Sustainability Assessment of the Anthropogenic System in Panama City: Application of Biomimetic Strategies towards Regenerative Cities
- The first approach attempts to identify a human design need or problem and then proceeds to look at nature and investigate how certain organisms and ecosystems resolve conflicts; this is known as a top-down or problem-based approach.
- The second starts with identifying a particular characteristic, behavior, or function belonging to an organism and ecosystem and then investigates different ways of imitating it and adapting it to new designs and products; this is the bottom-up or solution-based approach .
- Nutrient Cycle: This can be added to cities through food and material imports and lost through exports. It attacks the inability to recover and reuse materials through processes, such as dumping and sewage being discharged to oceans or other regions.
- Habitat Provision: Allows shelter and protection of organisms, providing access to nutritional needs. Such needs are relevant for both permanent and transient populations of organisms and are extremely important for maintaining biodiversity.
- Climate regulation: Regulates processes related to the chemical composition of the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect, the ozone layer, precipitation, air quality and temperature moderation and weather patterns. On a global scale, it encompasses the capacity of ecosystems to emit and absorb carbon and other compounds. In contrast, on a local scale, it considers vegetation to reduce temperatures in urban environments and remove pollutants from the air.
- Purification: Encompasses systems that keep air, water, and soil pure. Urban vegetation is an effective way to remove certain air pollutants, but it is not the only way. Some building materials and filtration systems, for example, can do a similar job and may be more suitable for integration into some types of construction, particularly in medium or high-density areas. Examples are porous metal-organic frame materials, titanium dioxide materials, air ionizers, particulate absorption filters, and other materials.
- Water supply: Includes the regulation of hydrological flows, as well as storage, purification, and water retention. As water is used for consumption for human and animal needs, it is used in large quantities for crop irrigation or other agricultural purposes and industrial processes. Some aspects directly related to the water supply service are water retention, volume management, the timing of runoff, flood control, and drinking water quality.
- Energy provision: The use of biomass and renewable energy is essential as an ecosystem service. Knowledge of energy use will serve as feedback, as an analysis of human behavior and the degradation it causes in ecosystems. However, attempting to replace lost ecosystem services artificially will increase energy, thus leading to further degradation of ecosystems .
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Baseline: Urban Metabolism of the City
2.2. Sustainability Assessment and Problem Definition
- Reducing the energy loss for air conditioning of spaces and increasing cooling efficiency by dissipating excess heat. This leads to identifying “heat regulation” as a challenge.
- Finding better ways to “produce energy” without generating emissions, focusing on organisms in nature that take advantage of solar radiation.
- Determine how nature performs its atmospheric decontamination; how it traps particles or reduces carbon in the air. Thus, this challenge will focus on purification and filtration.
- Exploring alternatives to the motorized mobility for reducing its emissions, focusing on the strategies of nature’s organisms to “transport” themselves while foraging and communicating with each other.
2.3. Biomimicry Abstraction: Search for Biological Analogies
- To elaborate and analyze the pinnacle’s strategies and principles.
- Analyzing, classifying, and abstracting those strategies.
- To combine the different strategies options and seek to integrate them to make a preliminary design concept.
- To evaluate and verify solutions in that design.
2.4. Characteristics of the Pinnacles
- Solar utilization for energy generation.
- Reduction of the exposed surface and use of shading for heat regulation.
- Reflectance to minimize irradiation.
- Improving adhesion for filtration.
- Compound decomposition and sequestration of CO2, VOCs and O2 production.
- Feedback and pathways in the design for mobility.
2.5. Solutions Based on Nature
- Shading: use of trees, roofs, and louvers.
- Pigments: trees, microalgae, and plants on green roofs and/or walls.
- CO2 reduction: filters, vegetation, green hydrogen.
- Solar utilization: photovoltaic panels and solar sheets.
- Routes or branches: sidewalks and green corridors.
- Morphology: applied to buildings, louvers, and sidewalks.
- Passive behavior: found in buildings, roofs, bus stops, and sidewalks.
- Dynamic behavior: found in green roofs, green corridors, microalgae filters, emissions sequestration, non-motorized mobility, and electric mobility.
3. Results Analysis
4.1. Evaluation of Proposed Approaches via SWOT Analysis
4.2. Experts Survey for the Evaluation of Regenerative Proposals
4.2.1. Information Regarding the Participants
4.2.2. Rating Questions and Answers
- The viability of the options by approach is correct when considering the barriers in the Panamanian context, such as environmental awareness, user demand for green alternatives, and governmental will and support.
