Biophilia (meaning love of nature) focuses on human innate attraction to nature and natural processes. It suggests that we all have a genetic connection to the natural world that has been built through hundreds of thousands of years living in agrarian environments. It is a term that was popularized by the American biologist Edward O Wilson in the 1980s, when he observed how increasing urbanization rates led to a connection with the natural world. With high migration rates to urban environments in the developed world and high prices in developing countries, biophilia is increasingly important for our health and well-being in the built environment. Biophilic Design uses these ideas as principles to create a people-centered approach that, when used, enhances many of the spaces in which we live and work today, with several benefits to our health and well-being.
There have been numerous studies over the last 35 years on the benefits to the built environment through improving a connection to nature.
- Office design: productivity can be increased by 8%, rates of well-being up by 13%, increases in creativity, with reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
- Hospitality design: Guests willing to pay 23% more for rooms with views of Biophilic elements
- Education spaces: increased rates of learning 20-25%, improved test results, concentration levels and attendance, reduced impacts of ADHD
- Healthcare spaces: post-operative recovery times decreased by 8.5%, reduced pain medication by 22%
- Retail: the presence of vegetation & landscaping has been found to increase average rental rates on retail spaces with customers indicating they were willing to pay 8-12 % more for goods and services.
- Homes: can become more calming & restorative, with 7-8 % less crime attributed to areas with access to nature and can command an increase of 4-5% in property price.