Timothy Beatley

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Dr Timothy Beatley is an internationally recognized sustainable city researcher and author. His writings have focused on creative strategies cities can use to reduce their ecological footprints and become more livable and equitable places in the process. Beatley coined the term green urbanism and uses it frequently in his writings to describe the planning process used to create a sustainable city.


Academic Background

Beatley received a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986. He is currently "Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities" in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, the University of Virginia School of Architecture. [1]

His primary teaching and research interests are in environmental planning and policy, with special emphasis on coastal and natural hazards planning, environmental values and ethics, and biodiversity conservation. He has been a prolific author since the mid-1980s on the subjects of coastal hazard mitigation, hurricane recovery, habitat and ecosystem conservation, environmental ethics, and sustainable urban planning.

His 2010 book Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature Into Urban Design and Planning advocates putting the biophilia hypothesis into practice with an outline of the essential elements of a biophilic city and examples and stories about cities that have successfully integrated biophilic elements. [2]

Green Urbanism

In his recent works surveying sustainable cities in Europe and Australia, Beatley argues that although cities typically consume large quantities of fossil fuels and generate enormous amounts of waste and pollution, they are the most important centers for positive environmental change. Beatley notes that the high population density that characterizes most cities (especially European cities) also means that land is used efficiently, that automobiles are not the primary mode of transportation, and that per capita consumption of resources is low. Beatley's description of a typical sustainable city is one that is compact and walkable with easily accessible parks and green spaces. Such a city also would emphasize sustainable forms of mobility, such as public transportation and bicycles. Parallel to Beatley's studies, the concept of green urbanism has been discussed by Steffen Lehmann in Australia, for instance in his book The Principles of Green Urbanism (Earthscan, London, 2010) and in the journal S.A.P.I.EN.S. [3]

In Beatley's view, a city exemplifies green urbanism if it (1) strives to live within its ecological limits, (2) is designed to function in ways analogous to nature, (3) strives to achieve a circular rather than a linear metabolism, (4) strives toward local and regional self-sufficiency, (5) facilitates more sustainable lifestyles, and (6) emphasizes a high quality of neighborhood and community life. [4] Beatley uses these six points to define Green Urbanism as a different type of New Urbanism, and therefore an ecological movement, although others have interpreted Beatley's definition to be simply an alternative type of urban design. [5]


Related Research Articles

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life".

Environmental design is the process of addressing surrounding environmental parameters when devising plans, programs, policies, buildings, or products. It seeks to create spaces that will enhance the natural, social, cultural and physical environment of particular areas. Classical prudent design may have always considered environmental factors; however, the environmental movement beginning in the 1940s has made the concept more explicit.

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Landscape planning is a branch of landscape architecture. According to Erv Zube (1931–2002) landscape planning is defined as an activity concerned with developing landscaping amongst competing land uses while protecting natural processes and significant cultural and natural resources. Park systems and greenways of the type designed by Frederick Law Olmsted are key examples of landscape planning. Landscape designers tend to work for clients who wish to commission construction work. Landscape planners analyze broad issues as well as project characteristics which constrain design projects.

Peter William Geoffrey Newman is an environmental scientist, author and educator based in Perth, Western Australia. He is currently Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University. He is best known for his contributions to the development of Perth's electrified metropolitan rail network through both activist and official consulting roles since the 1980s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sustainable city</span> City designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact

The sustainable city, eco-city, or green city is a city designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact, and resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 defines sustainable cities as those that are dedicated to achieving green sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. They are committed to doing so by enabling opportunities for all through a design focused on inclusivity as well as maintaining a sustainable economic growth. The focus will also includes minimizing required inputs of energy, water, and food, and drastically reducing waste, output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution. Richard Register, a visual artist, first coined the term ecocity in his 1987 book Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future, where he offers innovative city planning solutions that would work anywhere. Other leading figures who envisioned sustainable cities are architect Paul F Downton, who later founded the company Ecopolis Pty Ltd, as well as authors Timothy Beatley and Steffen Lehmann, who have written extensively on the subject. The field of industrial ecology is sometimes used in planning these cities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sustainable landscape architecture</span> Category of sustainable design

Sustainable landscape architecture is a category of sustainable design concerned with the planning and design of the built and natural environments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Green infrastructure</span> Sustainable and resilient infrastructure

Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure refers to a network that provides the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include stormwater management, climate adaptation, the reduction of heat stress, increasing biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water, and healthy soils, as well as more anthropocentric functions, such as increased quality of life through recreation and the provision of shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. Green infrastructure also serves to provide an ecological framework for social, economic, and environmental health of the surroundings. More recently scholars and activists have also called for green infrastructure that promotes social inclusion and equality rather than reinforcing pre-existing structures of unequal access to nature-based services.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Regenerative design</span> Process-oriented whole systems approach to design

Regenerative design is an approach to designing systems or solutions that aims to work with or mimic natural ecosystem processes for returning energy from less usable to more usable forms. Regenerative design uses whole systems thinking to create resilient and equitable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature. Regenerative design is an active topic of discussion in engineering, landscape design, food systems, and community development.

