This paper presents an ecosystem biomimicry methodology for urban design called ecosystem service analysis. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by site specific ecology and climate of an urban area. This is important given the large negative environmental impact that most cities currently have on ecosystems. If cities can provide some of their own ecosystem services, pressure may be decreased on the surrounding ecosystems. This is crucial because healthier ecosystems enable humans to better adapt to the impacts that climate change is currently having on urban built environments and will continue to have in the future. A case study analyzing two ecosystem services (provision of energy and provision of water) for an existing urban environment (Wellington, New Zealand) is presented to demonstrate how the ecosystem services analysis concept can be applied to an existing urban context. The provision of energy in Wellington was found to be an example of an ecosystem service where humans could surpass the performance of pre-development ecosystem conditions. When analyzing the provision of water it was found that although total rainfall in the urban area is almost 200% higher than the water used in the city, if rainwater harvested from existing rooftops were to meet just the demands of domestic users, water use would need to be reduced by 20%. The paper concludes that although achieving ecological performance goals derived from ecosystem services analysis in urban areas is likely to be difficult, determining site and climate specific goals enable urban design professionals to know what a specific city should be aiming for if it is to move towards better sustainability outcomes.
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