Before There was Biophilic Design, There was Leonardo Da Vinci

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So, who is Leonardo Da Vinci? He is probably one of the most influential people of all time, leaving his footprint during the High Renaissance era. His major accomplishments included advances within the fine arts, architecture, the engineering of flying machines, military equipment, science, anatomy, botany, geology, and physics, as to name a few categories. 

For this particular article, let’s examine Leonardo’s inspiration behind the, “Ideal City.” Between 1484 and 1485, 50,000 people died in Milan of plague, killing off nearly a third of the city’s population. Due to this, Leonardo developed a keen interest in urban renewal and a desire to liberate people from the old fashioned, over-crowded medieval city where people were crammed together “like a herd of goats”. 

Leonardo proposed new solutions for cities, based on the concepts of natural geometric design, cleanliness, convenience, and the circulation of air and exposure to natural sunlight. The concept of Leonardo’s “ideal city” was derived from the Florentine architect/engineer Antonio Filarete, but Leonardo’s vision was more radical.

His “ideal city” would have two levels. The top level was for foot traffic, designed with wider streets. He also proposed a paddlewheel system to maintain cleaner streets. The second level was for carts, animals, and underground waterways for commerce traffic and to help remove garbage from the city.


Leonardo also wanted to limit the height of buildings as to allow the air and sunshine to circulate more freely throughout the city streets. To help with this concept, he proposed arched doorways and walkway designs around the buildings.


Leonardo was not very concerned with integrating natural landscape into his urban renewal and that is where Biophilic Design complements his vision for the ‘ideal city.’ 

Biophilic Design provides a strong focus on integrating Natural Landscapes, Ecosystems, natural colors, and images of nature into exterior and interior designs schemes. The more your learn about Leonardo’s “ideal city” and Biophilic Design Principles, the more you'll see how they parallel each other in fascinating ways. 


Did Leonardo’s evolutionary ideas ever come to fruition? No. 


Yet, today, they are with a modern twist. 



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Laura Cerrano is a second-generation Certified New York City Feng Shui Consultant Expert. As a full-time Feng Shui consultant, Laura provides bicoastal consultations and workshops for residential, commercial, real estate developments, Fortune 500 companies and healing faculties. In addition, Laura is a resident teacher at the Metropolitan Institute of Design in Syosset, NY. She has been featured in highly respected publications and TV networks such as Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," PBS, CBC Television, BBC Radio and The New York Times. 



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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Leonardo da Vinci will always be lauded as a genius.  He was an amazing creator.  A

Oct 10, 2018 09:58 AM #1
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Thank you for the lesson Laura Cerrano , I've always admired Leonardo (and you ).

Oct 10, 2018 10:24 AM #2
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Interesting, Laura.   Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the all-time great thinkers whose ideas have survived the ages.

Oct 13, 2018 04:56 AM #3
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

We are both big fans of Leonardo da Vinci....but I like the natural elements added with the biophilic design. His plan was lacking...sorry Leonardo. Our connection to Nature is so important, IMHO many ills are caused when there is a disconnect. Our souls need to feel that energy connection...

Oct 21, 2018 07:25 AM #4
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow Laura how did I miss this post, like Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  I am a huge fan of Leonardo too:))Endre

Oct 23, 2018 10:42 PM #5
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Laura, sorry I missed this the first go around.  I had no idea Leonardo had ideas about ideal city design.  Now I am going to have to do some research!  Thanks for pointing this out!!

Nov 11, 2018 06:45 PM #6
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