"Lilium Urbanus" envisions the city as a botanical, flowering from seed to sprout to village to metropolis. Its creators, Anca Risca and Joji Tsuruga, told Scientific American that their daily observation of urban growth in their home city of New York inspired the comparison:

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We embraced the idea of urban growth and saw it as something uncontrollable, having a mind of its own. Like a growing flower, a small town constructs larger buildings and becomes a flourishing city with skyscrapers for leaves, airport runways for petals, and airplanes for seeds. Our goal was to show that a city is like a living being, constantly growing, changing, and spreading.

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