Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Committee Member

Lee-Anne Milburn, Chair

Second Committee Member

David Baird

Third Committee Member

Alfredo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Graduate Faculty Representative

Robert Futrell

Number of Pages



Current methods and processes that support the planning, design and construction of a sustainable built environment include ambiguous principles (Roseland 2000), lack feedback loops (Van Bueren and Jong 2007) and lack a common language between disciplines (Brandon et al 1997). As a result of 3.8 billion years of "research and development" (evolution), nature provides a set of design blueprints that may be used to guide us to create elegant, sustainable, and innovative designs for human technologies (Benyus 1997). The field of biomimicry analyzes nature's best ideas and adapts them for human use (Benyus 1997). The built environment could benefit from the integration of a discipline such as biomimicry into the design process.

One example within the built environment where the field of biomimicry might offer sustainable practices is that of human hydro-infrastructure, since many systems are approaching the end of their useful life (Mays 2002, AWWA 2001). Hydro-infrastructure includes the management of water systems in order to support human civilization. This thesis integrates the field of biomimicry into a design process model that supports the built environment. The design process model proposed in this paper allows a further distillation of components (functions) in order to seek organism strategies that accomplish the same function. These strategies are then translated into conceptual design options applicable to various scales within human hydro-infrastructure. Integrating biomimicry's "Life's Principles" into a built environment process model, will make biomimicry more accessible and thus more widely accepted throughout the industry, and the sustainability of all species will benefit.


Biomimicry; Las Vegas Valley (Nev.); Sustainability; Water-supply engineering


Architecture | Environmental Design | Environmental Sciences | Infrastructure | Sustainability | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Water Resource Management

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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