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Biophilia- the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary and hence part of ultimate human nature” –E.O. Wilson
Urban spaces can often leave us longing for fresh air, green countryside and rolling hill views. Busy offices can leave us clock-watching and daydreaming of exotic holidays. But how can we lessen our longing and better our mindsets so we don’t detach ourselves from the wonders of the natural world completely?
Biophilic design could be the answer. The practice of bringing nature back to our everyday lives and spaces brings a more positive attitude to us at home, in the workplace and when we’re out and about.
We have become so inherently used to urbanised spaces, skyscrapers, and dull workspaces that we forget how life was before these concepts existed. Where we lived amongst nature, where we grew our own food and lived on it entirely, and where we didn’t call a trip to the countryside a “retreat”. Biophilic design aims to reconnect humankind with nature and sustain the relationship to improve mental and physical health, attitudes and aesthetics.
Find yourself in the middle of a city? Pollution, litter, a mass of queuing people all a bit too much? A calming green space could make all the difference to your mood and mental health.
Bringing the outside in to the workplace can have amazing effects on workers. The management theorist Maslow found that when studying the aesthetics of a workplace, the quality of design had a knock-on effect on workers, improving energy levels and positivity.
It is thought that a view of nature (water, trees, etc) could boost productivity no matter where you are. That could be in the workplace, at university, or even in the home. The human need to be near nature means that when we are, we feel calmer, more relaxed and ready to face the day’s challenges.
Let’s not ignore the obvious pro to biophilic design. Who doesn’t like a tall houseplant, a bouquet of handpicked flowers or a collection of cacti in their home? Especially in built-up areas, small touches can be great ways to feel like you aren’t a million miles away from nature (because let’s face it, we can’t all live by the sea). It’s not just greenery we’re talking about here though- high quality, hand-crafted timber planters and beautifully finished decking means that one of our latest projects in Salford was a roaring success.Residents can now feel close to nature slap bang in the middle of Manchester, and it’s all down to artificial turf, stylish planters and a bit of good old graft!
Not everyone’s dream is to move to a big city. It can be a loved one or a career move that means upping to the Big Smoke (or the Big Apple!). Having a green space in a city could make urban life more desirable to country bumpkins and rural residents.
Research shows that nature can aid recovery from illness, reduce stress, and even moderate the effects of ADHD and autism. This means hospitals, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges could benefit from greener spaces, too.
Research also suggests humans are more generous in natural environments, meaning the closer to nature shoppers are, the more likely they are to part with their cash!
This one is obvious but astoundingly important. A child brought up in an urban area is less likely to recognise different trees, plants and animals, or to know the difference between rivers and lakes. If there was more nature incorporated into their surroundings, this may not be the case.
The same goes for stressed-out university students, which is why we brought back the green for the students at Liverpool University with the all new Crown Place garden. Amongst impressive architecture now lies a beautiful green space where students and residents of this bustling city can chill out and have a think.