- To rely on bills that consider sustainable projects, such as Executive Decree No. 205 of 28 December 2000, which considers the approval of the Urban Development Plan for the Metropolitan Areas of the Pacific and Atlantic; as well as Executive Decree No. 139 of 1 September 2000, which considers the approval of special rules to maintain the character of a garden city in the interoceanic region.
- To consider the implementation of the architectural designs used in the decade of the 1960s, where the wind direction and open designs that allowed air circulation was contemplated.
- Keep in mind that the effects of climate change are experienced disproportionately by people with lower incomes. So take actions in vulnerable areas to natural disasters, including not applying designs that benefit or improve the quality of life only for the upper class or the more affluent.
- Encouraging purification strategies can be achieved with the planning and use of natural adaptations: trees, green roofs/facades, green corridors and others, such as biofilters, titanium dioxide products, among others.
- Due to the heat island effect, it’s necessary to optimize the comfort of the inhabitants, considering the importance of trees in regulating the temperature of the soil and surrounding air. At the same time, the opportunities for heat regulation and energy savings presented by the application of biomimetic designs in buildings are recognized.
- The use of solar energy through photovoltaic systems was considered a vital pillar towards progress in the energy transition and distributed generation.
- The population must be aware of the impact of motorized transport and emissions caused by mobile sources for a modal shift that considers sustainable transport (bicycles, walking and electric alternatives).
- With the incorporation of greener infrastructure and solutions, government initiatives will be needed to create laws that encourage local photovoltaic systems, green roofs and facades, and other solutions in buildings; as well as e-mobility laws new projects for low-density transportation (bicycles, sidewalks).
- There is a need for collaboration with several professional bodies to ensure regulations to prevent the notorious pollution from the built environment.
- To achieve a regenerative city, fundamental changes and comprehensive strategies are needed in the form of long-term policies, rather than temporary compromises, as is the case for most political decision-making schemes in the country.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|Energy and CO2||CO2 emissions from per capita electricity consumption||Quantitative||284.93 kg/person||||25%||202.20 kg/average person||17.81||0.1781|
|Electricity consumption per unit of GDP or per capita||Quantitative||2226 kWh/person||||25%||<815 KWh/person||−43.28||0.00%|
|Qualitative||Official Gazette (Law 37 of 2013, 45 of 2004, 44 and 42 of 2011).||[4,17,65,66]||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|National Energy Plan 2015–2050|
|2nd Biennial Report|
|Climate Change Action Plan.||Qualitative||URRE Law||||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|National Energy Plan 2015–2050|
|2nd Biennial Report|
|Land use and|
|Green spaces per capita||Quantitative||8 m2/inhabitant||||25%||100 m2/hab||2.00||2.00%|
|Population density.||Quantitative||5867 hab/km2||||25%||<7000 hab/km2||20.95||20.95%|
|Qualitative||Sustainable Building Guide||||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|Sustainable Building Regulations|
|Land use policy.||Qualitative||National Land Management Policy||[61,68]||25%||0–3||1.00||8.33%|
|National Forestry Strategy, REDD|
|Forestry Incentives Law of 2017|
|Transportation||Length of the public transport network.||Quantitative||0.03 km/km2||||25%||>0.3 km/km2||−1.01||0.00%|
|Stock of cars and motorcycles.||Quantitative||0.22 vehicles/hab||||25%||0.3 vehicles/hab||14.00||14.00%|
|Urban public transport policy.||Qualitative||Comprehensive Sector Program||||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|Integral Urban Mobility Plan|
|Congestion reduction policy.||Qualitative||Integral Plan for the Improvement of Mobility and Road Safety||[69,70]||25%||0–3||1.00||8.33%|
|ATTT, MOP, MUPA|
|Waste||Proportion of waste|
collected and disposed properly.
