Deep Roots Initiative

We are pleased to publish the first public draft of our Biomimicry Chicago Deep Roots Initiative Key Concepts Summary! As our thinking has evolved and our network of contributors has expanded, we have continued to refine what it means to emulate ecosystem functions in the built environment and the potential this holds for a sustainable and resilient Chicago.

Check out our summary and email us to let us know what you think and/or if and how you'd like to be involved. Join us!

Learn more about our Deep Roots Initiative below


Connect. Learn. Create.

Biomimicry Chicago’s Deep Roots Initiative seeks to catalyze a paradigm shift in the built environment in the Chicago region. Together with a diverse network of stakeholders, we aim to establish a science-based definition of sustainability for our region alongside an interactive tool of place-based nature-inspired solutions to empower the industry to measure impact, allocate resources and innovate to create a truly sustainable and resilient future.


draw upon our deep ecological and cultural roots to (re)connect communities and their inhabitants with native ecologies and each other to create a shared vision


set audacious regional science-based goals for our built environment based on the performance of native ecosystems, and discover nature-based design principles to help bridge the gap


develop an interactive tool tailored to help stakeholders of the built environment hold a holistic perspective while exploring practical and innovative nature-inspired solutions

Learning from Nature: The Deep Roots Process

Our Deep Roots Initiative is guided by the knowledge that life has already figured out how to solve for the challenges we face, such as flooding, water shortages, access to food and strong communities. Most importantly for the Chicago region, our native ecosystems and species have figured out how to live sustainably and resiliently right here for millennia. Our process seeks to understand what makes those native systems and species successful, and how to practically apply lessons learned in our built environment to solve these challenges. 

To learn more about Biomimicry & the Built Environment, check out our list of related resources.

Next Steps

After our successful kickoff workshop, Biomimicry Chicago has developed an evolving process outline for implementing our initiative which includes the following next steps:

Stakeholder Engagement
Working Groups
Case Studies
tool development

Get involved

Key to the success of our Deep Roots Initiative is the guidance and participation by stakeholders in the Chicago region. For all stakeholders we will provide opportunities to learn and participate in our biomimicry practice and make new connections within our multi-disciplinary network of passionate professionals.

Contributors to our Deep Roots Initiative will have the opportunity to lead and/or participate in working groups, conduct biological research and translation (biomimicry!), generate design ideas and help us build our tools.

Visit our Get Involved page to learn more.