Biophilia – The Urban Connect With Nature
By Gaurav Sawhney – President Sales and Marketing, Piramal Realty
India is urbanising at a rapid rate. As per reports, around 40% of India’s population will be living in urban areas by 2025. Couple this with the rapid mobilisation across the country and there seems to be an immense need to streamline everyday living for an urban consumer. As urban planners vociferously describe Indian cities as chaotic, stressed and complex, it is the responsibility of the designers and developers to redefine notions of urban living.
Psychological benefits of spending time in natural settings are huge. Probably the reason why many a people like savvy millennials want to disconnect and spend time around nature. Interestingly, people who live in areas with natural ambience have a much better physical and psychological health. Many of us are aware of the health benefits of exercise and a balanced diet but what about our buildings where we spend more that 80% of our lives?
Keeping this in mind, few developers are now designing projects that help residents associate and connect with nature. Harvard professor Edward O Wilson’s book, ‘Biophilia’, opines on how we share a genetic connection to nature. As a concept, it seeks to connect human life and nature by integrating natural elements of light and ventilation to create a harmonious environment.
For embracing Biophilia, we do not need to have a space full of foliage or murals of greenery. Having a space which reflects a calm atmosphere with basic elements such as natural and dual-aspect ventilation, natural lighting and unobstructed natural landscapes can make a world of difference. We are beginning to see designers trying something new by pushing the boundaries on sustainable design and building spaces that renew the mind and body of urban dwellers.
As a design this concept can be implemented at community or building level. If implemented in a right manner, it will trigger positive impact on our health. Below are some themes that designers and developers can look at when focusing on biophilic designs for urban consumers:
- Sustained Engagement: The design should focus on repeated engagement with nature and cannot be an isolated experience. For an actual benefit, it has to be over a long period of time. Lifetime views can enhance the psychological well-being!
- Design Interventions: The designs must connect with the overall setting of the space. An isolated plant or an out of context picture does not define biophilic living! It needs to be a part of the cultural ecosystem.
- Fostering Connections: The crux of the concept is its innate connect with nature and the relationship it hones between people and nature. Man has always been a social animal and their relationship matters within a spatial context. A perfect biophilic design will strengthen the connect between people and the environment.