|Waste generated per capita.||Quantitative||456.25 kg/hab/year||||25%||800 kg per person||10.74||10.74%|
|Waste collection and disposal|
|Qualitative||National Waste Management Plan 2027||[53,72,73]||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|Plan for Service Improvement (AAUD)|
|Panama City Municipal Integrated Waste Management Plan|
|Waste recycling and reuse policy.||Qualitative||Zero Waste Plan||||25%||0–3||2.00||16.67%|
|Cleaner Production Policy|
|Water||Per capita water consumption||Quantitative||274 L/person/day||||20%||Min: 60 lt/day||−43.98||0.00%|
|Max: 126.9 lt/day|
|Population with access to|
|Water quality policy.||Qualitative||National Water Security Plan 2015–2050||[74,75]||20%||0–3||3.00||20.00%|
|IDAAN Action Plan 2019–2024|
|Water sustainability policy.||Qualitative||National Water Security Plan2015–2050||[53,74,75,76,77]||20%||0–3||2.00||13.33%|
|Metropolitan Panama Action Plan|
|IDAAN Action Plan 2019–2024|
|Government Strategic Plan 2020–2024|
|Sanitation||Population with access to improved sanitation.||Quantitative||68%||||33%||93.70%||23.95||23.95%|
|Proportion of wastewater treated.||Quantitative||31%||||33%||Min: 10%||7.70||7.70%|
|Sanitation policy.||Qualitative||Metropolitan Panama Action Plan||[53,78]||33%||0–3||3.00||33.00%|
|Panama Sanitation Program|
|Air quality||Nitrogen dioxide concentration|
|Quantitative||36 μg/m3 per day||||25%||≤20 μg/Nm3 per day||−20.00||0.00%|
|Sulfur dioxide concentration levels.||Quantitative||-||-||25%||-||0.00||0.00%|
|Concentration levels of suspended|
|Quantitative||49 μg/m3 per day||||25%||≤20 μg/Nm3 per day||−24.00||0.00%|
|Clean air policy.||Qualitative||Executive Decree No. 5 of|
4 February 2009.
|Executive Decree No. 38 of|
3rd June 2009.
|Panama Metropolitan Action Plan|
|Qualitative||National Institute of Statistics|
|The National Climate Change|
|Municipality of Panama|
|Committee Against Climate Change|
|2nd Biennial Report|
|1st Nationally Determined|
|Qualitative||National Institute of Statistics and Census||[15,18,50,81]||33%||0–3||3.00||33.00%|
|National Climate Change Strategy|
|Water Quality Monitoring (MiAmbiente, Ministry of Health and IDAAN)|
|Panama’s Urban and Household|
|Air Quality Monitoring by the ACP|
|Citizen participation.||Qualitative||Ministry of Environment||-||33%||0–3||2.00||22.00%|
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|No.||Category||Far below Average|
|Well above Average|
|1||Energy and CO2||51.14%|
|2||Land Use and Buildings||47.95%|
|Category||Far below Average|
|Well above Average (80–100%)|
|Energy and CO2|
|Land Use and|
|Fenestraria aurantiaca||It can collect, filter and distribute light to photosynthetically active cells on the side of its body walls.|||
|Photosyn-thesis||Plants use the chlorophyll pigment to absorb solar energy and donate electrons in the photosynthetic process, and to replace these electrons; they split the water molecule into hydrogen protons.|||
|Termite mound||In their mounds, they implement the variation of wall thickness, the orientation of protruding structures and the application of an efficient design with air ducts that are close to the surface.|||
|Elephant skin||The network of wrinkles on the surface of an elephant’s skin improves its thermoregulation by retaining water in the crevices along the skin.|||
|Trees and plants||Block sunlight and increase the surrounding humidity, resulting in a decrease in temperature, depending on characteristics, such as density, the thickness of foliage, leaf texture and clarity of color. Modulate the microclimate and sequester toxic compounds.|||
|Strelitzia||It can contain elastic energy when an external force is applied to it, obtaining a reversible and repetitive mechanism, which can cover the sun from various angles.|||
|Hydroxyl radical||Controls the exposure time of certain organic compounds. It decomposes into water and oxygen and leaves no residual oxidants after biochemical reactions. Eliminates 99.9% of pathogenic microorganisms, destroys pollutant gases and reduces suspended particulate matter and COVs.|||
|Saintpaulia||This plant has leaves that contain trichomes (tiny hairs) on their surface, thus trapping particles that can adhere to the leaf surface.|||
|Microalgae||It can capture light and use its energy to absorb CO2 and other inorganic nutrients into its biomass. As a result of photosynthesis, they produce oxygen. In addition, they possess the ability to produce sugars for their structure and plant oils.|||
|Physarum polyce-phalum||It can self-organize, spread out and form extensive and very efficient networks to find food sources. Moreover, it covers the shortest possible distances, making the best use of resources.|||
|Ants colony||When they find a food source, they return to their nest, leaving behind a small amount of pheromone along the way. When other ants find this compound, they follow the trail. If they find food, they will reinforce the trail with more pheromones until they return to the colony. Therefore, there will be positive feedback that leads all ants to follow a single path.|||
