Possible Indicators for The Evaluation of The Performance of a Biophilic Urban Ecosystem


  • Didem Dizdaroğlu


Biophilic City, Biophilic Urbanism, Urban Ecosystem, Indicators, Policy-making


As a sustainable design strategy, biophilic design incorporates natural elements into the built environment aiming to create healthy living settings. Indicators are one of the strongest communication tools in design for the provision of a resilient and sustainable human-nature relationship. They support all stages of policy-making, from designing policy frameworks, setting goals and tracking progress, to improving communication between government bodies and other actors involved in the process. Within this context, indicators function as performance measuring tools in designing and planning of biophilic cities. Despite the well-known benefits of biophilic design to human health and well-being, very few cities are systematically implementing biophilic design applications due to lack of practice, technical knowledge, established standards and procedures. This research aims to identify a set of possible indicators for the monitoring of a biophilic city by evaluating the functioning of the components of its ecosystem and the effectiveness of urban policies. The proposed indicator set targets to demonstrate how effectively a biophilic city achieves its goals and objectives as well as constitute a ground for the transformation of cities into biophilic cities by supporting the improvements for proposals of future planning. These indicators represent an initial attempt to develop a self-assessment tool for the investigation of the success of targets and goals related to the creation of a biophilic urban ecosystem. Establishing performance targets for the assessment of progress and developing these even further to test the set of indicators in a pilot study can be considered as a future research direction.


Metrics Loading ...


Agouridis, C.T., Wesley, E.T., Sanderson, T.M. and Newton, B. L. (2015). Aquatic Macroinvertebrates: Biological Indicators of Stream Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources Publications, 175, available at: https://uknowledge.uky.edu/anr_reports/175 (accessed 19 September 2018).

Alberti, M. (2008). Advances in Urban Ecology: Integrating Humans and Ecological Processes in Urban Ecosystems, New York, NY: Springer.

Amado, M., Poggi, F. and Amado, A.R. (2016). Energy efficient city: A model for urban planning, Sustainable Cities and Society, 26, pp. 476-485.

Annerstedt van den Bosch, M., Mudu, P., Uscila, V., Barrdahl, M., Kulinkina, A., Staatsen, B., Swart, W., Kruize, H., Zurlyte, I. and Egorov, A.I. (2016). Development of an urban green space indicator and the public health rationale, Scandinavian journal of social medicine, 44, pp. 159-167.

Astleithner, F., Hamedinger, A., Holman, N. and Rydin, Y. (2004). Dimensions of housing and urban sustainability, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 19(1), pp. 7-24.

Barr S., Gilg A.W. and Ford N. (2005). The household energy gap: examining the divide between habitual- and purchase-related conservation behaviours, Energy Policy, 33, pp. 1425-1444.

Beatley, T. (2011). Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning, Island Press: Washington, DC, USA.

Beatley, T. (2016). Handbook of Biophilic City Planning and Design, Washington, DC: Island Press.

Beatley, T. and Newman, P. (2009). Green Urbanism Down Under: Learning from Sustainable Communities in Australia, Washington, DC: Island Press.

Beatley, T. and Newman, P. (2013). Biophilic Cities Are Sustainable, Resilient Cities,

Sustainability, 5, pp. 3328-3345.

Beatley, T., Jones, C. and Rainey, R. (Eds.) (2018). Healthy Environments, Healing Spaces: Practices and Directions in Health, Planning, and Design, Charlottesville, VA, The University of Virginia Press.

Beil, K. and Hanes, D. (2013). The influence of urban natural and built environments on physiological and psychological measures of stress-a pilot study, International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 10, pp. 1250‐1267.

Bell, S.L., Phoenix, C., Lovell, R. and Wheeler, B.W. (2014). Green space, health and wellbeing: making space for individual agency, Health & Place, 30, pp. 287‐292.

Bennett, G. and Wit, P. (2001). The development and application of ecological network: a review of proposals, plans and programmes, AIDEnvironment and IUCN, Amsterdam.

Benyus, J.M. (1997). Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature, New York: Morrow.

Berman, M.G., Jonides, J. and Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature, Psychological Science, 19(12), pp. 1207-1212.

Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP) (2011). Guidance for national biodiversity indicator development and use, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK, available at: https://www.bipindicators.net/system/resources/files/000/002/191/original/Fram ework_Brochure_UK_0311_LOWRES_%281%29.pdf?1481634262 (accessed 5

August 2018).

Birkeland, J.L. (2016). Net positive biophilic urbanism, Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 5(1), pp. 9-14.

Brown, R.E., Brain, J.D. and Wang, N. (1997) The avian respiratory system: a unique model for studies of respiratory toxicosis and for monitoring air quality, Environmental Health Perspectives, 105(2), pp. 188-200.

Browning, W.D., Ryan, C.O. and Clancy, J.O. (2014). 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design. New York: Terrapin Bright Green, LLC., available at: https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/14-Patterns- of-Biophilic-Design-Terrapin-2014p.pdf (accessed 23 December 2018).

Chen, X., Yang, H. and Lu, L. (2015). A comprehensive review on passive design approaches in green building rating tools, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 50, pp. 1425-1436.

De Coensel, B., Vanwetswinkel, S. and Botteldooren, D. (2011). Effects of natural sounds on the perception of road traffic noise, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129(4), pp. 148-153.

Dizdaroglu, D. (2016). Integrating urban ecosystem sustainability assessment into policy- making: insights from the Gold Coast City, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59, pp. 1982-2006.

Dizdaroglu, D. (2019). Measuring Residential Sustainability Performance: An Indexing Approach, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 22(1/2), pp. 1-23.

