Symbiotic Cities - city scape

Because most of us will be living in cities


Over the next 25 years, the world’s population will grow from 7 billion to 8 billion. New cities will emerge, existing cities will transform, and by 2035 sixty to seventy percent of the world’s population will live in cites. These cities will also face severe shocks and stresses generated by climate change, population growth and climate-induced migrations. Three important challenges now face planners, architects, engineers, urban ecologists and other city leaders as they plan for the future:

  1. Environmental Harm Reduction: How to plan for the growth and desification of cities while at the same time reducing the city’s negative impact on the ecosystems they are embedded in;
  2. Resilience and Climate Adaptation: How to develop and implement strategies for both adaptation, and increasing the resilience capacity of cities in the face of future shocks and stresses associated with increasing anthropogenic climate change; and,
  3. Regeneration and Symbiosis: How to regenerate repair the damage that has already been done to existing ecosystems and move towards a state of symbiosis with local and regional ecosystems.

This website is a network for exploring why becoming a regenerative symbiotic city must be the end-goal for all cities – a goal that requires the economic, political, technological and cultural behaviours of the city to all be engaged in creating and maintaining a regenerative symbiotic relationship with the city’s surrounding environment.



In July of 2012, a group of planners, architects, engineers, and designers convened as the Future Proofing Cities Working Group to begin exploring the concept of a Regenerative Symbiotic City. In 2014 the group reconvened and refined the definition. The group developed the following definition:

“A Symbiotic City has mutually beneficial relationships with its macro and micro ecosystems. It produces ecosystem services that are equal or greater than its net use of those services. The transition to a symbiotic city requires a cultural and economic recognition that we are embedded in and dependent upon our ecosystems. A symbiotic city enhances the natural environment, sustainable economic activity, and quality of life.”

(based on definition by Future Proofing Cities Working Group, July 2012)