|Solution||Description||Application in Other Parts|
of the World
|Solar roofs||It consists of photovoltaic solar energy as a primary or secondary source for buildings. The aim is to adapt the roofs of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings to house solar panels or collectors in 20–30% of the available space.||In countries like Vietnam, rooftop solar is booming. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam saw rooftop solar installations increase from having 378 MW in 2019 to 9583 GW, or a 2.43% increase from 2019. It now exceeds 100,000 systems in total.|||
|Panels at bus stops and pedestrian walkways||Solar panels on bus stops as a reduction to the public grid energy system. The use of solar panels on pedestrian walkways in educational centers, government offices, shopping malls, parking lots, or public spaces, in general, is also being pursued.||They’ve been used as clean energy initiatives in China, Brazil, USA, India and more. For example, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur developed a successful 70m stretch of a pedestrian walkway with solar panels.|||
|Solar sheets||Use of solar sheets, this innovation consists of triple laminated amorphous silicon glass. It can be used in those buildings that do not have enough space on the rooftops to install photovoltaic systems.||An implementation of solar sheets is seen in The Instituto Canario Superior de Estudios in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. This building has a system of solar sheets on its façade, which function as windows.|||
|Flectofin blinds||Adaptation of blinds in buildings, based on nature (bird of paradise flower). It works without hinges and with 90° displacements. It performs adaptive shading, efficiently covering buildings from solar radiation.||A Thematic Pavilion, which had been exhibited at Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, was a kinematic façade that Soma architects designed. Individual kinematic fines have been applied in the façade for controlling daylight conditions.|||
|Trees||Considers the use of trees and shrubs to improve the microclimate of urban areas through trees with dense foliage and light green, thick, rough leaves. In addition, by having a cool temperature, they will provide greater comfort while protecting from direct solar radiation.||In Taipei, Taiwan, the effects of twelve tree species were studied in subtropical urban areas. The most effective were Ulmus parvifolia, Pterocarpu indicus and Ficus microcarpa. In addition, the importance of leaf color, foliage density, leaf thickness and leaf surface roughness were concluded.|||
|The roof uses biomimicry to emulate the leaves of trees. The roof was made of fractals with a small exposure area that allows for better temperature distribution on the surface, thus obtaining lower temperatures. It is proposed for use in places, such as terraces, arbors, social or recreational areas, among others.||The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo, Japan, built a fractal roof (Sierpinski forest) and compared the fractal prototype with a part of the roof made of PVC panels, concluding that the fractal surface had a much lower temperature.|||
|The use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel in the country due to its zero-emissions benefit. In addition, it’s expected to establish a hydrogen distribution hub in Panama, according to its geographical position and the opportunities brought by the Panama Canal.||Hydrogen refueling stations currently exist in countries, such as Japan, the United States and Germany. H2 Energy Applications (in) Valley Environments (for) Northern Netherlands abbreviated HEAVENN.|||
walls and roofs
|Implement green roofs/walls with native plants on buildings to cool the surrounding air through plant evapotranspiration. It converts any rooftop with more than 1300 square feet or at least 20% of the available space (for green or solar roofs) into green roofs. This would mean using natural barriers for CO2 reduction, divided into three types of roofs: intensive, semi-intensive and extensive.||In Cordoba, Argentina, a law was enacted in 2016, making it mandatory to convert any rooftop more significant than 1300 square feet, including new or existing, into green roofs.|||
|Purifying plants||Use of trees and plants that trap volatile organic compounds through the opening and closing of leaf pores. This will contribute to the reduction of toxic pollutants in the city’s atmosphere and improve air quality.||In many places, mention is made of different species that could work as the most effective for sequestering emissions, such as VOCs, formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide and trichloroethylene; these species are Spathiphyllum, areca palm, tiger tongue and Chlorophytum comosum.|||
