Intro to ‘City as a Forest’ with biomimicry pioneer Chris Garvin


Intro to ‘City as a Forest’ will now be held at ABC Carpet and Home (not at the Interface showroom).

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 from 3-5 pm




As a partner event of the Agritecture Xchange series, “Intro to City as a Forest” will provide attendees with a basic understanding of biomimicry, ecological performance standards, and how we can apply ecosystem metrics to design more sustainable, resilient cities.

“City as a Forest” aims to reconstruct the relationship between the ecosystem and the city in a mutually beneficial manner that supports all life. This is a regenerative approach to building design and community development. The goals of this effort are to connect people to natural systems, align local ecosystems with larger regional systems, and integrate comprehensive ecosystem impacts into planning and decision-making. Using this holistic approach, we can solve challenging urban problems while strengthening the connection between the built environment and nature.

Enjoy local fare and drinks while networking with other like-minded students and professionals. Questions? Contact

To be alerted to future events, sign up for our mailing list here.

About Chris Garvin

Chris Garvin is an accomplished architect and active voice in the sustainable design community. Since moving to New York in 1998, he focused on sustainable design with both Croxton Collaborative and Cook+Fox Architects. Chris joined Bill Browning and Bob Fox in 2006 to form Terrapin Bright Green, a strategic sustainability consulting firm dedicated to the rapid transformation of our built environment to create a healthy and sustainable world. During that time, Chris developed and executed a five-year biomimicry innovation program with the State of NY to support innovation in SMEs.

In 2011 he became a founding board member of the BiomimicryNYC regional network. Furthermore, he has worked with Google and Interface to integrate bio-inspired ecological metrics into the design and operations of their facilities. Chris has served as the managing partner and project lead for many of Terrapin’s engagements until departing in 2017. Currently, he is focusing his efforts on ecologically-driven solutions to reverse climate change and improve the health and resiliency in communities.


Graciously hosted by

ABC Home is a NYC design destination—a portal into collective creativity, integrating healing, education, theater, art and other forms of interconnectivity. With beauty + design as tools, ABC guides a conscious participant to creatively commit to nurturing the planet and its communities while actualizing home as a sacred space. ABC Carpet & Home holds a commitment to indigenous artistry, and its protection, with global cooperatives and global partnerships. To find out more about their transformational events series, please click here.


Organized by



In partnership with

Since 2011, Agritecture has been researching and evaluating thousands of approaches to urban agriculture. What began as a humble blog, has evolved into a global consulting business offering clients technology-agnostic guidance. As part of their ongoing commitment to accelerate the urban agriculture industry, they continue to share knowledge through their blog, wide array of events, and their do-it-yourself +Farm.

AgTech X is a community platform for learning, collaboration, and entrepreneurship within Urban Agriculture & Sustainable Food System topics. They currently run New York City’s only co-working lab that is focused solely on sustainable food & agriculture issues.




What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable (and net positive) solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul, and actually give back to the ecosystems of which we are an integral part. As biomimics we ask, what can we learn from nature — not, what can we take?

The core idea is that organisms and ecosystems have already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the original engineers, innovators, aviators, and architects. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.


Header image by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.


Aligning Business & Nature Through Biomimicry

The Regenerative Economy

By Adiel Gavish

The room of homosapiens was buzzing like bees, as a diverse tribe of over 100 eco geeks, science nerds and finance dweebs met and exchanged ideas and shared interests. An enthusiastic crowd of architects, engineers, students, designers, business and finance professionals came together at Impact Hub NYC to learn more about the promise of “The #Regenerative Economy” at our seasonal BioBeers network event held Tuesday, July 22nd. In fact, more than one Impact Hub employee came up to me and exclaimed, “Wow! This is a fun crowd!”And it wasn’t just the rosé .

Attendees networking at our BioBeers event

Attendees connect at our BioBeers event.

Can we fit the square peg of “natural capital” valuation into the round (w)hole of iterative ecosystems?

Can we really align business and nature? What exactly is a regenerative economy? And how do we know when we’ve succeeded? And finally, can we actually fit the square peg of “natural capital” valuation into the round (w)hole of iterative ecosystems?

The search for sustainable, equitable answers to our most pressing global challenges is a quest that unites us all. Once you’ve searched for so long, and realize that nature can act as a guide, you see the world in a new and thrilling light.

Biomimicry is a science which not only studies nature’s best practices in sustainable innovation and design, but delivers implementation strategies that have been time-tested and nature-approved. When we look outside, biomimics not only see a forest or the trees, we see billions of years of lessons embedded in a vertically integrated system which upycycles all of its resources. I know, crazy, right? But true!

Thank goodness we can’t commodify gravity.

The natural world has developed sustainable methodologies that can be found in every type of biome and ecosystem the world over. Janine Benyus, co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8, describes this universal foundation as “ubiquitous”. When we look to nature for answers, we find solutions that are grounded in physics, which our current economic system is designed to oppose. I mean, thank goodness we can’t commodify gravity.

The path of “business as usual” is no longer an option. There are signs of this shift in our culture today with the emergence of the “Sharing Economy” the “Circular Economy”, and the exponentially growing number of Social Enterprises which seek to do “more good” through business. Companies, especially multinationals, now think of their “stakeholders” along with their “shareholders”.

We have collectively come to this conclusion as a society – business must change in order for us to survive. Sustainability is crucial, but to be regenerative and give back from whence we take will set us on a course of meaningful contribution – in business, and in our lives. And we can do it through innovation and fun! Who knew?!



Janine Benyus’ Vision: Cities that Function Like Forests

Janine Benyus Speaks at the ESRI Geodesign Summit

Janine Benyus shares her vision of “Cities that Function Like Forests” and how to get there using Ecological Performance Standards, in her talk at the 2014 Geodesign Summit.

Watch her inspiring presentation here on the Biomimicry Educator Network website.

“In her address, Janine describes how cities could be designed to function just like a forest: restorative, regenerative, sustainable, life giving. She also gives a great introduction to the concept of ecological performance standards, a set of design guidelines that could be used to build resiliency back into our urban environment.”

#Biomimicry #NatureKnows


BNYC Featured in Planning Magazine

Planning Magazine_Mother Nature, Designer, Interview with Adiel Gavish

In a recent article for The American Planning Association’s publication, “Planning Magazine”, Dr. Nicola Davies explores biomimicry’s influence in urban planning. In her piece entitled, “Mother Nature, Designer: Using Biomimicry for Planning and Urban Design”, Ms. Davies sites nature inspired examples including the newly re-designed National Building Museum in Washington DC. The author makes a compelling case stating,

… designs can be adapted and transformed from structures that drain resources and energy into entire ecosystems that benefit communities, cities, and the planet.

Adiel Gavish touches on the application of ecological performance standards to resiliency planning in cities,

Because cities essentially operate at an ecologically sub-optimal level, utilizing these metrics aligns us with place-based ecological and biological standards.

Re-connecting to and meeting these standards can inform and improve resiliency planning as well as optimize investments in resilient infrastructure.

Read the full article here.



Board of Directors


ann berdy

Ann Berdy, Educator

Ann is a graduate of the Biomimicry Specialist Certificate Program. She has taught underserved communities with Arts Corp in Seattle and Audubon in New York City. She has been a member of Threshold Foundation since 1989, has co-facilitated the Sustainable Planet Committee, and is a co-founder of both the Middle East Peace Funding Circle and Partnership for Peace. Annie is also on the board of the Biomimicry Institute, and serves on the advisory board of Inside the Middle East at the Eisenhower Institute.


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Lisa Dokken, Professor and Consultant

Lisa is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, having developed and taught the first biomimicry course offered at the Earth Institute, since 2015. She is also teaching the first biomimicry business course at Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability program. Lisa holds a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University, a Masters in Science in Biomimicry from Arizona State University, and is a Certified Biomimicry Professional. In addition to lecturing, Lisa delivers corporate and government workshops that introduce the framework of living systems to shift our mindsets to move to a more regenerative economy.


Mark Dorfman

Mark Dorfman, Green Chemistry Naturalist

Mark is a biomimicry chemist with 13 years experience working with Biomimicry 3.8. He consults the natural world for innovative, life-friendly, sustainable solutions to toxic chemical challenges facing our industrialized world. Mark applies the design principles of nature’s time-tested chemical strategies to develop innovative solutions to the toxic chemical and material challenges of the 21st Century. Mark has worked closely with FT 500  clients such as Estee Lauder, Colgate, Johnson and Johnson, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, and Patagonia.






