ism refers to a non-mutual relationship

ture relationship is commensalism.

between species, where one species,

In biology, there is a relationship

the parasite, benefits at the expense

between individuals of two species,

of the other, the host, which remains

in which one species obtains food

alive, at least for a while. Unlike preda-

or other benefits from the other,

tors, parasites typically do not kill their


without either harming or benefiting the latter. The commensal—the species that benefits from the association—may obtain nutrients, shelter, support, or locomotion from the host species, which is unaffected. The commensal relation is often between a larger host and a smaller commensal. The host organism is essentially unchanged by the interaction, whereas the commensal species may show great morphological adaptation. Humans’ endeavors of conducting commensalism is through sustainability design, but our current idea of sustainability is based on compromising; we are trying to create less greenhouse gas emission, or cut down fewer trees; however, doing less bad is not doing anything good. Furthermore, there is no proper tool or system to quantify our impact on the environment because the environment is a massive yet delicate ecosystem Any small



action will create a chain reaction that affects other elements of the

Artificial Tree buyers need about seven

ecosystem. The conventional sus-

years as a the length of time in orderto

tainable design encourages people

own one before they can claim it was

to use alternative and reducing

an earth-conscious purchased. Even

cost, it can only prolong the inevi-

then, some would argue that eventu-

table, just like pushing the snooze

ally dumping it in a landfill cancels that

button on the doomsday clock. For

out. Real trees, on the other hand, are

instance, which one is better for the

easily recycled. Many towns process

environment? A plastic Christmas

the discarded trees that are collected

tree or an actual pine tree cut down

at the end of the holiday season and

from the woods?

use the chips as mulch for public gardens, cushion for hiking trails, and

This may be the most controversial

even as fuel to supplement the energy

point in the great Christmas tree

grid. When trees are not mulched, they

debate. Artificial trees, one side

can be re-used whole as underwater

argues, are the more environmen-

habitats, flood barriers, and stimula-

tally-friendly option because they

tion for zoo animals. There’s also the

can be a used year after year. But

issue of transportation. If the nearest

according to real tree advocates,

Christmas tree farm is 40 minutes

the carbon dioxide emitted during

away while the closest department

the production of one fake tree

store is down the street, that adds to

still outweighs the impact of sev-

your carbon footprint.

eral authentic ones. So what is the smarter choice for tree-buyers who

After realizing the shortcoming of

want to stay green?

sustainability design, there is a more

“Pine vs. PVC: How Real and Fake Christmas Trees Compare” Michele Debczak


advantageous form of symbiotic relationship—— Mutualism. Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each benefits from the activity of the other. It is a preferable state of a human-nature relationship, it not only encourages humans to take less from nature, but it also encourages them to give back. The design methodology comes out of this relationship is called Ecological service design, which refers to the design that allows human give back to the environment, and allow the environment to regenerate from the damage we caused. Making mutualism as the ultimate goal of this thesis, this designer starts this journey of symbiosis.






LE XI CO N Here are the definitions of all the special terminologies and vocabulary that will appear in this bookďźŒthe definitions might vary from their conventional selves to fit in the scope of this thesis:


1. Symbiosis Symbiosis is any type of close and long-term biological interaction between two different biological organisms, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic. The organisms, each termed a symbiont, may be of the same or of different species. In this book, Symbiosis be

two species in the relationship live together. Many organisms are involved in symbiotic relationships because this interaction provides benefits to both species. However, there are types of symbiosis that are not beneficial and may in fact harm one or both of the species. Symbiotic relationships can be obligate or facultative.

used to describe humans relationship with nature. Public’s perception of symbiosis being often


confuse with the term “mutualism”,

3. Obligate symbiotic relationship

so to prevent misunderstanding, all

When two organisms are in a symbiotic

the “symbiosis” will be replace with

relationship because they can’t survive

the word “symbiotic relationship”.

without each other. When


4. Facultative symbiotic relationship

Close interactions between two

When the species live together by

or more different species. It is

choice. There are four main types

different from regular interac-

of symbiotic relationships: mutual-

tions between species, because

ism, commensalism, parasitism, and

in a symbiotic relationship, the


5. Parasitism In biology, parasitism is a non-mutual relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host, which remains alive, at least for a while. Unlike predators, parasites typically do not kill their host, are generally much smaller than their host, and often live in or on their host for an extended period. Both are special cases of consumerresource interactions. In this book, parasitism be used to describe an adverse relationship between humans and nature, which is our current state, humans only take and rarely give back.

latter. The commensal—the species that benefits from the association—may obtain nutrients, shelter, support, or locomotion from the host species, which is unaffected. The commensal relation is often between a larger host and a smaller commensal. The host organism is essentially unchanged by the interaction, whereas the commensal species may show great morphological



relationship can be contrasted with mutualism, in which both species benefit. In this book commensalism is been used to describe a neutral relationship between humans and nature which humans take less from nature, very much like the

6. Commensalism

conventional sustainability.

In biology, a relationship between individuals of two species in which one species obtains food or other benefits from the other without either harming or benefiting the



Ecosystem services

The way two organisms of differ-

many and varied benefits that humans

ent species exist in a relationship

freely gain from the natural environ-

in which each individual benefits

ment and from properly-functioning

from the activity of the other.

ecosystems. Such ecosystems include,

Similar interactions within a spe-

for example, agroecosystems, forest

cies are known as co-operation.


Mutualism can be contrasted with

and aquatic ecosystems. Collectively,

interspecific competition, in which

these benefits are becoming known

each species experiences reduced

as ‘ecosystem services’, and are often

fitness, and exploitation, or para-

integral to the provisioning of clean

sitism, in which one species ben-

drinking water, the decomposition of

efits at the “expense” of the other.

wastes, and the natural pollination of



crops and other plants. There are four

two species living in proximity

types of ecosystem services human

and includes relationships that are

gain from the natural environment:

mutualistic, parasitic, and com-

Supporting services, Provisioning ser-

mensal. Symbiotic relationships

vices, Regulating services and cultural

are sometimes, but not always,





mutualistic. Mutualism be used to describe the most advantageous relationship that humans can have with the nature in which humans not only take less but also give back.Ecosystem services are the


Supporting services These include services such as nutrient recycling, primary production, and

soil formation. These services make it possible for the ecosystems to provide services such as food supply, flood regulation, and water purification.

Regulating services Carbon sequestration and climate regulation;waste


and detoxification purification of water and air;pest and disease control.

Provisioning services Food (including seafood and game),

Cultural service

crops, wild foods, and spices ;Raw materials (including lumber, skins,

Including use of nature as motif

fuel wood, organic matter, fodder, and

in books, film, painting, folklore,

fertilizer), Genetic resources (including


crop improvement genes, and health


care)water; Biogenic minerals medici-

historical (including use of nature

nal resources (including pharmaceu-

for religious or heritage value or

ticals, chemical models, and test and


assay organisms);energy (hydropower,


biomass fuels); ornamental resources

sports, and recreation);science and

(including fashion, handicraft, jewelry,

education (including use of natural

pets, worship, decoration and souve-

systems for school excursions, and

nirs like furs, feathers, ivory, orchids,


butterflies, aquarium fish, shells, etc.)

(including Ecotherapy, social for-

symbols, etc.








estry and animal-assisted therapy)


Ecological goods and service

Ecological design Any form of design that minimizes en-

Ecological goods and services

vironmentally destructive impacts by

(EG&S) are the benefits arising

integrating itself with living processes.

from the ecological functions of

Ecological design is an integrative eco-

ecosystems. Such benefits accrue

logically responsible design discipline.

to all living organisms, including animals and plants, rather than to humans alone. However, there

Ecological service design

is a growing recognition of the

Any form of design that benefits the

importance to society that ecologi-

environment, including all the living

cal goods and services provide for

organism. Ecological service design of

health, social, cultural, and eco-

one environmental feature cannot base

nomic needs.

on the depreciation of the others.

