Biourbanism is a combination of ten primary systems. These systems are made up of key indicators that can be aggregated as a scorecard for determining the relative health and competitiveness of a region, city or project depending on the scale of investigation. Optimum urban health is achieved if intervention to an individual system does not trigger significant detrimental impact to the remaining nine. The interrelationships of systems are thus managed in a purposeful and mutually beneficial way. A description of the systems follows below:
Cities are net importers of food consuming more resources than they produce. Humans living in urban populations rely upon a local network of food supply chains connected to regional market distribution hubs. These hubs are in turn connected to regional, national and global agricultural networks. The ability of a city to maintain fresh food security is fundamental to the health of its citizens.
Since ancient times governance and legal frameworks have sustained communities and have been fundamental to their longevity. Geopolitical stability, cultural diversity and human rights equality have a direct influence on vibrant city life. Affordable education and health care have a profound effect on the prosperity of cities.
The continuous terrain that supports all the earths terrestrial ecosystems including plants and animals. Cities highly modify the architecture of the urban landscape to suit habitation, economic, cultural and infrastructure imperatives. There is a growing number of cities that are intelligently nurturing urban forests, increasing parklands and greening urban space to improve ecological function and livability. Maintaining healthy ecosystems and urban biodiversity enhances human health.
The unwanted by product of resource processing for human consumption that requires disposal and decomposition. Waste is considered an externality in economic theory and as such the full cost of damage to the environment by pollution, production of hazardous outputs etc. are often not fully considered. The establishment and monitoring of appropriate environmental regulations that protect urban citizens and ecologies are fundamental to maintaining healthy cities.
The home of the earth's aquatic ecosystems and the essential liquid required to sustain plant and animal life. Water moves around the earths cycle of precipitative and evaporative processes and very little of this precious liquid on the earth is fresh. Securing access to clean, unpolluted H2O is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity and has led to numerous city collapses in the past.
To perform their everyday work cities require cheap and abundant energy. Cities rely upon radiant energy from the sun together with energy released from a range of sources including carboniferous or elemental sources. Following commitments made at COP21 in Paris cities are leading a major shift away from fossil fuels towards adoption of renewable energy sources. Coal prices are on a downward trend and divestiture of shares in fossil fuel companies by major global funds is accelerating.
The production of capital by a city and the consumption of goods and services by its people. Cities are dynamic entities sustained by trading in the flows of global and local capital. Production and accumulation of financial capital is dependent on inputs of both human and natural capital. Prosperous cities are supported by equitable financial systems built upon legal frameworks that are free of corruption such that business productivity can be maximized.
The livability of cities is linked to the effectiveness and proximity of multi modal public transport infrastructure. The ability of citizens to travel quickly and cheaply from work place to home has a qualitative impact on the health and well being of a city. Cities with short average commuting times increase their economic productivity and competitiveness by minimizing traffic congestion costs.
Since ancient times and the advent of agriculture, humans have created urbanized centres to suit our aspirations for power, wealth and lifestyle. Fledgling settlements emerged as either unplanned sprawls, planned conurbations or a combination of the two. Those cities that remain today are characterized by their primary and ancillary functions, building density gradients and landscape setting. Whether mega city or slum, cities need carefully planned interventions to improve livability and prosperity.
The concept of automation has always been central to the path of human development. After conquering industrial mechanisation humans are now using digital means to delve into the nano scale. Big data is increasingly driving decision making and soon quantum computing will make our largest super computers look like an abacus. Cities that nurture workforces involved in driving the ideation and flow of digital information are likely to emerge as the front runners of our 21st century Anthropocene era.