|Implementation of microalgae-based biofilters in the busiest streets of the country, where traffic congestion levels are high and there is little space for planting large numbers of trees. Consideration is given to port areas where there are large logistical movements both at sea and land, industrial zones, etc.||There is the Biourban filter from Mexico. Its technicians assure that the models: BioUrban 2.0 and Bio Urban Industries, can supply the same amount of oxygen as 368 mature pine trees in a year, equivalent to the daily breathing of 2890 people. This filter has been incorporated in the Bus Terminal in Albrook Mall, in Panama City.|||
|Photocatalytic cement||Composed of titanium dioxide, it is a coating used in avenues or sidewalks of public spaces and buildings with a large surface area exposed to sunlight. These can include constructing residential buildings, schools, bridges, hospitals and even monuments, especially in places with high pollution/odors.||In Milan, a 7000 m2 road surface was built with photocatalytic cement, obtaining a 60% reduction in the concentration of nitrogen oxide (NOx) at street level.|||
|Walk to work, walk to school, walk to park||It involves strategies to mobilize citizens to their destinations, without vehicles (more emissions), by walking to their places of work, education, leisure or socio-cultural activities. Part of this strategy focuses on distributing these places in the city center, making less distance between the pedestrian’s home and its destination.||Lavasa Hill in India has a biomimetic design, which has land-use planning based on these concepts. Mobilization of residents through walking to their places of work, education, leisure or socio-cultural activities is implemented.|||
|Sidewalks||Implementation of adequately designed and constructed roadways or sidewalks with permeable pavement and adequate space for pedestrians. Adequate and user-friendly measures, including the service strip (road signs, street lighting, street furniture, vegetation, among others).||Studies carried out on sidewalks in Cuenca, Barcelona, and Prague, consider the importance of using materials to construct sidewalks that can produce friction (cobblestones or concrete).|||
|It serves as a connection in the green areas of the urban zone, connecting different points of the metropolitan area using vegetation through its extension.||In cities, such as New York, Mexico City, Madrid, and Seoul, these corridors have been implemented along with flowers, trees, shrubs, walking paths, and bicycle lanes, thus improving the area’s average temperature.|||
|It covers the use of electric vehicles, including recharging points in different country areas, i.e., those near parking lots of shopping malls, supermarkets, offices, hotels, universities, etc. It would also include discouraging internal combustion vehicles and raising awareness of decarbonization issues at the national level.||In Europe, for example, the advancement of e-mobility was foreseen with ABB, which is the main technology partner and supplier of IONITY, a joint venture between different groups, such as BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, whose goal was to operate a network of at least 400 fast charging points in 24 European countries by 2020.|||
|It involves creating a network of bikeway infrastructure, which aims for its realization in the city’s main roads and green areas. Its purpose is to serve as a connecting node to the rest of the city, which would increase the efficiency of mobility in the urban area in a sustainable and emission-free manner.||The countries with the most extended distances covered by cycling have been studied, determining this activity as the main form of urban mobility. It was concluded that the countries with the longest distances (600 km to 900 km) are: Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium. Furthermore, in Germany, between 1994 and 2017, distance cycled per capita increased by over 150 km, consistent with an increase of over 50%.|||
|Use of algorithms based on nature, focused on minimum use of resources and high efficiency, resulting helpful in the creation of future networks of the Panama Metro, by optimizing the city’s roads. Its use is considered in those logistic services existing in|
|In the cities of La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia, modeling work was carried out for the combinatorial optimization of transportation flow patterns by applying the ant colony algorithm and Dijkstra’s algorithm (minimum paths algorithm).|||
|Indicator Name||Brief Description||Input Variables and Their Respective Unit||Indicator Calculation Formula||Indicator Evaluation (IR):||Data Source|
|Habitat provision||It shows the calculation of the number of existing trees in the land area of the townships of Bella Vista, Betania, Calidonia, San Felipe, San Francisco and Santa Ana.||-Number of tree units (NUA): Unit||IPH = NUA |
|NUA = 22,334 trees||Municipality of Panama and National Institute of Statistics and Census .|
|-Total territorial surface (STT): km2||STT = 12.3 km2|
|-Habitat Provision Indicator (IPH): Trees/km2||IPH = 1815.77 trees/km2|
|Nutrient cycling||It shows the ratio of tons of recycled garbage (BR) to waste disposed of in landfills (BT) for the capital city.||-Recycled waste (BR): tons per year (ton/year)||IR = BR × 100 |