Conventional sustainable design


Also called environmentally sus-

relationships, and elements of nature

tainable design, environmentally

to solve complex human problems. A

conscious design, is the philosophy

closely related field is bionics.

of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.


The imitation of the models, systems,


electrical engineering, computer

The application of biological methods

engineering, control engineering

and systems found in nature to the

and evolutionary biology. Synthetic

study and design of engineering sys-

biology applies these disciplines to

tems and modern technology.

build artificial biological systems for research, engineering, and medical applications.

Bionic thinker People use a natural factor as a tool when solving problems.

Mechanic thinker People more intend using industrial and mechanical practices to solve problems.

Synthetic biology Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering. The subject combines various disciplines from within these domains, such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, molecular biology, molecular engineering, systems biology, biophysics,


“Beast“ by Neri Oxman



D ES IGN AND BIO LOG Y Functional nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that suggests the lack of belief in one or more reputedly significant aspects of life; it is often used to describe moody teenagers and adults who refuse to work. However, nihilism can be something existential. Nietzsche characterized nihilism as emptying the world, and the especially human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Maybe till then, we can question our current situation is or is not the best version of what it is. I believe that there are two kinds of nihilism: passive nihilism and functional nihilism, if passive nihilism is to demolish the meaning of human existence, functional 25

nihilism will be the extended version of it, which is rebuilding after the demolish of current human society. So maybe, just maybe, only after the total annihilation of human infrastructure, we can rebuild and think what we can do better, and redesign the world in the way that nature intended us to.

The world after total annihilation What is world will be like if catastrophe occur? Take a nuclear strike for example, after the explosion; there will be radioactive fallout and long nuclear winter, so the best chance for survivors to stay alive is to take shelter underground. Because the underground world is free of radiation and danger. Although it will take surface world 10000 years to be safe and habitable again. human can start to establish colonies after 200 years before underground vaults run-



ning out of resource. Maybe this period is the time human finally realize their incompetence and their formal arrogance, because there is nothing left, but the ruins of their ancestors‘ formal glory. So this is the point where I start my speculation: What will our future habitats looks like after doomsday annihilation.

Tongue eating louse Source from: random-stuff/tongue-eating-louse-what-is-itand-is-it-harmful-to-humans/

Let’s take a look at nature’say of dealing with an inferior position. The Cymothoa Exigua also known as

Life of a parasite

tongue eating sea louse is famous for its parasitic lifestyle. I should mention

As we discussed in the previous

that the animal in question doesn’t

chapter, pessimism is the low-

necessarily “eat” the host’s tongue

est form of philosophy, and the

in the conventional sense: it latches

perfect representation of pes-

on the fish tongue and consumes

simism are parasites. because

blood and mucus until the tongue

they admit their inferiority and

completely shrivels up. Then the

decide to live inside the shadow

isopod crustacean stays right where it

of a stronger being, but you have

is and switches to just grabbing part

to admire parasites’ intellect of

of whatever the fish eats and slowly

doing so.

growing more substantial, but eventu-

“Cymothoa Exigua: Meet The Sex-Changing, Tongue-Eating Parasite” Jolene Creighton


ally detaching and swimming away.

First, what happened?

And the funny part of this case is that

The team imagines 100 nuclear

the fish won’t even notice its presence

warheads, each about the size of

through the whole process. Perfect

the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped

case of a parasitic relationship, taking

on Hiroshima, detonate over the

from the host without its noticing.

Indian subcontinent. The team members imagine an India-Paki-

You’ve seen what a nuclear winter look

stan nuclear war. It seems unfair to

like, as imagined by filmmakers and

single out these nations, but I guess

novelists. Now you can take a look at

they’re the poster children because

what scientists have to say. In a new

they have relatively small nuclear

study, a team of four U.S. atmospheric

stockpiles compared to countries

and environmental scientists modeled

such as the U.S., Russia, and China.

what would happen after a “limited,

The idea is If these lightweights can

regional nuclear war.” To inexpert ears,

do this to Earth, imagine what the


bigwigs can do.




subtle—two or three degrees of global

After the Indian-Pakistani nuclear

cooling, a nine percent reduction in


yearly rainfall. Still, such changes could

be enough to trigger crop failures and

enter the atmosphere immediately.

famines. After all, these would be

Black carbon comes from burned

cooler temperatures than the Earth has

stuff and it absorbs heat from the

seen in 1,000 years.

sun before it can reach the Earth.

Five megatons of black carbon

Some black carbon does eventually Let’s take a detailed look at some of

fall back to Earth in the rain.

these super-fun conclusions, shall we?

• After one year, the average sur-

“Computer Models Show What Exactly Would Happen To Earth After A Nuclear War” Francie Diep


face temperature of the Earth falls

on average. Ten years on, the ozone

by 1.1 Kelvin or about two degrees

layer has recovered so that it’s now 8

Fahrenheit. After five years, the

percent thinner.

Earth is, on average, three degrees

colder than it used to be. Twenty

lead to more sunburns and skin can-

years on, our home planet warms

cers in people, as well as reduced plant

again to about one degree cooler

growth and destabilized DNA in crops

than the average before the nuclear

such as corn.


Earth’s falling temperatures re-

2013, International Physicians for the

duce the amount of rain the planet

Prevention of Nuclear War estimated 2

receives. Year five after the war,

billion people would starve in the wake

Earth will have 9 percent less rain

of a 100-A-bomb war.

The decreased UV protection may

In a separate study, published in

than usual. Year 26 after the war,


Earth gets 4.5 percent less rain

Given the circumstances, how do we

than before the war.

rehabilitate the city after the apoca-

In years 2-6 after the war, the

lypse? Instead of demolishing every-

frost-free growing season for crops

thing and rebuild In the patriarchy way,

is shortened by 10 to 40 days,

it’s the time try a different approach to

depending on the region.

living a parasitical lifestyle. The con-

Chemical reactions in the at-

cept is simple; we can utilize the exist-

mosphere eat away Earth’s ozone

ing infrastructures and build our colony

layer, which protects Earth’s inhab-

as a part of them. Biomimicry plays a

itants from ultraviolet radiation.

big part here. Firstly, we take the labor

In the five years after the war, the

habit of dragonflies. The dragonflies

ozone is 20 to 25 percent thinner,

lay eggs on the water surface with

its tail at a rapid speed. So we build a drone that lays eggs just the way dragonflies do, but instead eggs, it lays self-inflatable pods on top of the existing infrastructure. The pods will serve as half temporary living quadra for the survivors, and they can also strengthen the remaining infrastructure. And on top of them, the human race can clean and build, starting a new community in a parasitical lifestyle. We can learn from the smallest thing in nature such as the parasite, the process of this learning is called biomimicry, Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, relationships, and elements of nature to solve complex human problems.




Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. ­­ ­ —Janine M. Benyus


biomimicry Auto-mobiles,

Why biomimicry now Smartphone,


If we want to remain in Gaia ‘s good

network… When we are smugging

graces, that’s precisely how we

about the technical accomplishment,

have to think of ourselves, as one

we have achieved. Nature already

vote in a parliament of 30 million

has all the answer to those inven-

(maybe even 100 million), a spe-

tions in a more elegant form and at a

cies among species. Although we

lot, less cost to the planet. Our most

are different, and we have had a

clever architectural struts and beams

run of spectacular luck, we are not

are already featured in lily pads and

necessarily the best survivors over

bamboo stems. Our central heating

the long haul, nor are we immune

and air-conditioning are bested by the

to natural selection. As anthropolo-

termite tower’s steady 86 degrees F.

gist Loren Eisley observed, all of the

Our most stealthy radar are hard of

ancient city-states have fallen, and

hearing compared to the bat’s multi-

while “the workers in stone and

frequency transmission. And our new

gold are long departed,” the “bear

“smart material ” can’t hold a candle

alone stands upright, and leopards

to the dolphin’s skin or the butterfly’s

drink from the few puddles that

proboscis. Even the wheel, which we

remain” The real survivor are the

always took to be a uniquely human

earth inhabitants that have lived

creation, has been found in the tiny

millions of years without consum-

rotary motor that propels the flagellum

ing their ecological capital, the base

of the world’s most ancient bacteria.

from which all abundance flows. It is time for us as a culture to walk


Humans’ wheel VS biological wheel in bacteria.

in the forest again. Once we see nature as a mentor, our relationship with the living world changes. Gratitude tempers greed, and as the plant biologist, West Jackson says,”the notion of the resource becomes obscene.” We realize that the only way to keep learning from nature is to safeguard natureless, the wellspring of good ideas. At this point in history, as we contemplate the genuine possibility of losing a quarter of all species in the next thirty years, biomimicry becomes a race and a rescue.

“Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” Janine Benyus



less vital for their health such as iron, copper, cobalt, zinc, and man-

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary

ganese. These atoms are then or-

branch of biology and engineering. The

ganized together using the energy

subject combines various disciplines

at their disposal, be it chemical, so-

from within these domains, such as

lar, or geothermal. Once captured,

biotechnology, genetic engineering,

this power and raw material can

molecular biology, molecular engi-

then be transmitted, often with few

neering, systems biology, biophysics,

losses, throughout the ecosystem



up to the food chain. The progres-

engineering, control engineering and

sion of biology from a mere set of

evolutionary biology. Synthetic biology

chemical reactions driven by some

applies these disciplines to build arti-

external energy to become life, in

ficial biological systems for research,

all its diversity, is truly excellent. Or

engineering, and medical applications.

to put it succinctly----life merely is


breathtaking. As a consequence of about 4 billion years of evolution, nature has become

The motivation to harness the

very capable in its use of raw mate-

powers of biology sympathetically

rial and energy. Ecosystems are un-

are then evident----it would be

derpinned by organisms that have the

incredible to partner with biology

ability to meet all their needs from the

to deliver a whole new engineering

environment--the carbon, hydrogen,

paradigm for the twenty-first cen-

nitrogen oxygen, phosphorus, and

tury. Biotechnology that is capable,

sulfur that sulfur that compose 99%of

and founded on the invention of a

their tissue and the trace elements no

sustaining relationship between humanity and nature.


Concept map





Biology went wrong Synthetic biology is not really a new concept, humans have been engineering the equation of life for a really long time. The most common example will be agriculture, to be more specific, animal breeding. The union of two outstanding being always leads to stronger offspring, our ancestor started to utilize that principle as soon as they discovered it. Selective breeding was exclusively use for the creating stronger offspring until the year of 1990s. The thriving economy stimulated the urge for vanity and entertainment. For instance men’s best friends, dogs. The upper class of the England starts to breed dogs for recreational purpose. The role of dogs significantly changed at that point, it went from humans trustful companions to their mere toys, to make dogs fit in certain esthetic, they engineered dogs inherited feature, this is Boston terrier , it’s a brachycephalic dog, which refer to dog with short face. As you can see Their face has changed significantly throughout the century, to do so, it require

A dog’s purpose

“How Dog Breeds Have Changed Over the Last 100 Years”


A boston terrier’s face changed through the century

Inherited disease


selective breeding from a relevant small initial gene pool between deformed individuals. This species by design has many genetic disease, which cause them constantly in agonizing pain and potentially early death. If we are talking about dog breeding, I have to mention this book called The Kennel Club’s Breed Standards. The Kennel Club’s Breed Standards form the basis for judging dogs at all licensed breed shows. This fully revised edition of

The Kennel Club’s Breed Standards


the authoritative guide outlines the descriptive “standards” for each of the 201 pure breeds of a dog now recognized by the Kennel Club. The madness didn’t stop over time, the selective breeding is still exist in nowadays. People walking on the street with their deformed companions, showering them with love and affection without knowing the fact they are the outcome of a shady industry and their companions are suffering through the pain beyond most



take Charles spinel for instance, to fit Charles spinel into a certain esthetic(relevant small head), the poor creature is constantly suffer through the serious case of Syringomyelia (SM) Syringomyelia is a very common disease for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The disorder affects the brain and spinal cord, causing severe head and neck pain, and in some cases, dog paralysis,


Small initial gene pool


The continuing madness of dog breeding

Syringomyelia and Chalse Spinel

one parody of what this disease feels like is that trying to fit a size 3 foot inside of a size 10 shoes, however in Charles spinel’s case, the foot is it’s brain and the shoe is it’s skull. So as a designer, how do we stop this madness by evoke future generation’s awareness of dog genetic health? According to one of my interviewees, we need to use extreme graphical pictures and astonishing statics to do so. Then, We need a medium to deliver those ideas. One of the media young people expose to the most is mobile games. It’s been estimated that the average 21-year-old will have spent 10,000 hours playing games, the average gamer is thirty years old, and the gender split is pretty equal with 46% female and 54% male buying games. Commuters play-


Teenagers and mobile games

ing Angry Birds on their phones on the train has become a common sight, while the blockbuster game Grand Theft Auto V reached 1 billion dollars in sales within just three days. Games are not just purely for entertainment though. There’s a strong tradition in games teaching players, from the simple days of Tetris increasing brain-power through tumbling blocks, to the terrible ‘edutainment’ games like Donkey Kong Jr. Math, to the thousands of historical details in grand strategy games like Crusader Kings II. Video games have a power of interaction and intrinsic learning built into them like no other medium, and many game developers and charities are using that fact for good. Here are just a few examples of how video games are being created and used for social good. However, the failure of “edutainment” games told us that young people hate a game that deliberately trying to teach them something,they rather discover


the hidden massages inside the

into the standard book and receive

game themselves and actually ben-

reward, to reach this goal, the player

efit from them. A game with a good

have to neuter the male dogs with less

plot twist always leave the player

purity and make the pedigree dogs to

with emotional impact memory,

mate with its relevance to create de-

Games such as Star Wars: Knights

scendants with higher purity. However,

of the Old Republic, BioShock,

one the player will notice the pedigree

Shadow of the Colossus. The plot

puppy is suffering with the symptoms

twist often involve player discov-

that create by genetic deformity, then

ering the fact they are playing as

the game will give you some knowl-

the bad guy all along while believe

edge of selective breeding and its

themselves are playing as the good

consequence. Here is the user journey,

guy. This emotion of ignorance and

the kid being entice by freemium game

realization can be a good emotion

, and experience the twist of the game,

shift for my target audience to real-

and learning through the process, and

ize the fact that under the glamor-

hopefully will make a better decision

ous facet of the dog breeding there

when becoming a future dog owner.

are blood and sweat cause by the greed, and humans can do so many things wrong under the name of love. This is puppy crossing, a mobile game which let you play as the dog farm owner, the goal is to raise puppies with more purity to fit them


The start screen of the game.

The NPC will jump out of the blue and explain the basic rule to first time player.


The player can pick a farm to grow puppies.


There are different breeds of puppy that the player can choose from.

This is how the farm looks like with the puppies player just purchase in it.

This is how the farm looks like with the puppies player just purchase.


This is how the farm looks like with the puppies player just purchase.

This is how the farm looks like with the puppies player just purchased in it .


The player can fit the puppy into the “standard esthetic� to detect their purity.

If the puppy shows more resemblance to the standard black shape, the higher purity it gets, which means the puppy has higher value. 53

The player has the options to attend the dog show with the puppy, move the puppy to another farm and sell the puppy for profit.

The same options can be apply to other puppies aswell.


There is also a fourth option which the player can ligate the male puppy with lower purity and prevent it from contaminating the gene pool and create offsprings with lower purity.

