What is Biophilic Design?

An in-depth look at the concept that’s radically influencing the Future of Urban Living

Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is a concept that aims to incorporate nature and natural elements into urban spaces. This design philosophy recognizes the importance of nature to human health and wellbeing and seeks to create environments that promote physical, mental, and emotional health. Biophilic design can take many forms, from incorporating natural light and views of nature to using natural materials like wood and stone.

Biophilic design has the potential to greatly impact urban development by creating healthier, more sustainable, and more livable cities. The incorporation of natural elements into urban design can help to mitigate the negative impacts of urbanization on the environment and human health.
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Cooling Cities

One of the primary ways that biophilic design can impact urban development is by promoting green spaces. Parks, gardens, and other natural areas can help to counteract the heat island effect, where cities become significantly warmer than surrounding areas due to the absorption of heat by buildings and pavement. Green spaces can also help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.
sustainable building practices

Sustainable Building Practices

In addition to promoting green spaces, biophilic design can also impact urban development by promoting sustainable building practices. For example, using natural materials like wood and stone in building construction can reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. Incorporating natural light and ventilation into building design can reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating and cooling systems, reducing energy consumption and costs.
well being, wellness, biophilia

Wellbeing and Mental Health

Biophilic design can also have a positive impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of urban residents. Exposure to natural elements like plants and sunlight has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mood. Incorporating natural elements into building design can create more welcoming and comfortable urban spaces, improving quality of life for residents.


Finally, biophilic design can impact urban development by promoting biodiversity. Cities can provide valuable habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species, and incorporating green spaces into urban design can help to support these populations. This can also have positive impacts on human health, as exposure to biodiversity has been linked to improved immune function and reduced rates of allergies and asthma.
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Components of Biophilic Design

The components of biophilic design can be divided into three main categories: nature in the space, natural analogues, and nature of the space. Below are some of the key components of biophilic design in each category:

Nature in the Space:
  • Living plants and greenery
  • Water features, such as fountains or aquariums
  • Natural materials, such as wood, stone, or bamboo
  • Natural light and views of the outdoors
  • Indoor gardens and living walls

    Natural Analogues:
  • Patterns and textures inspired by nature, such as leaf shapes or rock formations
  • Biomorphic shapes and forms, such as curves and spirals
  • Natural materials that mimic nature, such as carpets or wallpaper with leaf patterns

    Nature of the Space:
  • Natural ventilation and airflow, such as operable windows or skylights
  • Natural acoustics, such as the sound of water or birdsong
  • Natural aromas, such as essential oils or plant scents
  • Seasonal changes, such as the use of natural materials that change with the seasons

    These components can be combined in a variety of ways to create biophilic spaces that are tailored to the needs and preferences of the occupants. It is worth noting that not all biophilic design elements are created equal, and some may be more effective than others depending on the context and intended use of the space.

    Additionally, biophilic design is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and each space should be designed with the unique needs and goals of its occupants in mind.
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    Overall, biophilic design has the potential to greatly impact urban development by promoting sustainable building practices, improving air and water quality, and creating more livable and healthy cities. By incorporating natural elements into urban design, we can create more resilient, sustainable, and enjoyable urban spaces for both humans and the natural world.

    Incorporating biophilic design into indoor spaces can have numerous health benefits, from reducing stress levels to improving air quality. Living plants and preserved moss walls are both effective ways to incorporate natural elements into a space. Living plants bring the added benefit of requiring little maintenance, while preserved moss walls are a low-maintenance alternative that can be customized to match any design aesthetic. Whether used separately or in combination, these biophilic design elements can help create spaces that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
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