Chris Garvin, Sustainability Expert and Architect

Chris Garvin is a highly accomplished sustainability expert and architect who has run small companies as the managing director /CEO /CSO and active voice in the sustainable design community. With over twenty years experience, his work spans across building type and scales and includes developing innovative products and building systems integration to large-scale planning issues and building code development.


Adiel Gavish

Adiel Gavish, Founder and Sustainability Strategist

Adiel is the founder of the BiomimicryNYC network, a former corporate sustainability strategist, and former director of a non-profit environmental policy and advocacy organization. A graduate of Columbia University’s MS in Sustainability Management, she has consulted social enterprises on strategic partnerships and is currently dedicated to cultivating a local community of nature-inspired innovators through the BiomimicryNYC regional network. Adiel is also the social media and communications manager for the Biomimicry Institute where she gets to spread the latest biomimicry news, events, and research on a daily basis.


Amy Larkin

Amy Larkin, Author and Speaker

Amy is an author and green business consultant for Greenpeace and the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. Ms. Larkin recently published, “Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy” and was also appointed Vice Chair to the Global Agenda Council on Climate Change for the World Economic Forum. An award-winning entrepreneur, producer, and environmental activist, Amy has launched cultural institutions, co-founded one of the first affinity marketing businesses, and worked with Greenpeace for 30 years as a volunteer, board member, and adviser.






C. Mike Lindsey, Biomimicry & Social Entrepreneur

C. Mike strives to generate positive impact through collaborative solutions in the urban ecosystem. He co-founded NexLoop, an award-winning biomimicry startup developing systems to collect and integrate freely available water into urban agriculture.  He also co-founded FeedForward, a culinary collective supporting sustainable food producers and providing formerly incarcerated individuals with meaningful work to ensure that no material or human potential is wasted. His professional experience spans veterinary medicine, neurobiology, public radio, the restaurant industry, and urban agriculture.


Clare Miflin Headshot (1)




Clare Miflin
 AIA, LEED AP, CPHD, Biomimicry Professional (Spring 2018)

Clare has extensive experience designing buildings to the highest environmental standards. She recently led the development of the AIANY Zero Waste Design Guidelines – a multidisciplinary collaboration to develop strategies to reduce waste through design of the built environment. She is now working to apply biomimicry to our material flows and integrate ecological performance standards with high density living.


John Webb

John Webb, Digital Design and Research

John Webb is a Staff User Experience researcher at Google. He is currently UX research lead for the Search Social Impact team which is focused on building meaningful, user-centered products and experiences across the Health, Education, and Civic Engagement spaces. John was also instrumental in designing, a directory of nature-inspired innovations and strategies.



Get Involved

We welcome everyone interested in or currently working in the field of biomimicry to join our network. Some ways to get involved:

Janine Benyus Speaks at the ESRI Geodesign Summit

Janine Benyus Speaks at the ESRI Geodesign Summit on Ecological Performance Standards.

So, given its depth and breadth, how does one categorize biomimicry? Is it a design discipline, a branch of science, a problem-solving method, a sustainability ethos, a movement, a stance toward nature, a new way of viewing and valuing biodiversity? Yes, yes, and yes, which is why biomimicry is an idea that acquires people, a meme that propagates in our culture like an adaptive gene.” ~Janine Benyus



Nature’s 3.8 billion years of wisdom is the greatest “natural resource” we have to tap into. Biomimicry has galvanized scientists, architects, designers and engineers into exploring new ways in which nature’s successes can inspire humanity.

As part of the Biomimicry Global Network, BiomimicryNYC is working with professionals and thought leaders across the globe to develop and scale innovations inspired by nature to create a global community of biomimicry practice.

The next frontier of sustainability does not ask “how can we reduce our impact on the planet?”, but advances that question to ask, “how can we create conditions conducive to life?” How do we live gracefully on this planet that as Janine Benyus has said, “is ours, but not ours alone.”

As one of 10 founding members of the Biomimicry Global Network, a network of 30 organizations around the world, we work to promote learning from and emulating natural forms, processes, and systems to create sustainable, regenerative, and healthier man-made technologies and designs. Learn more about the Biomimicry Global Network on our Partners page.