After a while, the puppies that are still fertile will give birth to a new generation of puppies


The new generation shows even higher purity.


Repete the similar method, the player can make a fortune in the game.


However, one day, the player will find out that the “pure� puppy is twitching and there is foam in its mouth.

The NPC from the beginning of the game will pop up again to explain the situation.


Then he will inform the player about dogs’ genetic health

Finally, the player will face the delima of choosing whether to spend a sm


The player entice by the

The player enjoy the game

freemium game

due to its fun game play and refreshing esthetic



The player has the potential to

hidden plot twist and being

make the right decision in real

educated with the information

life in terms of picking a pet dog.




about dogs’ genetic health


Biology+Design=future As a designer, it’s important to connect with your users, not only listen to their needs, but also really understand what they need, because sometimes people don’t understand what they want until you provide them with it. It takes month even years to truly understand your demographic, however there is one shortcut, co-creation, which means incorporate your users into your creating process. Cocreation can help you have a better understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and see your potential design opportunities. For a better understanding of the natural ecosystem, I interviewed a variety of experts, including biologists, environmental scientists, and animal scientists.


The motivation to sympathize with the power of biology is clear —it would be incredible to work with biology to provide a whole new paradigm for the twenty-first century, a biotechnology that will make what we need in our civilization, and be responsible and fair And built on the relationship between mankind and nature. —Synthetic Aesthetics







QIXUAN WONG Designer, student in POD Student

A synthetic brain for memory storage.—Xuan


Electrophoresis gel is the root for analyzing DNA fragments.—Xuan

Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced from the DNA of the baby. —Xuan


Nicholas Park Boston College Undergraduate Research Assistant Major: botanical science

The world will be in a consistent famine if there is no genetic modification . —Nicholas Park


We are the tech support of the planet. —Nicholas Park


AILUN SAI Alumni Worked on a thesis topic about human/ animal relationship

City construction base on animal migration behavior. —Ailun Sai


Andreamarie Efthymiou Undergraduate Research Assistant at Penn Lab Student

Living products is fine by me as long as the living organism doesn’t suffer. —Andreamarie Efthymiou


TROY CHOW Veteran Major: Neuron biology

Bio materials sometimes contain virus that can spread through airs and immune to heat, so it’s safer for start a small model of bio material ecosystem . —Troy Zhou


Synthetic skins for medical experiments will be a big trend in the medical field. —Troy Zhou

Micro fluid chips make nano degrade medicine supplying possible. —Troy Zhou 75

Guanchen Liu Minnesota farm Chicken farming specialist, Animal scientist

Poultry industry is known go manipulate chickens’ mentality in order to make their lives easier in the extremely crowded environment. —Granchen liu


The idea of “living product” can be conduct on insignificant accessories first just to put the idea into people’s mind. —Guanchen liu


Ali Schact schnedle Artist in residence of Genespace Biologist, Artist, Designer

I wish mycelium can be water proof.


NING ZHANG Bio-tech company in China Zoologist

Lizard pawn is more sophisticated than any suction cups humen ever made.


Will Shindel Cofounder at Brooklyn Bio Inc Biologist, Lab manager

A seemless connection beteween your house and your car.


Vivian Kuan Cofounder at Intrexon Inc Biologist, Architect

Scientist and designers are the pioneers of the society in term of sustainability.


Anna Bokov Genespace Animal scientist

Just look in to the simplest things in the nature.


Marc j. neveu Associate Dean of the School of Architecture Architect

If there is a way to modulate


Co-creation workshop

the biostructure can create a massive impact on earth’s bio-environment, it requires people with responsibil-

The guardians

ity and the ability to see the bigger

This whole book is about col-

picture, it sounds like the job of future

laboration, a collaboration between

designers, and they must also master

human and nature; a collaboration

the knowledge of biology. So they can

between organic mechanic and

become the guardians of the earth’s

collaboration between biologist


and designer. So, the primase of this workshop is With this concept, it’s time to bring

to make designer thinking with bionic

biologist and designer together

practices and biologists thinking about

as my users and start this co- co-

industrial practices. The potential

creation workshop.

outcome of this role switch maybe the speculation of the collective future

Along with the development of

development of both world: the work of

the biotechnology, biohacking will

biologists will be more commercialize

become the trend of the future so

and more user-friendly while designer’s

that biologists may become the en-

work is maybe more eco-friendly and

gineer of the future. With their help,


we may be able to hack into the


biostructure of creatures on earth

The total amount of participants is

to solve the problem we cannot

eight; there are three people with

solve with conventional industrial


practices. However, manipulate

ologist, a neuroscientist and animal




scientist and rest of them are designers. I start the workshop by assigning


them to teams: Gears and Cells: Gears represents the future designers, they tend to solve problems in an industrial and mechanical way, and their most important stakeholders are users, on the other hand, Cells represents the future biologists, they tend to solve problems biologically, their care more about nature.

Compostable bowls: Instead of putting party, BBQ, or camping snacks in a plastic or paper bowl, you can use a compostable bowl that’s both human and environmentally friendly.

After all the participants wear their hats which represents their identity and being introduced to the game board-- Global warming is real. The rule of the game is that all participants need to come up with ideas to mitigate global warming only with the practices from their professional areas. Here are some examples:

Iron fertilization This is the idea that by infusing the ocean with iron filings, we could stimulate phytoplankton blooms, increasing bio-productivity and create a green carbon sink, in the process absorbing large amounts of CO2. It may sound like a school lab experiment gone crazy, but since the 1990s, this has been one of the most favored geoengineering techniques.


Residential Vehicle emissions

Electricity generation

Nature cause

Global warming is real


The game board



Methanol: Methanol has about one third to one half as much energy as methane. Methanol is a liquid and easy to transport whereas methane is a gas that must be compressed for transportation.

Grasscrate: As its name might indicate, grasscrete is a method of laying concrete flooring, walkways, sidewalks, and driveways in such a manner that there are open patterns allowing grass or other flora to grow. While this provides the benefit of reducing actual usage overall, there’s also another critical perk — improved stormwater absorption and drainage.

Seaweed farming: Proposals for giant seaweed farms work on a similar principle to iron fertilization and would cultivate larger, more CO2-absorbing plant forms than phytoplankton. They also sound rather more directly appealing (at least for lovers of Japanese cuisine) in that they’d have the bonus of furnishing us with food as a byproduct.




The giant sunshade: A vast sunshade to be constructed from 16tr glass discs, assembled in space, and sent into orbit using electromagnetic launchers. This has a beautiful, obvious simplicity. Angel believes that by blocking just 2% of the sun’s rays, global warming could be reduced to manageable proportions.

Eco-friendly apartment: The five story mixed-use apartment block features solar power, eco-heating and an internal bamboo forest contained within an outdoor courtyard. This bamboo forest provides a cooling microclimate and a garden for residents with access to the units.

Inflatable Bags on cows: Cows farming are one of the biggest methane emission cause on the planet. So scientists hook them up with an inflatable bag on their stomach to gather the methane gas.

Tesla Musk: Musk delighted in besting those numbers in his remarks, including his claim that the truck has a 400-mile range with 30 minutes of charging. Musk had also promised self-driving abilities, and Tesla says this delivers at least semi-autonomous capability.


After the first round of ideas generation, all participants were asked to switch hats and trying to generate ideas with others’ professional hats. The speed of ideas generation exceeds my expectation, eight people generated over 100 ideas

Team2: bio-credit mini shop

within 30 minutes. For the last phase of the co-creation workshop, each Gear must find a Cell to form a sub-team, then they will prototype an idea which is the combination of both bionic

Team3: Methane based turbo charger.

thinking and mechanic thinking using the prototype material I pro-

At the end, here are my reflections of

vided. Here are some results of this

the co-creation workshop:

collaboration. 1.

To motivate the participants,

It’s essential to give them a sense of mission which I successfully implemented in this workshop. 2.

