Biophilic Cities with Dr. Timothy Beatley

Biophilia was first introduced as a term in 1973 by Erich Fromm in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, which put forth that biophilia is “the passionate love of life and all this is alive.” The term was later used by legendary biologist E.O. Wilson in his 1984 work Biophilia, in which he proposed that humans tend to focus on and affiliate with nature and other life-forms because of a genetic basis.

Since then biophilia has been gaining in popularity amongst architects, designers, and even urban planners and sustainable city researches like Dr. Timothy Beatley, who is a prominent advocate of biophilic cities, with a book published by the same title.

What exactly is a biophilic city? It is a city that puts nature first in its design, planning, and management. It recognizes the essential need for daily human contact with nature as well as the many environmental and economic values provided by nature and natural systems.

Biophilic cities and green urbanism, a term Dr. Beatley coined, can be found around the world as cities are looking for ways to create more sustainable and livable urban environments for humans and wildlife. Dr. Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the last twenty-five years.

Much of Dr. Beatley’s work focuses on the subject of sustainable communities, and creative strategies by which cities and towns can fundamentally reduce their ecological footprints, while at the same time becoming more livable and equitable places.

Dr. Beatley believes that sustainable and resilient cities represent our best hope for addressing today’s environmental challenges. He is the author or co-author of more than fifteen books on these subjects, including Green Urbanism, Native to Nowhere, Blue Urbanism, and his latest, The Bird Friendly City.

To learn more about his work and to get inspired by the work cities are doing around the world to embrace biophilia and green urbanism, be sure to visit You can find films, articles, and other resources including a way in which your city can sign up to be a partner biophilic city.

This article was originally featured on Latitude Regenerative Real Estate’s Journal at



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Neal Collins

Neal Collins

Co-founder of Latitude — a company that helps transform people’s lives and communities by incorporating sustainability into real estate.