“Imagine NYC meeting the same ecological performance standards as the wildland next door.” – Janine Benyus


BNYC members planning, strategizing and hatching the network:

Collage of BNYC members planning, strategizing and hatching the network.



Past Events

March 17 and 18 webinar_Johnson

Biomimicry Design Charette

Urban Green Harbors Design Charette

How can urban harbors accrete sediment and stop erosion like the salt marsh;

while improving water quality like the oyster reef

and creating a habitat for other species like eel grass beds?

Two years since Superstorm Sandy, the world is a different place. Everyone is talking about “resilient coastal cities”, but what does that really mean? What can we learn from inherently sustainable and resilient natural systems? And how can we apply nature’s adaptive strategies to our urban harbors?

How would nature design resilient breakwaters, supporting human and ecological services and functions?

Introduction to the science, philosophy and practice of Biomimicry and the 6 Biomimicry Principles.

Design charrette of a local breakwater on Governor’s Island. Work with an interdisciplinary team of designers, biologists, architects, engineers and planners. Final designs will be presented to the NY Harbor School

WHEN     Monday, November 17th from 10AM to 5PM

WHERE   Pershing Hall, Governor’s Island – the Ferry leaves from the Battery Maritime Building (the historic green building to the left of the glass Staten Island Ferry bldg) promptly at 10 AM. Address: 10 South St, New York, NY 10004

COST      $45 per person, $40 for first 10 registrants



Dr. Anamarija FrankicDr. Frankic is founder and director of the Green Harbors Project®. She is a Biomimicry Educational Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zadar. Her background in biology, ecology, limnology and marine science guide her interdisciplinary work in coastal and watershed ecosystem stewardship and restoration. Anamarija founded the LivingLabs® program where students and local communities can ‘learn and teach by doing’ biomimicry, applying nature’s wisdom to be healthy, wealthy and resilient.

Each participant will be assigned to a diverse 5 person team, based on your background and experience. Volunteers from BiomimicryNYC and Biomimicry New England will be assigned to each team in order to provide guidance through the research phase and biomimicry design process.

Located in the heart of New York Harbor, Harbor School’s mission is to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience that instills in students the ethics of environmental stewardship and the skills associated with careers on the water.


Community Partner and Sponsor Packet_BiomimicryNYC_Urban Green Harbors


We would like to thank our Community Sponsors

HOK Architects

HOK is a global biomimicry leader in the built environment as well as thought leadership on how to integrate Life’s Principles in design, urban development and whole systems thinking. Their “Genius of Biome” report, developed in partnership with Biomimicry 3.8 is a study which explores “how lessons from the temperate broadleaf forest biome, which houses many of the world’s largest population centers, can inform the design of the built environment.”


Environmental Connection

Environmental Connection, Inc., is a full service environmental firm offering services ranging from industrial hygiene to integrity risk/compliance monitoring and complex forensic investigative analysis.  We are dedicated advocates of sustainability, and provide measurement and analytical services for projects with sustainability features.


As well as our Community Partners


Urban Future Lab

The Urban Future Lab is a marriage of the city’s premiere clean and resilient tech incubator, and is dedicated to envisioning and realizing innovation in the cleantech sector, with a particular focus on energy, sustainable urban infrastructure, water, transportation and air quality.


Impact Hub NYC

Impact Hub NYC is a coworking & events space for a membership community of entrepreneurs, activists, creatives, and professionals taking action to drive positive social and environmental change. Biomimicry Charette Design participants are invited to sign up for a free week and experience it for yourselves!

cuny institute for sustainable cities
The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (CISC) works to realize cities as part of the solution to global sustainability challenges. CISC explores the nature and complexity of cities through the themes of: 1. Consumption 2. Vulnerability and Resilience 3. Ecosystem Services

 dsi logo

Design for Social Innovation is an emerging discipline that works at a systems level, shifting cultures, igniting collective creativity, and realizing the kind of transformational opportunities for business and society that we need most right now. MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA NYC is the first program dedicated to teaching design at scale to produce this discipline’s next leaders.




EcoArchitecture Design Works PC is a design consultancy founded by Ms. Janus Welton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, which combines Sustainability,Energy Efficiency, Building Biology, Bio- Geometry, Biomimicry and Classical Chinese F.S. Building Patterns in Architecture, Interior Design, and Planning. Ms. Welton is also a Founding Member of the BiomimicryNYC network.