Doran, J.W. and Parkin, T.B. (1994). Defining and assessing soil quality. In: Doran, J.W., Coleman, D.C., Bezdicek, D.F. and Stewart, B.A. (Eds.), Defining Soil Quality for a Sustainable Environment. SSSA Special Publication: Soil Science Society of Amer Madison, Madison, WI, USA, pp. 3-21.

Downton, P.F. (2009). Ecopolis: architecture and cities for a changing climate. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing: Springer.

Elmqvist, T. (2013). Designing the Urban Soundscape, available at: https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2013/08/25/designing-the-urban- soundscape/ (accessed 6 August 2018).

Faber Taylor, A.F. and Kuo, F.E.M. (2011). Could exposure to everyday green spaces help treat ADHD? Evidence from children’s play settings, Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Bring, 3, pp. 281‐303.

Gabrielsen, P. and Bosch, P. (2003). Environmental Indicators: Typology and Use in Reporting, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen.

Galbrun, L. and Ali, T.T. (2013). Acoustical and perceptual assessment of water sounds and their use for road traffic noise, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133(1), pp. 227-237.

García-Olivares, A., Solé, J. and Osychenko, O. (2018). Transportation in a 100% renewable energy system, Energy Conversion and Management, 158, pp. 266–285.

Gidlöf-Gunnarsson, A. and Öhrström, E. (2007). Noise and well-being in urban residential environments: The potential role of perceived availability to nearby green areas, Landscape and Urban Planning, 83, pp. 115-126.

Gilg, A., Barr, S. and Ford, N. (2005). Green consumption or sustainable lifestyles?

Identifying the sustainable consumer, Futures, 37(6). pp. 481-504.

Gray, T. and Birrell, C. (2014). Are Biophilic-Designed Site Office Buildings Linked to Health Benefits and High Performing Occupants?, International journal of environmental research and public health, 2014, 11(12), pp. 12204-12222.

Grazuleviciene, R., Danileviciute, A., Dedele, A., Vencloviene, J., Andrusaityte, S., Uzdanaviciute, I. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. (2015). Surrounding greenness, proximity to city parks and pregnancy outcomes in Kaunas cohort study, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 218, pp. 358‐365.

Grinde, B. and Patil, G.G. (2009). Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?, International journal of environmental research and public health, 6, pp. 2332-2343.

Hao, Y., Kang, J. and Wörtche, H. (2016). Assessment of the masking effects of birdsong on the road traffic noise environment, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(2), pp. 978-987.

Hedblom, M., Knez, I., Ode Sang, A. and Gunnarsson, B. (2017) Evaluation of natural sounds in urban greenery: potential impact for urban nature preservation, Royal Society Open Science, 4: 170037.

Jeon, J.Y., Lee, P.J., You, J. and Kang, J. (2012). Acoustical characteristics of water sounds for soundscape enhancement in urban open spaces, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131(3), pp. 2101-2109.

Kellert, S.R., Heerwagen, J. and Mador, M. (2008). Biophilic design: The theory, science, and practice of bringing buildings to life, Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Mace, R.L., Hardie, G.J. and Place, J.P. (1996). Accessible Environments: Toward Universal Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

McDonald, B.S., Mullins, G.W. and Lewis, S. (1991). Macroinvertebrates as Indicators of Stream Health, The American Biology Teacher, 53(8), pp. 462-466.

Munier, N. (2005). Introduction to Sustainability: Road to a Better Future, Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Newman, P. and Jennings, I. (2008). Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices, Island Press: Washington, DC, USA.

Pauleit, S., Ambrose-Oji, B., Andersson, E., Anton, B., Buijs, A., Haase, D., Elands, B., Hansen, R., Kowarik, I., Kronenberg, J. et al. (2019). Advancing urban green infrastructure in Europe: Outcomes and reflections from the GREEN SURGE project, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 40, pp. 4–16.

Radsten-Ekman, M., Lunden, P. and Nilsson, M.E. (2015). Similarity and pleasantness assessments of water-fountain sounds recorded in urban public spaces, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(5), pp.3043-3052.

Sanderfoot, O.V. and Holloway, T. (2017). Air pollution impacts on avian species via inhalation exposure and associated outcomes, Environmental Research Letters, 12(8): 083002.

Sharma, R.C. and Rawat, J.S. (2009). Monitoring of aquatic macroinvertebrates as bioindicator for assessing the health of wetlands: A case study in the Central Himalayas, India, Ecological Indicators, 9, pp. 118-128.

Söderlund, J. and Newman, P. (2017). Improving Mental Health in Prisons Through Biophilic Design, Prison Journal, 97(6), pp. 750-772.

The Biophilic Cities Project, n.d. Partner Cities, available at: http://biophiliccities.org/partner-cities/ (accessed 22 August 2018).

WHO (2002) .Health in sustainable development planning: the role of indicators, Yasmin von Schirnding, Geneva: World Health Organization.

Wilson, E.O. (1993). Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic, In S. R. Kellert & E. O. Wilson (Eds.), The Biophilia Hypothesis (pp. 31-41). Washington, DC: Island Press.

Yigitcanlar, T., Dur, F. and Dizdaroglu, D. (2015). Towards prosperous sustainable cities: A multiscalar urban sustainability assessment approach, Habitat International, 45, pp. 36-46.




How to Cite

Dizdaroğlu, D. . (2020). Possible Indicators for The Evaluation of The Performance of a Biophilic Urban Ecosystem. ICONARCH International Congress of Architecture and Planning, (Iconarch -IV Proceeding Book), 281–301. Retrieved from https://iconarch.ktun.edu.tr/index.php/iconarch/article/view/253



SESSION 3A Theme: Resilience, Sustainability and Quality & Economy, Geography and Region