our projects

an overview of our projects we have worked on to date

genius of space

Langrug informal settlement water treatment and waste upcycling for restoration of the health of the community and the Berg River. One of the 110% Green initiatives of the Western Cape Government. A finalist in the European Green Tech Awards in 2015. BiomimicrySA is working together with John Todd Ecological Designs to design and implement the innovative solution to the wastewater challenge. The larger team also includes In/formal South, Isidima, Maluti Water, WaterLove Projects, Greenhouse Systems Development and CORC.  Find out more about this project here


durban urban planning resilience framework 

Developing a Resilience Framework to Inform Urban Planning and Design in the Northern Spatial Development Plan Area, eThekwini Municipality. A well adapted ecological urban system meets it’s functional needs within it’s context. Durban's context has shifted from one with plenty of available nutrients, energy and water to one with limits and boundaries that can no longer be ignored. Business-as-usual development can only happen within the context of abundant resources and supply of services. The context has shifted to one with significant constraints on energy, water and waste related services and on critical ecosystem services. Find out more about this project here.


plankenbrug river restorer

Through Wildlands Conservation Trust and funding from a German funding agency, we initiated a project for the design of a river restoration system for the Plankenbrug river in the Western Cape. We connected John Todd Ecological Design and Isidima to take this project forward from design to implementation of a prototype. The pilot project is currently under development. The Water Research Commission is funding postgraduate research related to this project. To find out more about this project contact jonny[a]isidima.net 


recreating urban abundance hout bay

Our team was involved in an Informal South project which involved a co-creative process to identify opportunities for restoring the health of Hout Bay in Cape Town with a focus on the disa river catchment area. We walked the Disa River catchment area together with local residents, scoped the critical challenges along the river. We identified opportunities for how nature's genius could inform the restoration of nature and the community. There are many opportunities for biomimicry in complex systems. The opportunities for this Hout Bay project are as diverse as biodiverse ecosystems themselves. In addition to these three levels of applying biomimicry, there are also three alternative options for biomimicry interventions for any design challenge: Biomimicry Technologies, Methodology and/or Thinking. This initial scoping review of opportunities is now part of a larger proposal for raising funds to implement some of the ideas generated. To find out more about this project contact shannon[a]informalsouth.co.za 


abuja city design

Biomimicry Principles Applied to Design of a New City in Nigeria. Design Challenge: How do we create an abundant and flourishing city in Abuja, that functions like a mature ecosystem by creating a circular metabolism, weblike food chains, a high diversity of species, adaptive decentralised infrastructure; focused on creating cooperative relationships and underpinned by good quality feedback loops of information? Our team participated in biomimicry processes for this concept design. The resulting concept design is a blueprint for designing cities that function like ecosystems and meet many of Biomimicry Life's Principles. Find out more about this project here.


biomimicry water treatment

This project is funded by the Water Research Commission and lead by Golder Associates with biomimicrySA providing the biomimicry expertise on the team. This project looks to exploit knowledge on how nature cleans water, to better engineer constructed wetlands to meet the challenges of current and emerging pollutants and pathogens. The core project team consists of engineers and scientists with experience in various sectors. The project began in April 2011 and continues into 2016. Aims of the project include: to review current knowledge of natural wetlands and natural water treatment processing, applying the biomimicry methodology to develop innovative concepts to design biomimetic water treatment systems. In addition the project provides funding for postgraduate research into biomimicry wastewater treatment concepts. The project currently funds 5 postgraduates - two at Wits University researching biomimicry options for acid mine drainage and two from the University of Stellenbosch researching critical wastewater treatment components of the Langrug informal settlement wastewater treatment systems. For more information contact claire[a]biomimicrysa.co.za 



biomimicry water tool

This project is part of the larger project listed above - funded by the Water Research Commission and lead by Golder Associates with biomimicrySA providing the biomimicry expertise on the team, and in collaboration with CPUT. This project looks to exploit knowledge on how nature cleans water. Solutions evolving from the biomimicry methodology can significantly contribute to wastewater treatment, managing stormwater runoff, mitigating effects of erosion and contaminated runoff, greening the community and improved health. The Biomimicry Water Tool that has been developed as part of this project is considered a useful tool that will be the future reference for Biomimicry research and development, including innovation for addressing challenges in the water sector in a sustainable manner. Consider the tool a kind of digital biomimicry textbook around the function of "how does nature purify water." The tool is arranged around the areas of interest to water treatment engineers, water managers, water researchers etc. For each example there is an explanation of potential innovation, the design principle, the original biology and references. Where applicable, existing biomimicry is also included. You can access the Water Tool through the WRC website through this link here


bioquest biomimicry discovery park

The BioQuest Biomimicry Discovery Park is a project initiated and run by Biowise. BiomimicrySA have provided initial design concept advice and we support the fundraising initiatives to make this project a reality. Members of our team also serve on the Board of BioWise. At one level the park aims to be an edutainment centre and tourism attraction – showcasing a new way of viewing and valuing nature through experiential activities, models, exhibitions and demonstrations on biomimicry.  At the same time the Park will provide highly relevant research and educational opportunities. Imagine a place of adventure, mystery and wonder, a place that takes you on an extraordinary journey of discovery where around every corner you are drawn further and further into the fascinating lives of plants, animals, fungae and microbes that reveal secrets to engineering, architecture, design, physics, chemistry and system’s functioning that are so beguilingly simple yet breathtakingly elegant as to leave one awe-struck.  This is the biomimicry discovery park.  A place where you are immersed in, re-connect with and discover nature from a whole fresh perspective, the perspective of learning from nature rather than learning about it.  BioWise is currently seeking funding and partnerships to undertake the full design and build of the Discovery Park. For more information contact:Susan Swain of BioWise: sue[a]biowise.org.za