Although the quantity of the

idea is surprisingly high yet the qualTeam1: Methane powered vehicle.


ity is mediocre. I think that’s because I cut the discussion part in the whole

workshop to very minimum. Talking is a very important component of design process. 3.




proven the point there is room for biologists and designers to work together in the future.




COWPOWER There are many methane gas based ideas comes out of the cocreation workshop, because of the unique nature of methane gas

Does anyone miss milkmen? Those are the people who wear white pants and caps who deliver the nutritious daily supply of milk to your doorsteps, they are pretty much gone, and there is a plan to bring them back. So, let’s talk about Greenhouse gas Emission, 30% of all greenhouse emission of USA is coming from vehicles, vehicles use fossil fuel, which burning 1 gallon of them can create 24 pounds of carbon dioxide. And the only solution is to use less fossil fuel, and biofuel is a great alternative. The common biofuel we use are cellulosic fuel, corn oil and methane



gas, let’s talk about methane gas, there is a new methane gas-powered car had been invented in England, which can run 5.3 miles using 1 cubic meter of the methane gas .and the gas that produces by one sewer can power 95400000 cars per year. Now the other big GHG emission on the planet is the creature. Human being produces 0.12 kg of GHG every day, pigs produce 1.5, sheep produce 8


kg, and the king of gas here is the cow, which produces 120kg of GHG every day. As the most common farm animal in the USA, the cow not only produce dairy and meat but also produce a huge amount of methane gas, which is a big component of GHG, due to the enteric fermentation happened in the cow’s unique digestive system. It can produce 30 to 50 gallons of methane gas per day through belching and farting, there are approximately 1.5 billion cows in the USA, and the methane gas emission from cow farming had skyrocketed


Car production factory

tenfold in mere ten years. So, the solution to the current GHG emission is pretty self-explanatory now, we need to build an infrastructure to collect the methane gas from cattle farming, and utilize it to power the vehicle. Now introducing green cow, a farming-based industrial cluster. Let’s take a look at the business canvas here; the value proposition is reducing the Greenhouse Gas emission and produce renewable energy source. The key activities will be cattle farming and methane gas gathering, in which we need key partners such as farming experts, grass (cow feed) supplier, energy utility experts and construction companies, the key resources we hold will be the


Retail/customer households Methane gathering & processing

Dairy processing

power plant infrastructure. The power plant will look something like this, first, here cows, and let’s build some sheds for them, then, in order to prevent the methane gas from getting out, let’s put a giant glass dome on top of them, due to the reason that methane gas is lighter than air, all of them will be collected from the top of the dome into the methane gathering and processing factory. Cattles are also one of the key resources we hold, so we can fully utilize them by building a dairy products production line, which will directly attach to our key activity here. So let’s put up the milk factory, and don’t forget to build up styles just for cow’s feet which contain 35% of the methane.


Our customers are eco-conscious, dairy consumers, methane car drivers, and methane powered household owner. But a methane-powered car is not popular yet, so why don’t we build up our brand of methane-powered vehicle to expend user inquiry. And we can add car factory to our key resources although it will also add up costs like construction, equipment depreciation, and materials. However, we can save some money on the energy cost by using methane to generate elec-


tricity. The good part here is that it will change customer’s relationships with products selling to lifestyle selling, by providing an eco-friendly line of products. Now, let’s talk about channels. Advertising will become a major cost for our business, so it makes sense if we sell all of our products in a coherent brand, and advertise them as a whole. It will save us 60% on advertising.


The selling channels now are retail stores, factory to customers distribution for each product, however, We can combine some of our selling channels to save costs, like gas station with a cheese market, door to door gas and milk subscription service that comes with methane gas-powered car purchase, which delivered by the milkman in white pants. Here, my friend is the rise of the milkman.


The cheese store + gas station

Methane powered car


“Beast“ by Neri Oxman



EC OLOGICAL D EBT A ND THE CITY The past two centuries of economic growth and prosperity, with little regard for the environment, carry an incredibly high cost, regarding water and air pollution, a loss of natural areas and biodiversity.

Future generation will pay the cost of this ecological debt: Ecological debt refers to the accumulating debt of modern areas; by plundering rural areas; by exploiting their resources; by degrading their natural habitats; and by freely occupying an environmental space for discharging waste. In 1992, the term “ecological debt� emerged into the international conversation among ecologists and conservationists, first mentioned in a paper presented by 105

the Instituto de Ecología Política

part of a nation’s debt was erased

in Santiago, Chile, wherein the

in return for the designation of large

production of greenhouse gases

wilderness areas wherein such natural

by the developed nations of the

resources and social impacts occurred

north, particularly from resources

as conservation areas and national

extracted from the less developed

parks. Some countries took positive

nations of the south, was seen

advantage of this opportunity, not only

as an inequitable balance that

to preserve and protect large areas

had imposed climactic and social

from development but also to refocus

changes not included in the cal-

their economies on associated tourism.

culations of international debt. It

Today, many of these nations would

was a rich versus poor argument,

argue that the situation remains mostly

asserting that the impact colonial

unchanged. Some have nationalized



their resources and become their own

of finite natural resources from

exploiters and agents in the interna-

these nations had not been fully

tional energy and mineral markets.

“compensated” by price, royalties

Some have been less successful to that

or licensing fees, or even the loans

end and the imbalance remains.


made otherwise to these countries by bankers in the north. There was

This argument also characterizes posi-

in fact talk of reparations to be paid

tions taken by small island nations in the

as compensation for this unequal

contemporary climate debate wherein

transactional system. There was

those nations most affected by sea

at the time, within the context of

level rise, extreme weather, exhaustion

this discussion, a series of “debt for

of resources, and poverty, allegedly

nature” agreements wherein some

the result of global climate change are

“Ecological Debt and the Global Footprint Network” By Peter Neill


seeking comparable investment as

long time to regenerate itself, and it

compensation for circumstance over

is essential for humans working in

which they have had no control but are

tandem with nature to pay for our

feeling the most direct effect. In the

ecological debts.

various climate summits of the last two decades, this has been a major issue,

The ecological debt can only be

with these nations objecting to the will-

pay by doing ecological goods and

ingness of the large, most developed


countries they believe to have caused the problem to not adequately address

In the scope of Kuan’s thesis, eco-

and invest in the solution. This too,

logical service refers to the service

they argue, is ecological debt.

humans provide to help the environmental ecosystem regenerate

But the situation is even more perva-

itself at a faster pace.

sive than these arguments would suggest. Ecological debt has transcended

Within other areas on the planet,

the physical and political boundaries

the major cause of the ecologi-

of any individual nation to become

cal debt comes from cities that

a global phenomenon that involves

should be responsible for lead-

every person on earth in the calculat-

ing the movement of ecological

ing and recalculating the sums through

services;and for paying for our

collective and individual behaviors

ecological debt in order to return


land to its natural ecosystem.

A quote from my nterviewee indicates that it takes the natural ecosystem a




“Beast“ by Neri Oxman



EC OLOGICAL serv i c e des i g n for th e ur ban e n v i ron m e n t Cities are an epitome of the relationship between human and nature and are vast centers of demand for ecological services and also generate substantial environmental impacts. Current projections of rapid expansion of urban areas present fundamental challenges and even opportunities to design more livable, healthy and sustainable cities. There are four potential impediments that may be in the way of our mission to bring ecological service into the city due to the distinctive attributes of a natural environment and a city environment.