|BR= 11,700 ton/year||Urban and Household Cleaning Authority of Panama |
|-Total waste disposed of (BT): tons per year (ton/year)||BT= 583,576.60 ton/year|
|-Recycling indicator (IR): Percent (%)||IR = 2.00%|
|Climate regulation||Measurement of the amount of emissions absorbed (TCO2e) by hectares of forest without change of use (HB) of the metropolitan area under study.||-Hectares of forested area in the study site (HB): hectare||Iabs = tCO2e |
|CO2e = 948,863 tCO2e/year||IDOM, Municipality of Panama .|
|-Tons of CO2e absorbed per year (CO2e): tCO2e/year||HB = 178,850 ha|
|-Emission absorption indicator (Iabs): tons CO2e/hectare-year||Iabs= 5.31 tCO2e/hectare|
|Purification of air||Measuring the amount of green areas in the city of Panama (AV) over the total urban area (STU) excludes forests, mangroves, bodies of water, and agricultural land.||-Hectares of green areas in the city (AV): hectare||IP = AV × 100 STU+AV||AV = 360.60 ha||Panama City Hall, IDOM .|
|-Total hectares of the urban area (STU): hectare||STU = 36,928 ha|
|-Air purification indicator (IP): Percent (%)||IP = 0.97%|
|Provision of freshwater||It shows the amount of rainwater used in buildings in residential areas, economic centers, shopping centers, and other urbanizations.||-Precipitation in Panama City per year (PCP): L/m2||VT = PCP × AT||PCP = 1850.20 L/m2||Regional Water Resources Committee, Panama City Hall, IDOM [52,54].|
|-Hectares of residential and non-residential areas (AT): hectare||AT =271,584,000 m2|
|-Indicator of rainwater volume per year in the study area (VT): L/year||VT = 517,965 millions of liters|
|Provision of energy||Shows the calculation of the amount of renewable energy consumed compared to the total energy consumed in the province of Panama.||-Renewable energy consumed in the province of Panama (ERC): MWh||IER= ERC × 100 |
|ERC = 391,381.8 MWh||National Public Utilities Authority (ASEP) [55,56].|
|-Total energy consumed in the province of Panama (ETC): MWh||ETC = 3,266,682.7 MWh|
|-Renewable Energy Indicator (IER): Percent(%)||IER = 11.98%|
|Internal||Solar panels: No emissions. It makes use of the available space in buildings, residences, etc. The sun is a usable and unlimited source of energy.|
Panels with microalgae: Uses the sun and CO2 to produce biomass. Microalgae purify the air at a higher rate than trees .
Renewable hydrogen: Emission-free consumption and high calorific value, can be mixed with other gases, serves as electricity storage (green hydrogen). It can be obtained in different forms (blue, gray and green).
Sierpinski roof: It allows a better temperature distribution on the surface due to its fractals with a small exposure area; lower temperatures are obtained .
Flectofin louvers: Operates without hinges and with 90° displacements. It performs an adaptive shading, efficiently covering the buildings.
Green facades: It represents a natural barrier for the buildings against solar radiation and with the evapotranspiration of the leaves the surrounding temperature is reduced.
|Solar panels: Requires an initial investment, needs direct solar radiation and no permanent shade. They occupy considerable space.|
Panels with microalgae: Requires solar radiation and equipment suitable for transforming it into electricity .
Renewable hydrogen: Probability of leakage, volatile, needs a lot of logistical and storage care. Green requires high renewable energy generation and is expensive to produce (electrolysis).Sierpinski roof: Partially transmits sunlight .
Flectofin blinds: They do not have automatic control, so they would have to be adapted.
Green facades: Depending on the type of green roof, it can generate a lot of extra weight. Some types of green roofs or walls require maintenance, watering, and
|External||Solar panels: This would increase the distributed generation market in the region, contributing to the decarbonization of the energy matrix. Energy is in trend, so the cost decreases over time, making it more feasible. Therefore, energy savings are obtained.|
Microalgae panels: Can use the remaining biomass from the process to generate biogas.
Renewable hydrogen: Growing global market, Panama’s advantageous position in distribution.
Sierpinski roof: Can be adapted to limited sites for planting trees, including terraces, pergolas, social or recreational areas, among others.
Flectofin blinds: Studies and prototypes based on biomimicry are growing globally.
Green facades: Diminish the heat island effect in the urban environment and purify the air. They can reduce rainwater reaching the street level and its flooding.
|Solar panels: Buildings and trees generate shadows. Low performance in rainy or cloudy weather.|
Renewable hydrogen: There is no gas distribution network in the country. Lack of sufficient demand in industries.
Microalgae panels: Shadows may be cast by buildings adjacent to the installation. Technology under development.
Sierpinski roof: There is no record of its application in Panama. Designers and citizens do not know it.
