Imagine your city as a forest, as a functioning ecosystem. Imagine nature at your doorstep, always.

Why does it matter that we connect with nature? What is biophilic design?

Biophilia has been described as our innate desire to connect with nature, a phenomenon rooted in neuroscience and psychology. It speaks to the human need to affiliate with life and life-like processes. Biophilic design, at the scale of a building or a city, integrates natural elements and nature-like qualities into the environment, thereby creating positive feelings and experiences in users, such as calmness and satisfaction.

We love nature. It makes us feel good. It heals and repairs our bodies and minds. Nature also provides ecosystem services to the city, services like cleaning the air and water that are critical to our survival.

FuturArc Prize 2018 asks you to investigate what is ‘nature’ when it is an integral part of a city. 

What would this urban nature look like? What happens when architecture, streets, water, greenery, biodiversity, come together in new ways, in new configurations? How would biophilic design alter the shape and functionality of our buildings and neighborhoods? What benefits would this eco-urbanism offer to the inhabitants of the city? What benefits would cities like this offer to ecology at the regional and planetary scale?


Select a 1x1 km site within your city.

Redesign it.

In the process, you should stay true to the character and functionality of what is on this site now. Do not alter the the number of inhabitants or visitors. Respect the type and pattern of activities and building programmes. You may argue that some or all of the buildings should be torn down.

Show what is possible when this 1x1 km is (re)created with biophilic intent. Show how it affects the form and shape of buildings and network of streets and parks. Show how the 1x1 km site affects the city as a whole.

Make a case for how an Asian city might become (like) a forest, one that connects inhabitants to nature, one that restores ecosystem services, in the process, creates a new kind of urban ecology.