Huri Te Ao Hoahoanga - School of Future Environments
Aotearoa New Zealand
  PhD, BDes (Int Arch).  Author of Regenerative Urban Design and Ecosystem Biomimicry  
Auckland University of Technology

Te Wānanga Aronui O Tāmaki Makaurau

Dr Maibritt Pedersen Zari 

Associate Professor


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Call for papers - Special Issue "Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability"

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on December 15, 2019 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (50)


Special Issue "Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability" in the journal Sustainability

Dear Colleagues,


To address converging ecological, climatic, and social issues humanity will face in coming decades, we urgently need to explore more complex, nuanced, and collaborative ways of working across built environment disciplines. It is clear that the way we build and live in our cities must change rapidly, particularly given that the growing human population is now mostly urbanized. Although cities occupy only approximately 3% of the global land area, they are large consumers of ecosystem services and are typically sites of tremendous concentrations of energy use, water use, materials, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants. At the same time, our cities are also places of concentrations of wealth, power, and innovation.


How can we harness these converging and conflicting urban concentrations to chart a positive path towards a thriving future; a regenerative future? One where the built infrastructure, the designed spaces, and buildings themselves integrate with, repair, and contribute to living ecologies. This Special Issue challenges researchers to collaborate across disciplines, work together to investigate how cities could contribute to, and benefit, the socio-ecological system. Authors are asked to support papers with rich case studies, research on processes, approaches, and strategies that are being used in practice. This Special Issue is looking both for rigor and pragmatic experimentation, including lived application of tools, concepts, and examples of holistic sustainable development (including socio, cultural, political, and economic aspects), eco-cities, urban greenery, biophilia, biomimicry, and related strategies framed within a regenerative paradigm.


Dr. Dominique Hes

Dr. Maibritt Pedersen Zari

Guest Editors

Call for papers - biomimetic urbanism

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on July 17, 2019 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (5)


I have been asked to guest edit an edition of Biomimetics Journal entitled: ‘Biomimicry and Sustainable Urban Design’. ;

'Humanity faces an unprecedented convergence of ecological and climatic changes that are and will profoundly affect civilisation. At the same time, the growing human population is now mostly urbanised, and urbanisation rates are increasing, particularly in developing nations. Although cities occupy only approximately 3% of the global land area, it is well known that they are large consumers of ecosystem services. Cities are typically sites of tremendous concentrations of energy use, water use, materials, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants. It is clear that the way we build and live in our cities must change rapidly.

How can we create and remediate cities so they become complex self-regulating systems that produce and regenerate ecological and societal health? How can our cities and buildings be designed to evolve over time to become more, rather than less fit for place and purpose? How can cities become responsive ‘living’ entities that can become resilient even as context changes? This Special Issue investigates the potential of biomimicry, of emulating the processes and functions of the living world, from individual organisms through to whole living biomes, as a way to consider some of these questions.

This Special Issue aims to investigate how biomimicry can be applied at urban scales in the design of sustainable, resilient cities through the translation and practical application of biological and ecological knowledge, along with an understanding of human–nature relationships. We invite urban designers, planners, landscape architects, architects, and scientists to reimagine the most common human habitat, i.e., the city, by submitting stimulating, speculative, and forward-thinking original research, case studies, and articles that begin to forge a new way to understand, construct, and live in urban contexts.'

Deadline for submissions is December 31 2019.

Please pass on to other people you think might be interested.

Thanks very much,

Dr Maibritt Pedersen Zari

[email protected] 

Biophilic Map of Wellington

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on February 15, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (9)

Victoria University’s School of Architecture in partnership with Wellington Living Architecture and Wellington City Council are creating a Biophilic Map of Wellington City. Biophilia is the idea that humans are innately attracted to, and have better physical and psychological wellbeing when in contact with nature. There is some fascinating research and examples of this phenomenon both locally and around the world. Find out more about the ideas and design principles behind Biophilia.


Wellington is a member of the international ‘Biophilic Cities Register’, which means that the city strives to incorporate nature into the built environment by designing our cities with urban-nature connectivity in mind. This may be in the form of water features, green roofs, living walls, bollards that look like koru, buildings that work with nature and so on.


The aim of the Biophilic Map project is to make the idea of biophilia more tangible to the people of Wellington and visitors and to showcase Wellington internationally. By highlighting existing examples of biophilic design in the city we aim to inspire similar projects or initiatives to emerge and share what is happening here with other cities throughout the world.


The digital copy of the Biophilic Map of Wellington will be housed on an interactive online Story Map Journal. See Wellington’s Treasured Spaces map for an example of the kind of map we will produce. We are also planning to create a walkable print version, which will be available from various public information sites in Wellington.



We will be launching the Wellington City Biophilic Map at the end of 2016.


If you would like to be involved in future projects, and / or share your work and ideas, join Living Architecture Wellington or look up ‘Wellington Living Architecture’ or 'Regenerative Architecture and Urban Design' on facebook



Thanks very much for your support!


If you have any questions, please contact:



Dr Maibritt Pedersen Zari

Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture, School of Architecture, Victoria University

04 4636901 [email protected]


Or Rebeka Whale

Wellington Living Architecture

021 034 9629 [email protected]


A brief history of 'sustainability' presentation.