Goal and objective It’s hard to visualize how much oxygen one tree can provide for us in a year, and what kind of difference it can make. What’s the ultimate goal of this Bees pollinate plants and plants give us thesis? I want to say it is to save the food, so how many foods one bee can world from humans and save humans provide for the family of three, there is from themselves, which is a pretty only very generalized statistic instead ambitious thing to do and nobody of personalized data. will ever believe a regular dude like me will ever achieve this goal, not in 2. Individuals feel they can not make an a two years master program. So let’s ecological difference because they feel break down the entire “saving the that their effort is negligible. world” thing into few smaller pieces, and instead of using big words that Wild bees can build their nest inside of nobody will understand, I’m gonna a rotten log, and they are actually more try a different approach.

resilient than we thought they are, so we can easily help them by leaving a

After an agonizing process of sys- block of the tree trunk in our front lawn. tematic thinking and problem finding, I narrow down my entire thesis 3. Sustainabull into three segments of problem statement:

For so long we have celebrated the

1. There is no well-understood mea- products that identify themselves as “sustainable” and sustainability has surement of ecological output.


become an economic commodity. However, what sustainable design do is mitigate the impact we cast upon the environment, we are still doomed. While sustainability is getting all the attention, there are this small group of people that give a shit about the environment--



organization. However, lots of them are non-profit, So there is very little support for them. So, let’s see where we are at now right at this moment that I’m writing this sentence. Firstly, we need to simplify problem statements individually into single objective and find their selective counterparts. Take” Organizations that genuinely support the environment don’t get enough support or publicity.” for instance; we can simplify this conflict into two opposites force of struggle: conventional



and ecological service design. AKA commensalism



Commensalism, in ecology, is a class

of relationships between two organisms where one organism benefits from the other without affecting it. This is in contrast with mutualism, in which both organisms benefit from each other, amensalism, where one is harmed while the other is unaffected, and parasitism, where one benefits while the other is harmed. The word “commensalism” is derived from the word “commensal,” meaning “eating at the same table” in human social interaction, which in turn comes through French from the Medieval Latin



“sharing a table.” Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each benefits from the activity of the other. Similar interactions within a species are known as co-operation. Mutualism can be contrasted with interspecific competition, in which each species experiences reduced fitness, and exploitation, or parasitism, in which one species benefits at the


“expense� of the other. Symbiosis

a change of goal here from the very

involves two species living nearby

beginning, to start with, I want my

and includes relationships that are

demographic to become the pioneer

mutualistic, parasitic, and com-

of our society like designers and sci-

mensal. Symbiotic relationships

entists, I believed that only they have

are sometimes, but not always,

the ability to adopt then implement


ideas. However, as my research getting deeper, I found ecological service can

So as we can learn from the chart,

only be effective when human works

we actually overachieved our goal

as a collective, and sometimes giving

here, now my work focus com-

back to the environment is not as hard

pletely on giving back to nature and

as we thought, for instance, how do we

completely demerit sustainability

save wild bees, the answer is surpris-

design. The reason I said so is that

ingly simple however it takes the effort

sometimes when I make products,

of public: One of the greatest actions

I overlook the fact that the mate-

people can do for wild bees is planting

rial or the production process I

flowers, especially to mitigate the nega-

use may damage the environment.

tive impacts of honey bee hives on wild

I should take the life cycle of the

bees. Native flowers are best for native

product into consideration before

bees, so seek out flowering plants that

it gets released into the world and

are native to the specific region. Pro-

actually start to make a difference.

viding nesting sites can also help fight the effects of habitat loss. Different


And the second pair here is small

types of bees nest in different habitats,

demographic and large demo-

so offer a diversity of nesting materials.

graphic, I admitted that there is

Mason bee houses, patches of bare soil

for gentle ground-nesting bees, old

entities to how do we fit into nature

wood with beetle tunnels, and piles of

as one of the components.

branches make excellent habitat for a diversity of species. Again, it’s also

For conclusion, through the scope

essential for the public to have few

of my thesis, I have to think in a

role models to lead the trend. At last,

wider scope and reaching out to

base on the principle of MAYA(most

target demographic with a smaller

advanced yet acceptable) I set my

embodiment. Think globally and

goal in the middle, I will explain this

act locally!

process in the later chapter. The final set of performance continuum is about our relationship with nature, which is the core of this thesis. What is the most resilient yet healthy relationship we can have with nature? For so long us as humans--a kind of biological organism have disconnected from our natural heritage, maybe it’s time for us to admit the fact we are a part of nature instead of apart from it. It’s important for us to work with natural elements for the benefit of the environment. So the focus of my work has shifted from discussing humans’ relationship with nature as separate





nities and ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male

The first problem is that conduct-

parts of a flower to the female parts

ing ecological service in the city

of a flower of the same species, which

sometimes requires city dwell-

results in fertilization of plant ovaries

ers to share space with natural

and the production of seeds. The main

elements. Due to the reason that

insect pollinators, by far, are bees,

many city dwellers do not have suf-

and while European honey bees are

ficient experiences with the natural

the best known and widely managed

elements, they may express the

pollinators, there are also hundreds of

emotions of disgust and fear.

other species of bees, mostly solitary

For instance, Bees. , bees provide

ground-nesting species, that contrib-

many benefits for the natural eco-

ute some level of pollination services to

system as pollinators, It has often

crops and are very important in natural

been said that bees are responsible

plant communities.

for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Most crops grown for

Colony Collapse Disorder is the phe-

their fruits (including vegetables

nomenon that occurs when the major-

such as squash, cucumber, tomato,

ity of worker bees in a colony disappear

and eggplant), nuts, seeds, fiber

and leave behind a queen, plenty of

(such as cotton), and hay (alfalfa

food and a few nurse bees to care for

is grown to feed livestock), require

the remaining immature bees and the

pollination by insects. Pollinating

queen. Once thought to pose a major

insects also play a critical role in

long-term threat to bees, reported cas-

maintaining natural plant commu-

es of CCD had declined substantially

“Pollination Why are bees important?� Michigan State University Department of Entomology Native Plants and Ecosystem Services


over the last five years. The number of

to pesticides applied to crops or for

hives that do not survive over the winter

in-hive insect or mite control.

months – the overall indicator for bee

Stress bees experience due to

health – has maintained an average of

management practices such as

about 28.7 percent since 2006-2007

transportation to multiple locations

but dropped to 23.1 percent for the

across the country for providing

2014-2015 winter. While winter losses

pollination services.

remain somewhat high, the number of those losses attributed to CCD has

Changes to the habitat where bees

dropped from roughly 60 percent of


total hives lost in 2008 to 31.1 percent in 2013; in initial reports for 2014-2015

Inadequate forage/poor nutrition.

losses, CCD is not mentioned.



stress on bees caused by one or a There have been many theories about

combination of factors identified

the cause of CCD, but the researchers


who are leading the effort to find out why are now focused on these factors:

It turns out bees thrive in an urban environment due to higher tem-

Increased losses due to the invasive

peratures and the use of pesticides;

varroa mite (a pest of honey bees).

however, many city dwellers may

New or emerging diseases such as

resent keeping bees around them

Israeli Acute Paralysis virus and the gut

due to their fear and misunder-

parasite Nosema.

standing of them.

Pesticide poisoning through exposure

Here is the mutual benefit dia-

“Colony Collapse Disorder”




gram, in which we can identify our needs and input to reveal design opportunities, it turns out the city is a preferred habitat for bees due to the heat island effect and fewer pesticides, but how might we introduce bees into the city. I notice that the beehive has a natural aesthetic, which humans can admire as an artwork; however, unlike beehives, city dwellers widely appreciated art. I wonder if there is a way city dwellers can appreciate bees the way they appreciate art and Introduces Beecastle, a residence and art gallery for artistic bees. Due to its urban decay, Detroit becomes a starting point: it has deserted buildings all over the city, which require a very small amount of construction to turn them into art galleries. According to Tyson, we need to build a relationship with an existing community before we introduce something new. Since Detroit happens to have amazing







urban gardening programs, that might want to accept a little help from the bees. While overlapping two maps, we find our potential location to build the galleries- this is the interior installation, and provides an outdoor section where an artist in residence can freely use. Those two parts are kept in order separate to eliminate any misunderstanding

Incident truly,

Besides process the potential of making an ecological difference, Beecastle is also the world’s’ first pancake friendly art gallery!