Ecological design or ecodesign is an approach to designing products and services that gives special consideration to the environmental impacts of a product over its entire lifecycle. Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan define it as "any form of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by integrating itself with living processes." Ecological design can also be defined as the process of integrating environmental considerations into design and development with the aim of reducing environmental impacts of products through their life cycle.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alna River</span>

Environmentally sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of ecological sustainability and also aimed at improving the health and comfort of occupants in a building. Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, the health and well-being of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

Ecological urbanism draws from ecology to inspire an urbanism that is more socially inclusive and sensitive to the environment. It is less ideologically driven, than green urbanism or sustainable urbanism. In many ways, ecological urbanism is an evolution of, and a critique of, Landscape Urbanism arguing for a more holistic approach to the design and management of cities. This type of urbanism has a central scope of four main objectives: Compactness, complexity, efficiency, and stability. This model of Urbanism strives to tackle the current challenges of society by intertwining sustainability and urban occupation models. "Ecological urbanism" was coined by architect and planner Miguel Ruano in his 1998 book Eco-Urbanism: Sustainable Human Settlements, 60 Case Studies. The term first appeared as "EcoUrbanism", which is defined as "the development of multi-dimensional sustainable human communities within harmonious and balanced built environments". The term was used later in April 2003 at a conference at the University of Oregon, and again in 2006 in a paper by Jeffrey Hou. Mohsen Mostafavi used the term in the 2007 publication Intervention Architecture and in a lecture at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Today, ecological urbanism is recognized as a formal academic research topic. Notably, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design has conducted a conference, held an art exhibition, and published a book all centered around ecological urbanism.

Catherine gardens is an architectural concept where large ecosystems are enclosed in huge shells around buildings to protect them from pollution. This is also referred to as "floating ecosystems" that can be retrofitted on high rise buildings or "hollow ecosystems" because of the empty spaces predicted in the design.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Green urbanism</span> Practice of creating communities beneficial to humans and the environment

Green urbanism has been defined as the practice of creating communities beneficial to humans and the environment. According to Timothy Beatley, it is an attempt to shape more sustainable places, communities and lifestyles, and consume less of the world's resources. Urban areas are able to lay the groundwork of how environmentally integrated and sustainable city planning can both provide and improve environmental benefits on the local, national, and international levels. Green urbanism is interdisciplinary, combining the collaboration of landscape architects, engineers, urban planners, ecologists, transport planners, physicists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and other specialists in addition to architects and urban designers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sustainable urbanism</span> Study of cities and the practices to build them

Sustainable urbanism is both the study of cities and the practices to build them (urbanism), that focuses on promoting their long term viability by reducing consumption, waste and harmful impacts on people and place while enhancing the overall well-being of both people and place. Well-being includes the physical, ecological, economic, social, health and equity factors, among others, that comprise cities and their populations. In the context of contemporary urbanism, the term cities refers to several scales of human settlements from towns to cities, metropolises and mega-city regions that includes their peripheries / suburbs / exurbs. Sustainability is a key component to professional practice in urban planning and urban design along with its related disciplines landscape architecture, architecture, and civil and environmental engineering. Green urbanism and ecological urbanism are other common terms that are similar to sustainable urbanism, however they can be construed as focusing more on the natural environment and ecosystems and less on economic and social aspects. Also related to sustainable urbanism are the practices of land development called Sustainable development, which is the process of physically constructing sustainable buildings, as well as the practices of urban planning called smart growth or growth management, which denote the processes of planning, designing, and building urban settlements that are more sustainable than if they were not planned according to sustainability criteria and principles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ataria</span>

Ataria Interpretation Centre is a wetlands interpretation centre and natural history museum for the Salburua wetlands, a Ramsar site and a significant wetlands habitat in the Basque Autonomous Community. The wetlands region is an important green belt on the eastern outskirts of the city of Vitoria - Gasteiz in Álava-Araba province. Ataria showcases the value of the wetlands, which are classified as a class 1 Habitat of European Community Interest, and the importance of biodiversity to Vitoria-Gasteiz's natural heritage. The Salburua marshes are considered to be "the Basque country's most valuable area of wetland", according to a Fedenatur report for the European Commission in 2004.

Technobiophilia is 'the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biophilic design</span> Building industry concept

Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, it is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments, with few drawbacks. Although its name was coined in recent history, indicators of biophilic design have been seen in architecture from as far back as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.


  1. "Timothy Beatley". University of Virginia School of Architecture . Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  2. Beatley, Timothy (October 2010). Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning (Paperback ed.). Island Press. p. 208. ISBN   978-1597267151.
  3. Lehmann, S. (2010) “Green urbanism: formulating a series of holistic principles”. S.A.P.I.EN.S.3 (2)
  4. Beatley, Timothy (2000). Green Urbanism . Island Press. pp.  6–8. ISBN   978-1-55963-682-7.
  5. Agnes E. Van Den Berg, Terry Hartig, Henk Staats (March 2007). "Preference for Nature in Urbanized Societies: Stress, Restoration, and the Pursuit of Sustainability". Journal of Social Issues . 63 (1): 79–96. CiteSeerX . doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2007.00497.x. S2CID   38339946.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)