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 21, 2015 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

A brief history of 'sustainability' presentation. How do all these terms fit together? Who can you look up to learn more? Here is an introductory lecture I give about the ways we as humans have tried to relate to the rest of the living world over time...




Is increasing urban density the best way to go?

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 19, 2015 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Is increased density in our cities really always the best way to go? I have been hearing a lot about this on the news in relation to 'affordable housing'. This kind of development has various terms such as ‘walkable cities’, ‘new urbanism’, ‘brownfield development’, ‘infill’, ‘transit oriented developments’, ‘compact cities’, ‘smart growth’, ‘eco’-localisation’, ‘mixed use developments’, and ‘new localism’.

Advocating that simply increasing density in urban environments will solve environmental problems and mitigate the causes of climate change is controversial though. Preventing unbounded urban sprawl is up to three times more beneficial in terms of limiting the loss of stored carbon (as well as preventing conversion of agriculturally productive land), and may in some cases reduce transport related GHG emissions. Densification may however also increase stormwater flows and run-off caused by increased imperviousness (concreted areas); significantly increase the number of people living in potential flood zones; increase air pollution and urban noise; reduce options for building integrated renewable energy generation and increase energy demand of individual buildings through increased thermal and lighting loads; increase maximum urban temperatures; result potentially (but not in all cases) in conversion of urban green and garden space resulting in loss of biodiversity, carbon sequestration potential, ecosystem service provision, and urban food growing potential; and compete in some cases with ecosystem conservation efforts. It should not be assumed, as is often the case, that a policy of increasing density of urban environments is necessarily the best way forward, particularly if densification will exacerbate other environmental issues.

Tratalos et al. (2007) point out that: ‘The net ecological effect of moving towards high-density urban forms clearly depends on the balance of the benefits of reduced land take against the changes in ecosystem function of the higher density urban areas… We have shown that high-density urban developments were generally associated with poor environmental performance…[and] that ecosystem quality tends to decline continuously as urban density increases, although… for any given urban density, and with appropriate consideration given to the proportion and configuration of green space and tree cover, there is substantial scope for maximising ecological performance ’.

Understanding ecosystems for design

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The key distinction of architecture that is a true reflection of ecological understanding, is not found in creating an object (or building) that looks as though it has emerged from a living process, but instead is the creation of architecture that becomes a living process and system. It is crucial that designers understand both how ecosystems work and how to avoid shallow interpretations of natural processes. Ecosystems provide designers with examples of how life can function... effectively in a given site and climate and offer insights into how the built environment could function more like a system than as a set of individual unrelated object-like buildings. An understanding of ecosystems operating formatively in setting the initial goals and in establishing the performance standards by which the appropriateness of changes to the built environment are evaluated, may have the potential to create a significantly more sustainable and ultimately regenerative built environment.  

Biomimetic building to creating fresh water

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 14, 2015 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

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Biomimetic building to creating fresh water - Grimshaw Architects in collaboration with Charles Paton of Seawater Greenhouse have taken an understanding of the Namib desert beetle and proposed a unique desalinisation process that will form part of a large outdoor theatre called Teatro del Agua on the Canary Islands. The Teatro del Agua mimics aspects of the beetle by passing seawater over a series of evaporative grilles. As the sea breeze moves through these grilles, some of the water evaporates leaving salt behind. The moist air then continues until it hits pipes holding cool seawater, pumped up from the nearby ocean. As the warm moist air touches the cool pipes, condensation forms and clean fresh water trickles down the outside of the pipes and is collected. It is a bit like how when you take a cold bottle out of the fridge water drops form on the outside of it. The seawater pumps are powered by wind turbines using the same uni-directional sea breeze. The building is projected to be self-sufficient in water with surplus being transferred to neighbouring buildings and landscapes.

Net Zero and Net Positive Design - Special Issue BRI

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 13, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The Building Research & Information journal has published a special issue on Net Zero and Net Positive Design: I look forward to reading some of these papers.

Here is part of the editorial:

'The past 20 years have witnessed a remarkable range of voluntary and regulatory efforts to improve the environmental performance of buildings. Voluntarybuilding environmental assessment methods are now firmly rooted in the culture of building practice and marketplace expectations. Performance requirements within such approaches have been gradually refined with successive versions, guided by greater understanding and shifting priorities of environmental issues and the practical experience gained in making assessments and certifications. Building energy regulations have also changed significantly. Whereas they have historically been directed at ensuring minimum performance requirements for buildings, the increasing declaration for net-zero energy performance in many jurisdictions represents a fundamental shift in that role – they are now directed at advancing performance beyond that currently practised. Moreover, whereas the building industry has historically been resistant to imposed requirements and has favoured voluntary mechanisms, there appears to be an increasing appetite for consistently applied demanding performance requirements. Indeed, the performance requirements in voluntary and mandated mechanisms have been converging over the past decade or so...'

Slide share

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 12, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I have discovered 'slideshare'. I have uploaded many of my conference presentations and posters there, so if you are reading any of my conference papers and want some visual aids... check it out:

Inspiration for a Monday

Posted by Maibritt Pedersen Zari on January 11, 2015 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Just for some inspiration..

Regeneration concept centred on Winery design for 310-hectare Vineyard and Golf Development Valle de Uco, Argentina by WaldoWorks