Art introduction in bee language

The art and residents

Human visitors interaction (Press button)

Naturally falling honey




THEATREE The second impediment is that some ecological service involves a long process, and the result is

10-20 YEARS

barely visible, and people are more often more willing to do things that affect their senses to get a sense of accomplishment. For instance, It takes 10-20 years to fully grow a tree; however, it


only takes a grown person 8-13 seconds to feel distracted, thanks to the development of the internet.

The results showed the average hu-

According to scientists, the age of

man attention span has fallen from

smartphones has left humans with

12 seconds in 2000, or around the

such a short attention span even

time the mobile revolution began, to

a goldfish can hold a thought for

eight seconds. Thus, it is very hard for


city dwellers to express any interest towards conducting ecological service.




participants in Canada and studied

“So what if we can instantaneously

the brain activity of 112 others using

allow the city dwellers to experience


the process of ecological service and

“Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones�



show them the result, will they be more involved in conducting ecological service themselves?” With this assumption, I curated an experience called “Theatree” ecological service as an experience. Theatree is an interactive theatrical experience, showcasing the life of a tree in a mere five minutes. Before the experience, the participants were asked to master five shadow puppetry gestures, which they will use during the experience to help the tree thrive.



The sign of bird drives away all kinds of infestation. 136

The sign of rain nourish the shadow tree and make it grow.






At the very end of the experience, the participant will receive a gift from the shadow tree as a gesture of gratitude. The gift is the tool of guerrilla gardening— a seed bomb so that the participant can actualize the experience of growing a plant in real life.



As an extension of this project, I Imagine Theatre to be a public installation, and instead of putting the seed bomb in a plastic ball, the seed bomb can live on its own by becoming a thick block of paper mesh.




organization, he encounters the following problems: It is difficult to choose an environmental problem that he can help solve

As for the third impediments, I found that Ecological service requires the articulation and commitment that ordinary city dwellers do not necessarily possess. City dwellers live in a very fast pace environment, even though they are willing to pay for their ecological debt, they usually do not possess the professional knowledge or the time to participate in the ecological service. It seems that the most efficient way for city dwellers to support ecological service is asking them for donations to support the charitable organizations that work on environmental issues. The way people make donations online, however, is not ideal After I personally donates to a specific


through a donation. After randomly picking “clean water� as a criterion, I find that many organizations are working on that issue, but there is no clear activity report for each organization, so I do not know which one to support. I only pick Clean Water Action because it shows up first in the google search result. There were five pages to go through before I can land on the donation page, and I was asked to put in his personal information including Email address, legal names, phone number and credit card information. This is not only time consuming, but also has no credibility for the transaction channels.




was spent. After completing the donation, I feel like I was throwing money into the water (in a literal sense). There is no feedback on how the organization is doing or which project will receive the money City dwellers do not have much

No credible data base and analysis for a Transaction. No validation for credibility or effectivness for each organization. No credible data base and analysis for a Transaction.

time or money to dedicate to going through all those procedures. This is my App “Tip it.” With Tip it, it is simple, secure and automatic to donate based on an organization’s impact. In conclusion, there are five problems that I can use as design opportunities and create a simple, secure, automatic way to donate base on individuals’ impact on the environment. Too much redundant information before one gets to the actual page. No feedback on how the money


No credibility for the payment channel.

Log in

Log in

Create Create a new account a new account


The procedure is simple: Users sign up for the app by linking the app with his mobile banking app so that the app can get their transaction records.


TIP IT ranks users’ transactions from A to D according to the Life Cycle Analysis, and the lower rank that this transaction belongs to, the more money users will tip. TIP IT judges by the following standards:

Then TIP IT will pick an aspect that transaction needs the most and automatically tip a small percentage of that transaction to the organization that works on solving that aspect.

How many clean waters may that transaction consume?

TIP IT chooses the organization that receives money using the following standards:

How many botanical resources may that transaction consume?

How active is the organization?

How many animal resources may that transaction consume?

How popular that organization is among the TIP IT users (mark as favorite)?

How many greenhouse gases may that transaction emit through its life cycle?

How many ecological outputs may that organization potentially produce? (analysis by a panel of experts) ?


Every Tip has a three-day pending period users can decide whether they will cancel the tipping transaction.


TIP IT allows organizations to provide some incitement for attracting donors; for instance, donors can watch immersive videos about what kind of work that organization is doing.


The organizations can offer some creative incitement, like naming something that the donor’s money helps to create when the donor’s donation reaches a certain amount.


If the users do not want to commit to tip every transaction in a certain percentage. They have the option to turn off the Auto tip or assign a new percentage to each rank.


Finally, users can make a one-time donation to TIP-IT, and TIP IT will dispense that money to the organization it picks.




cities cutting off water to residents, or states having to close fisheries. However, algae have many benefits to people as well; for instance, all algae

For the final impediment, Some ecological Service does not have a mainstream appeal which attracts city dwellers. Then he finds an example: algae. Algae is a simple nonflowering plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue. People often associate algae with algal bloom, An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems, and is recognized by the discoloration in the water from their pigments; a algae blooms can lead to fish die-offs,

produce 70%-80% of the oxygen on the planet and green and blue algae can be used as superfoods. So I wonder how can I bring algae into the city and ask city dwellers to adopt it. In fact, the Bio Intelligent Quotient building already gives its answer. Situated in Hamburg, Germany (Am Inselpark, 17), the “building with BioIntelligent Quotient” (BIQ ) is the first algae-powered building in the world. BIQ is a cubic, five-story passive house with two differently designed façade types. The sides of the building that face the sun have a second outer shell that is set into the façade itself. Microalgae – tiny plants, no larger than bacteria – are produced within this shell, enabling the building to supply its

“The BIQ House: first algae-powered building in the world” Arla Fytrou-Moschopoulou



energy. This façade is the first of its

After learning what algae are capable


of doing,

BIQ has a holistic energy concept:

I wonder whether I can build an

it draws all of the energy needed to

adaptor for humans to incorporate

generate electricity and heat from

algae into their respiratory system so

renewable sources. Apart from

that humans can enjoy all the benefit

producing energy using the algae

algae provides (oxygen, temperature

biomass harvested from its own

regulating, food ) while only exhaling

façade, the façade then collects

carbon dioxide.

energy by absorbing the light that is not used by the algae and gener-

The dream is beautiful, but the math is

ates heat, in the same way a solar

cold; it requires tons of algae to satisfy

thermal unit does, which is then ei-

the oxygen supply one human needs.

ther used directly for hot water and heating, or cached in the ground

What if there is an alternative future

using borehole heat exchangers.





that algae-based biofuel will replace


BIQ has 15 apartments, some of

conventional gasoline as it becomes

which are based on the concept of

the mainstream fuel. People can give

switchable spaces with functions

thanks to the scientists who hacked

that can be alternately or simul-

the genetic sequence of algae and

taneously switched to a “neutral”

increased its bio performance. There is


a short story took place in that future.



can go up to 80 miles per hour in mere 10 seconds all thanks to the Tesla bio

Joe ignites a match on the phos-

engine and genetically modified Chlo-

phorus strip. The unusual flame

rella-- a biofuel that produces by Bloom

suddenly appears, and it is blue.

which is so powerful that regenerates

The blue flame is brighter and

itself using photosynthesis when Joe is

stronger than any fire should be.

enjoying his synthetic meat sandwich

The seductive flame dances with

which is also a by-product of algae. Ever

the sparks around it seem to be

since scientists decrypted the genetic

mocking him. After the flame

sequence of Chlorella(a type of alga), it

finally died out, Joe looks through

has become the essence of everyone’s

the window; the green algae bloom

daily life. Chlorella has been genetically

extends all the way to the horizon,

engineered for different purposes, fuel,

there is nothing but green.

food and even construction material.

