Ecomimesis: A Model for Sustainable Design

Author: Lillian C. Woo, Director, Ecodesign Research Center, USA
Published: April 2016

Citation: Woo, L. C. (2016). Ecomimesis: A Model for Sustainable Design. IAFOR Journal of Sustainability, Energy & the Environment, 3(1).


Background. In the last fifty years there have been scientific empirical evidence that climate change and environmental degradation are increasing and over 500 international agreements with goals to stem the deterioration of the land, sea, and air. Despite all the evidence and treaties, climate change is getting worse with ever increasing air and water pollution, soil and ocean degradation, and ecosystem decline. Method and results. Based on both extensive research and monitoring of the harmful contributors to the environment and specific components of the ecosystem and current design remedies to ameliorate that damage, this paper provides an analysis of the negative anthropogenic impact on various parts of the ecosystem and proposes ecomimetic design solutions to mitigate and repair environmental degradation. This article focuses on these major components of the ecosystem: biodiversity, spatial efficiency, homeostasis and its subsets of cybernetics, succession, and continuity. These components are described with emphasis on the damage inflicted by anthropogenic actions. Each section will include proposed ecomimetic solutions to repair and mitigate the damage. Conclusion. While there is no single solution to the environmental challenge, ecomimesis represents a comprehensive and achievable approach toward slowing and correcting environmental decline. It is different from other design models because it considers all the major components of the ecosystem and designs the manmade ecosystem to minimize adverse effects and help stabilize the environment. Using nature as its template, ecomimesis conserves, repairs, and improves existing ecosystems. Ecomimesis is a new and broad approach to ecodesign.


climate change, ecomimesis, ecosystems, sustainable design