Workshop: Women’s Leadership Lessons Through Biomimicry

Women’s Leadership Lessons From the Living EarthWomen leading change in these dynamic times are tuning into new sources of inspiration—personally, socially, and globally. They are seeking guidance in how to be more adaptive, resilient, networked, and systemic — all things we can learn from the natural world around us.

During the weekend, participants will learn to integrate biomimicry methods with leadership practices. What might we learn about cooperation from a forest ecosystem? How can nature’s feedback loops inspire us in cultivating our networks? How can bee colonies mentor us for self-organizing within a community? 

WHAT Women’s Leadership Lessons From the Living Earth

WHEN October 10, 2014 – October 12, 2014

WHERE The Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York



Toby Herzlich, founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation, is a Senior Trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute and cofounder of Cultivating Women’s Leadership. She’s taught women to be effective, heartfelt, nature-inspired leaders in Israel, Bosnia, the US and Canada.

Dayna Baumeister, PhDdevoted biologist and educator, is co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute and Biomimicry 3.8. She guides leaders globally to learn from nature as mentor in solving the world’s sustainability challenges. 


BiomimicryNYC Leadership to Speak to Emerging Design Professionals

ASID GO PRO NY EventBiomimicryNYC board member and Biomimicry Chemist Mark Dorfman, as well as Founding Member and architect Janus Welton will speak to emerging design professionals at the ASID (American Association of Interior Designers) GoPro event this September.

Mark and Janus will share their experience as biomimicry practitioners in the fields of materials and design and architecture. As a biomimicry chemist, Mark has worked with companies looking to improve material performance and increase sustainability by taking cues from nature’s life-friendly chemistry. He will give an overview of biomimicry, describe the methodology he uses to find nature-inspired solutions to real-life challenges, provide some case examples, and paint a picture of where the field is heading.

Janus, a LEED certified architect, interior designer and educator will discuss nature’s time-tested designs that inspire innovation in the design process. She will share biomimicry products, case studies of biomimicry applied to the built environment and challenge you with a new design paradigm based on Nature’s forms, processes and systems.

RSVP here


Discovering Nature’s Genius

WHAT Immersive Biomimicry Workshop with Biomimicry 3.8

WHEN December 9 – 14th, 2014

WHERE La Cusinga Lodge, Uvita, Costa Rica


This program held by Biomimicry 3.8 will empower you in the practice of biomimicry by strengthening your ability to use the biomimicry process for discovering nature’s amazing adaptations developed over 3.8 billion years of evolution. Your program leaders will guide your discovery into how life’s strategies can help humanity solve its own challenges in design, business, engineering, and beyond.

This immersion experience held in the tropical rainforest ecosystem of Costa Rica will teach you how to deeply observe the natural world with the support from our experienced program leaders and translate those observations into insights that can drive innovative, biomimetic solutions to a wide range of challenges.


The #Regenerative Economy Network Event

The #RegenerativeEconomy: Aligning Business and Nature at Impact Hub NYC July 22 from 7 - 9 pm

With 3.8 billion years of R&D experience our natural world is a master innovator and stellar model of ubiquitous design. How can our cities, businesses, products and services help “create conditions conducive to life” like the natural world?

Focusing on economic metrics, business and investment standards, authors Amy Larkin and Katherine Collins will discuss their recently published books that describe solutions to create a regenerative economy – an economy that helps create conditions conducive to life on this planet. As Janine Benyus (the scientist philosopher who coined the term biomimicry) stated, “We are nature, but we’re really young. Our biological elders are wise … I’d like us to become a species that not only fits in, but contributes.”

“A regenerative economy is one that aligns the rules of business with the laws and principles of nature,” Adiel Gavish, founder of BiomimicryNYC. Join the BNYC network to learn more about this emerging discipline and how we can contribute “more good”, and not just “less bad”. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres and networking starting at 7 pm, plus two 10 minute talks starting at 7:30 pm with lots of time for Q&A.

WHAT The #Regenerative Economy: Aligning Business and Nature network event

WHEN Tuesday, July 22 from 7 pm to 9 pm

WHERE Impact Hub NYC at 394 Broadway is a co-working & events space for a global community of professionals taking action to drive positive social and environmental change. BNYC is proud to support this growing organization as a Founding Partner.  (more…)