He lowered his head and started

Joe works in a building that covers with

to think: We outdid ourselves this

aquarium tanks that filled with algae,


according to the guy from orientation, those algae not only regulate the inte-

Three weeks earlier, New York City,

rior temperature but also power up the


whole building. It seems like algae are the key to all the problem we had fifty

Joe sits in the car which he recently

years ago, such as carbon emissions

purchased, it’s a Tesla bloom, a roy-

and waste overflow. All thanks to the

al baby of two hottest companies

fourth industrial revolution-- bio frenzy.

nowadays: Tesla and Bloom, the car runs on algae-based biofuel. It


Joe finishes his sandwich and trying

to use the rest of his lunchtime for a

reveal itself. Joe is surprised by

cozy nap, the broadcast from the radio

the volume of the product, it is so

suddenly caught his attention: The up-

much smaller than its predecessor.

coming launch of Bloom fuel 3.0 is the

The product looks very elegant

direct cause of bankrupting of Shell, the

with its silicon grip and test tube

last fossil fuel company. Joe’s eyes just

shape, and he can observe algae

sparkle with anticipation, it means the

within through the transparent

end of an old era, everything is com-

tube. It is green alright, but differ

ing up for the future. He turns on his

from its predecessor, the shade

smart glasses and start to search for

of green is much brighter,it is the

this new biofuel that Bloom came up

kind of green that cannot be as-

with, according to the advertisement,

sociated with nature. Besides the

Bloom really step up their game this

vessel there is a card inside the

time. They found a way to triple the

box as well, it says :Thanks to the

energy transfer rate within Chlorella


using gene splicing. Without a second

next time you refill your oil tank is

thought, Joe pre-order a single unit of

the time your car goes out of com-

the product.

mission. This statement just makes



Joe even more excited to try out his One week later

new toy. He plugs the vessel into

Joe starts his daily routine by going

the fuel tank, and the tank immedi-

through his mail; he is very excited to

ately sucks out the fluid inside, the

do that because he knows today is the

whole experience is intuitive and

day he gets the package from Bloom,

seamless. However, as Joe unplug

as he expected, Bloom 3.0 is here! He

the vessel, there is one single drop

opens the package as the vessel slowly

of algae falls on the ground without his noticing.





its good. The thing that scientists

Joe tosses away the match, slowly

do not see coming is that although

stand up, his eyes are bloated with

Bloom 3.0 is relevantly stable on its

redness, a symptom that causes by

own, however, when you mix Bloom

oxygen intoxication. He puts on his

3.0 with its predecessor, their cel-

air mask; it is designed to prevent

lular structure will fuse together and

the user from inhaling too much

become incredibly resilient against

oxygen. Which is pretty ironic

its surrounding environment. The

compared to the fact people trying

algae can even survive on land and

to get as many oxygens as they

replicate financially. Any drop of the

can. Joe raises his head and gazes

biofuel outside of the tank will grow

through the window, nothing but

on its own without any constraint

green. The ocean of algae is still

while releasing oxygen into the air

expanding, he stands up and start

while conducting photosynthesis.

to think about what went wrong.


Bloom 3.0, a revolutionary product

The biotechnology is like the genius

that is a way to ahead for its time, to

in the bottle, if you utilize it with re-

increase the cellular regeneration

sponsibility, it has limitless potential

rate, the scientist of Bloom tech-

for the welfare of the entire human

nology infect the Chlorella cell with

race, however, when the technology

modified Streptomyces Viridis, a

falls into the wrong hands, it will be

highly contagious germ). It does

a catastrophe not only for our spe-

not only save the money goes into

cies but the for the ecosystem of the

the production, but also beat an-

entire planet.

other biofuel on the market. A very

So in the future, what will the adaptor

smart moves, maybe too smart for

look like if humans want to incorpo-

maya principle and modern esthetic

rate algae into their respiratory system. I start with the sketches, and then I prototyped some of the ideas. However, according to the Maya principle, the way people adopt new technology is through the form they are familiar with. So Kuan looks into the wearable tech, Bloom, on the market and takes inspiration from their form.








This is the final answer: Bloom. Bloom has a built-in micropump to keep the algae’s vitality; a bioreactor to harness the heat algae creates through photosynthesis, and synthetic membrane for algae and a human to exchange breaths. Bloom comes with a syringe for users to inject algal water into the device or withdraw it to harvest algae biomass from it. The collapsible design is a choice both for fashion and functionality.





L OOKI NG Fo rward “Every single individual matter,

In the future, designers shouldn’t be the

every single individual makes some

people who are specialists; we should

impact on the earth every single

celebrate the idea of being generalists.

day, and we have the choice as to

Because being a generalist means that

what kind of impact we are going

you can understand others and the will

to make.”

to learn. Jane Goodall Earthday

In this book, I understand the idea that


designers should work with biologist; humans should work with nature to provide a brighter future for every

These two years are the most excit-

single living being in the universe.

ing year of my life yet to be the most difficult ones as well. I came to this

This may sound corny however this

program to become a visionary of

is the future I’m looking forward to.

the future. Then I discovered that

A future not only with technological

no one could stir the wheel of the

marvel but also full of collaboration

future by working alone. The same

and communication.

principle applies to designers. Designers should always collaborate with others.




ac know led gem e n t Allan Chochinov

Maya Ragazzo

Andrew Schloss

Anne-Marie Lavigne

Emilie Baltz

John Heida

Steven Dean

Oya Kosebay

Brent Arnold

Paola Antonelli

Sinclair Smith

Hlynur Atlason

Jennifer Rittner

Claire Hartten

Abby Covert

Kate Bakewell

KT Gillett

Ayse Birsel

William Cromie

Matthew Borgatti

Hannah Calhoon

Michael Chung

Rachel Abrams

Andrew Dent

Rebecca Silver

Jennifer Dunnam

John Thackara

Elizabeth Galbut 179

Sigi Moeslinger Tak Cheung Toshi Mogi Jason Severs Becky Stern Richard Tyson Masamichi Udagawa Rob Walker James Wynn Marko Manriquez Alisha Wessler Krithi Rao PoD Family

“Beast“ by Neri Oxman



b i bli ography Benyus, Janine M. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. HarperCollins e-Books, 2009. Chantry, Walter J. Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? Banner of Truth Trust, 1971. “Colony Collapse Disorder.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 26 Apr. 2018, www.epa. gov/pollinator-protection/colony-collapse-disorder. “Cymothoa Exigua: Meet The Sex-Changing, Tongue-Eating Parasite.” Futurism, Futurism, 22 Aug. 2016,, Francie. “Computer Models Show What Exactly Would Happen To Earth After A Nuclear War.” Popular Science, Popular Science, 18 July 2014,, Arla. “The BIQ House: First Algae-Powered Building in the World.” Build Up, 1 June 2015, www. “How Dog Breeds Have Changed Over the Last 100 Years.” BrightSide - Inspiration. Creativity. Wonder., 13 Apr. 2017, Neill, Peter. “Ecological Debt and the Global Footprint Network.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost. com, 4 Jan. 2015, html. “Pine vs. PVC: How Real and Fake Christmas Trees Compare.” Mental Floss, 8 Dec. 2017, “Pollination.” 4-H Community Service & Service Learning, pollination/.Roberts, Laura. “Bio-Bug: Car Run on Human Waste Is Launched.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 6 Aug. 2010, Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 12 Mar. 2016,


Ecological service design for the urban environment




Symbiosis pages for thesis 2  

Symbiosis refers to a long-term interaction between two different biological organisms, and there are three types of symbiosis: parasitism,...

Symbiosis pages for thesis 2  

Symbiosis refers to a long-term interaction between two different biological organisms, and there are three types of symbiosis: parasitism,...