Flectofin blinds: There is competition in the local market, where biomimicry is unimportant for users.
Green facades: Poor selection or maintenance of the species can lead to a deterioration of the roof or wall, in addition to dangers due to biological diseases and the climate present in the site.
|Internal||Trees: Minimize air and noise pollution, sequester harmful compounds for living beings.|
Green facades: Filter pollutants and heavy metals from rainwater, grow fruits, flowers, or vegetables, atmospheric filter pollutants, such as CO2 and act as an acoustic barrier.
Biourban microalgae filter: They can sequester up to 2 tons of CO2 per year and pollutants, such as CO and NOx. Their oxygen generation capacity is equivalent to that of hundreds of trees .
Photocatalytic concrete: Use of photons to neutralize organic and inorganic pollutants. It makes surfaces self-cleaning. Savings in maintenance costs due to their durable nature .
|Trees: They require maintenance and inventory of their phytosanitary status. In addition, some have to rot in the heart of the tree trunk .|
Biourban microalgae filter: The indoor model requires an investment due to its energy consumption. All models require maintenance every 3 to 6 months .
Photocatalytic concrete: For best performance, surfaces should preferably be exposed to direct sunlight .
|External||Trees: Plans have been presented that address their implementation in the city. There is a growing awareness among the population about tree planting and its benefits .|
Biourban microalgae filter: There are various models for different sites, such as industrial, indoor, outdoor and ashtrays. They can be installed on the main roads most susceptible to vehicular congestion in the city. Other places to be considered are port areas, logistics centers and industrial areas .
Photocatalytic concrete: The construction sector can adapt these technologies to trends, such as bridges, office or residential buildings, hospitals, monuments, schools and drainage structures .
|Trees: They can affect road infrastructure, power lines, buildings, and their roots can cause sidewalks or walls to rise. Lack of trees in some regions of the city .|
Biourban microalgae filter: In indoor locations, it is necessary to consider the space required due to their size. In addition, they can weigh from 120 kg to 1 ton .
Photocatalytic concrete: There are several products for conventional concrete that are manufactured locally. Cement plants in the region do not produce this type of cement.
|Internal||Citizen mobilization strategies (sidewalks, walk to work, routing algorithm, bicycle lanes): Greater efficiency in terms of citizen mobility. Properly constructed sidewalks promote walking and improve connectivity. Walking and bicycling will increase people’s physical fitness. They consider the frequency of use and the space needed for different people, including those with reduced mobility, blind people, etc. They provide safe walking with their materials and add permeability to the routes .|
Green corridors: Increase biodiversity, connect, and give continuity to green spaces. Can serve as a site for recreation and leisure, as they facilitate walking and cycling through bicycle paths. It reduces air pollution in cities .
E-mobility: Generates zero emissions, has lower noise levels, low maintenance due to fewer mechanical parts, and is lighter. The energy efficiency of the engine is higher than that of conventional combustion engines .
|Citizen mobilization strategies (sidewalks, walk to work, route algorithms, bicycle lanes): The user prioritizes his comfort due to the city’s changing weather, which prevents him from transitioning from his vehicle to walking.Not all people have the condition and motor capacity for long walks or frequent use of bicycles. The latter requires good care and maintenance .|
Green corridors: Constant maintenance, pruning, fertilization, and irrigation are needed to strengthen the ecosystems where insects, mammals, and birds have arrived. Diseases can appear in selected tree species.
E-mobility: Electric car technology is more expensive than a combustion engine car. Its autonomy is limited, serving only to move around the city and its surroundings. In addition, it requires a recharging point in the garage, where recharging can be slower .
|External||Citizen mobilization strategies (sidewalks, walk to work, route algorithms, bicycle lanes): They reduce the use of vehicles and optimize routes, i.e., they will contribute to fewer traffic jams, which will result in fewer polluting emissions. Permeable sidewalks minimize the frequency of flooding. Better sidewalks can accommodate more space for street furniture (stops, benches, trash cans) or necessary vegetation. Walking or bicycling would save on fuel use and encourage people to become aware of their emissions. Bicycles are trending worldwide, and cyclists are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases .|
Green corridors: They would allow an improvement of the urban synergy between nature and society. It can be used as a strategy to avoid heat island effects in small cities. It would take less time to walk between city squares and parks, thanks to the comfort it provides to pedestrians .
