Genius of place

What if we addressed local challenges with local solutions that have been tested and successfully used over eons by the local organisms, processes, and ecosystems (the “geniuses”) that also call this place home?

We, with generous support from the Bullitt Foundation, convened 45 designers, researchers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to brainstorm strategies employed by local geniuses to manage rainwater flow.

Result of the workshop: 30 novel ways to manage stormwater based on these lessons from nature.

Project objectives were to:

  • Catalyze the application of biomimicry in the Portland, Oregon area by developing a GofP study;

  • Inspire tangible, sustainable design applications;

  • Introduce 50-100 design and research professionals to biomimicry;

  • Develop a process to guide further development of GofP studies in Oregon and other regions;

  • Foster working collaborations among diverse partners; and

  • Build the Biomimicry Oregon network.

  • This is a pilot project that is part of a grander vision to:

  • Develop place-based data to improve the triple bottom line performance of projects;

  • Develop a databank of design principles abstracted from nature to inform local planning,

  • design, and policymaking; and

  • Integrate biomimetic strategies and learning into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

  • (STEM) and environmental education.

The purpose of this report is to tell the story of developing a Genius of Place (GofP) study for the northern Willamette Valley, where Portland, Oregon is located.

Download the Project Summary

Download the Workshop Breakout Group Ideas

Download the Process Report

Green Bomber Worms are another “local genius” that may inspire sustainable solutions: