Marshall (2007, as cited by Pedesen Zari 2007) uses the term to mean a sustainable form of biomimicry where the objective is the wellbeing of ecosystems and people. Van der Ryn and Cowan suggest that an ecological design revolution spanning the many disciplines must undertake a design approach in which the study of the relationship of flora and fauna in their environment is at the core (1996 cited bu Gamage and Hyde 2012 p225). Thus promoting the development of a set of principles based on ecology. Theologian Thomas Berry articulates that the â€œGreat Workâ€? of our age is the endeavor to harmonize the human enterprise with how the world works as a physical system (Orr 2002 p3). Perhaps biomimicry will offer the slow, bottom up approach needed to reform and regenerate the urban landscape and how it functions. Landscape architects today along with other design disciplines face an ecological design challenge. The challenge is to design and develop optimal processes of landscaping that go beyond simply meeting the measures of policies - but seek to create new human systems that work like natural systems.
It has been suggested that biomimetic landscape design is really just bio-utilization, that a biomimetic landscape is not an imitation of nature, but an actualization of nature; implementing actual biological process for human benefit. However, eco-mimesis calls for an interactive relationship with plants, in which their processes are synergized as part of a system. (Pawlyn 2011 p.2) The function of planting takes precedent over their aesthetic value when biomimicry is applied to the practice of landscape architecture. The qualities that make plants useful to humans, in addition to their ability to improve and promote health and wellbeing (CABE). Recent progressive trends in landscape architecture point to a more functional utilization of planting in the urban realm. Rain gardens, green walls and roofs, and well as urban forests are increasingly integrated into the Green Infrastructure of cities. (Dunnett, Clayden (2007) Dunnett, Kingsbury 2008). It has been noted that for these methods to have any real effect on the urban environment they must be implemented on a wide scale, and wholly integrated.
Emultating an ecosystem can offer the design solutions needed. A eco-mimetic landscape would not only conserve habtitats and allow them to endure, but grow, adapt, regenerate, and self-sustain. Biomimicry points toward the pervasive shift needed in societal priorities; toward economy of scale, toward closed-loop systems, toward truely sustainable design.
Biomimetic Design for Landscape Architecture