E-mobility: Panama is in the process of transition through the 2020–2030 energy plan. If implemented, incentives for the technology could increase in the trend, resulting in a considerable decrease in emissions .
|Citizen mobilization strategies (sidewalks, walk to work, routing algorithms, bicycle lanes): The design of the city structure still represents a challenge to implement more efficient routes in the metropolitan area. It’s not feasible to apply some or all of the strategies in certain parts of the city due to its distribution’s lack of initial planning.|
Priority is given to vehicular space, limiting the pedestrian area. Weather is an aspect that can influence walking and cycling strategies. Sidewalks’ condition (low friction/raised sidewalks) can result in pedestrian injuries, reduced walking performance, or accidents. Bicycling has a risk in cities with few bicycle lanes and a high flow of vehicles. Accidents can occur due to a lack of protective equipment, signaling, or irresponsible drivers .
Green corridors: It is challenging to implement green spaces due to the complexity of the original design of Panama City, where priority is given to vehicular spaces .
E-mobility: Public charging infrastructure is very low-Lack of current government incentives and trained technical professionals in the country. Due to its manufacture and the electricity consumption from conventional energy sources .
|Solutions||5||4||3||2||1||Possibility Score (1–5)||Rk (Rank)|
|Panels at bus stops/pedestrian walkways||38.46%||23.08%||15.38%||23.08%||7.69%||3.85||7|
|Green walls and roofs||38.46%||46.15%||15.38%||0.00%||0.00%||4.23||3|
|Walk to work, walk to school, walk to the park||30.77%||15.38%||30.77%||15.38%||7.69%||3.46||10|
|Low panel performance on rainy or shaded days.||4||7||1|
|Solar panels require a high initial investment.||7||3||3|
|Microalgae panels require equipment suitable for biomass-to-electricity conversion.||7||4||1|
|Renewable H2 production is very costly (electrolysis).||6||6||0|
|Hydrogen is volatile and has a high probability of leakage.||2||10||0|
|There is no gas distribution network in the country.||10||2||0|
|In the application of a Sierpinski roof and/or Flectofin louver, biomimicry is not so important yet for Panamanian users.||10||0||3|
|Trees require maintenance and inventory of their phytosanitary condition.||8||0||5|
|Trees can affect road infrastructure, power lines and cause sidewalks and walls to rise.||3||8||2|
|Lack of tree planting in areas of the city.||11||1||1|
|The Biourban filter requires an investment due to its energy consumption.||7||4||0|
|Filters require maintenance every 3 to 6 months.||6||5||1|
|Consider the space to implement the filter due to its size.||6||3||2|
|Photocatalytic concrete needs direct sunlight preferably.||3||4||5|
|Local cement plants do not produce this type of product (with titanium dioxide).||8||3||2|
|The user prioritizes his comfort when moving around.||7||2||3|
|The climate prevents the transition from using a vehicle to walking or cycling.||10||2||1|
|The current design of the city is inefficient.||9||4||0|
|Priority is given to vehicular space over pedestrian space.||10||3||0|
|Lack of land-use planning and urban distribution.||8||5||0|
|Sidewalks are in poor condition (raised, low friction).||8||5||0|
|The current signage of bicycle lanes, and the danger for possible accidents with cars.||7||5||1|
|Constant maintenance of green corridors.||11||1||1|
|Difficulty in implementing green spaces due to city design.||10||3||0|
|Technology for electric mobility is more expensive than traditional technology.||9||4||0|
|Limited autonomy (few electric charging points).||8||4||1|
|Requirement for government incentives.||10||1||2|
|Emissions still exist during electric charging if it comes from conventional sources.||6||4||3|
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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Quintero, A.; Zarzavilla, M.; Tejedor-Flores, N.; Mora, D.; Chen Austin, M. Sustainability Assessment of the Anthropogenic System in Panama City: Application of Biomimetic Strategies towards Regenerative Cities. Biomimetics 2021, 6, 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6040064
Quintero A, Zarzavilla M, Tejedor-Flores N, Mora D, Chen Austin M. Sustainability Assessment of the Anthropogenic System in Panama City: Application of Biomimetic Strategies towards Regenerative Cities. Biomimetics. 2021; 6(4):64. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6040064Chicago/Turabian Style
Quintero, Andrea, Marichell Zarzavilla, Nathalia Tejedor-Flores, Dafni Mora, and Miguel Chen Austin. 2021. "Sustainability Assessment of the Anthropogenic System in Panama City: Application of Biomimetic Strategies towards Regenerative Cities" Biomimetics 6, no. 4: 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6040064