The Biomimetic Solar City: Solar derived urban form using a forest-growth inspired methodology

Martin, Craig orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0239-1298 (2007) The Biomimetic Solar City: Solar derived urban form using a forest-growth inspired methodology. In: PLEA2007 - The 24th Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, 22-24 November 2007, Singapore.

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The Northern European solar city, with its low solar altitude is an oxymoron; buildings close together shade each other. This is particularly true in winter where low sun angles cast long shadows. European cities contain other problems; their early development has left remnants of medieval street plans that have no inherent solar orientation. In England in particular, it seems very unlikely that there will ever be any large-scale urban re-planning of cities on solar principles. In light of
this, how will it be possible to develop the city so that each block gains maximum solar exposure, without unduly disadvantaging other blocks to do the same?

With initial reference to Ralph Knowles’ ‘Solar Envelope' and ‘Interstitium’, this paper creates and uses a mapping of city and forest, in order to develop new methodologies for growing a city using Sernander-type gap dynamics3. By recognizing the forest (and city) as an intensified, light stratified system, grown through a sequential process of ‘succession’ this study has identified a flexible sunlight and daylight strategy for the volumetric development of brownfield urban sites.

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