Exposure to nature has never been more important than it is today. Between longer hours in the office and longer commute times, we’re spending more time than ever before indoors and away from the natural world.
What this means is we’re missing out on the essential psychological and physiological benefits that exposure to trees, fresh air, mountains, and bodies of water provide us with. But it’s not all doom and gloom thanks to the philosophy called “Biophilia” that is reshaping how we think about and interact with our environments.
Essentially, biophilia is changing the way we work, live, and operate within the built environment. As a species, we have divorced ourselves from our natural habitat: the open plains. Just as zoo animals and lab rats that are placed in sterile, unenriched environments show signs of physical and mental stress, so do humans when forced to work in lean, sterile, and unenriched homes.
We can reduce the negative impacts of sterile, lean homes and actually enhance our environments by integrating a variety of biophilic features such as green walls, plants, natural woods or stone, and more that mimic the natural world. These biophilic elements effectively create a positive response as if people were exposed to the natural stimuli in real life.
Core Features of Biophilia:
Scattered, clustered, varied vegetation
Blurring the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors
Dynamic and diffuse light
Proximity to water
Use of natural and local materials
Shelter and privacy
Benefits of Biophilic Design:
Increased mood and feeling of well-being
Reduced stress levels
Mental restoration & reduced fatigue
Biophilic design can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing; as the world population continues to urbanize, these qualities are ever more important. Given how quickly an experience of nature can elicit a restorative response, design that reconnects us with nature – biophilic design – is essential for providing people opportunities to live in healthy places and spaces with less stress and greater overall health and well-being.
So tell me, when is the last time you spent time in the nature around you? How did it make you feel?
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