With the closing of a difficult year and the onset of a new one we’re working diligently to make brighter, IAAC’s Valldaura Labs team is also looking forward to a brighter, more lively, more natural future for our cities in the longer term. Supported by the Europe Forest Institute and in collaboration with a number of organizations throughout Europe and beyond, Valldaura Labs has begun co-authoring the Green Book of Biocities, a seminal text which will define the new paradigm of Biocities and the key strategies to make them a reality.

By synthesizing inputs from stakeholders and all of the organizations involved – whose expertise span from sustainable forest management to agriculture, circular/bio-economics, health, ecology, nature-based solutions, social issues, architecture, urbanism and policy making – the ambition of the Green Book is to arrive at a consensus regarding the definition of Biocities which holistically incorporates all of these vital components.

We begin from the deceptively simple premise that Biocities are cities that follow the principles of natural systems to promote life.

Proceeding to the recognition that humans lived in harmony with nature for centuries prior to the industrial revolution and the widespread use of greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels; that the forms and functions of cities have historically evolved in direct response to the primary challenges faced by civilization during the era of their development; that cities now account for 75% of global greenhouse-gas emissions*; and that the human population is projected to increase by 2 billion majority urban individuals by 2050; we then acknowledge that a fundamental re-naturalization of the urban model is necessary both for existing cities and those destined to be built or expanded across the world if we’re to maintain any reasonable expectation of mitigating the most disastrous effects of global climate change.

The Green Book will be published in 2022, and will make clear how the technologies and knowledge available today can most effectively address these challenges, as well as which technologies and knowledge we must prioritize advancing.

In the meanwhile, anyone interested can learn about the qualities of Biocities and the strategies required to implement them by following the work of Valldaura Labs!


*UN Environment Programme

Image credits:

Passieg de Sant Joan – Escofet


Barcelona Green Roof – Ajuntamiento de Barcelona