Nostalgic connection of Biophilic Design thoughts for homes and cities
Until very recently – on the scale of human history, human beings were constantly interacting with their natural environment. Biophilia is the idea that humans have an affinity with other living organisms and their natural world. This field of study is interested in the psychological need of our species to want to surround itself with forms and materials reminiscent of the living.
This term has appeared over time with the increasing rate of urbanization led to the total disconnection between humans and the natural environment. In 1965, German-American social psychologist Erich Fromm defined the term "biophilia" as "the love of life" or "living things". In the 1980s, American biologist Edward Wilson hypothesized a genetic need for humans to be in harmony with nature. Social ecology professor Stephen R. Kellert and a group of scholars took this idea and coined the term “biophilic design”: the notion of connection between human beings and nature within their built environment.
And these links are not new since they come from the time when we depended on nature for our survival, that is to say from our past as hunter-gatherers . Nature is therefore not an option but rather an essential feature of our life, a need rooted in us. However, many factors have contributed to moving us away from this nature. And this, even though it is now proven that it is a factor in well-being, healing, or even the creation of social ties. Putting nature at the heart of city design, planning and management is, therefore, an opportunity for people to rediscover their affinity with nature.
The massive migration to urban centers accompanied by the fact that we spend 90% of our time between four walls, where the air there is 5 times more polluted, everything contributes to making Biophilia an important concept for our health and our well-being within the built environment. The biophilic design draws on this science to nurture the connection between humans and nature through human-centered design. Thanks to biophilic principles, we can improve many of the spaces we occupy, live or work in, and thus improve our health and well-being.
Biophilic design and its benefits:
Objects and creations of the order of Biophilic Design make it possible to improve our living spaces using design choices that are better for the environment and our health. The World Health Organization (WHO) expects illnesses related to poor mental health and stress to be one of the most important contributors to illness in 2030. Research shows that even small – but daily interactions – with nature can reduce stress, blood pressure, and heart levels while increasing productivity, creativity , and rates of well-being. Additionally, exposure to greenery has been shown to boost our immune defenses against many diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and more. Biophilic objects and spaces also have the virtue of limiting the recirculation of fine and polluting particles in the air. Numerous studies have shown that an increase in Biophilic creations in the urban space can provide incredible benefits in the following environments :
Offices: improved productivity rates by 8%, well-being by 13%, and increased creativity while reducing absenteeism rates.
Hospitality: Guests are willing to pay up to 23% more for rooms that overlook nature or include biophilic elements.
Schools-Universities: increase in learning capacity by 20 to 25%, improvement in exam results, concentration levels, attendance rate, and reduction in the impact of behavioral disorders.
Healthcare facilities: decrease in postoperative recovery time by 8.5%, and reduction in the need for pain medication by 22%.
Shops: customers indicate that they are ready to pay 8 to 12% more for the same goods or services.
Residential areas: because of their calm and restful side, the crime rate drops by 7 to 8% in neighborhoods where there is access to nature, and the real estate value of properties increases between 4 and 5%.
Biophilic in urbanism and city planning:
Our desire for a healthier living has also led to an increase in the number of cities incorporating biophilic design elements. Architects, designers, and engineers, as well as property owners, focus on the health and well-being of residents. Thus, an entire industry is encouraged to build homes with biophilic features and incorporate as many natural elements as possible into major cities . One approach is to add plants to every available corner in town or on the facade of a building. These block out wind and city noise and in summer provide natural shade.
This concept helps us to create an environment that, despite the widespread industrial architecture, is closer to nature and has a positive effect on our lives. Seeing natural elements in big cities slows down the pace and promotes focus and concentration.
Urban gardening is another approach. People in densely populated areas have the opportunity to plant plantations and establish a connection with nature. These are, for example, empty plots in the city, neglected traffic islands, or small green corners at the bend of a district where flowers or vegetables are then grown . No limits are imposed on creative gardeners. Architecture and living concepts lay the foundations for nature to be closer to our lives and our work, even for city dwellers.
Many cities, including Portland, Oregon, and Singapore, have now declared themselves "biophilic cities", harnessing nature to make residents happier, wealthier, and healthier. In Singapore, developers must replace any lost green cover elsewhere in the proposed development, resulting in the widespread conversion of rooftops into aerial gardens. The movement is backed by those concerned about the mental health consequences of city dwellers' increasingly weak connection to nature, described by author Richard L ouv as "nature deficit disorder". Tim Beatley, a professor at the University of Virginia and founder of the Biophilic Cities movement, says greening urban environments can provide the natural context “ essential to leading happy, sustainable lives.”
Biophilic elements in interior design
Biophilic design standards also apply wonderfully to interior spaces and inspire you to create a place of relaxation right in your home. The best way to do this is to engage all five senses using the following.
As we are all becoming more aware of issues like climate change and air pollution, so too are governments. Biophilic Design has a big part to play in counteracting some of the negative impacts of human activity by re-introducing nature and its benefits into the urban environment. Everyone has a role to play, from interior designers and architects, to urban planners.
8- The Nature Fix — Florence Williams
9- Human Spaces | Human Spaces (interface.com)