A biophilic design seeks to connect human life and nature by integrating natural elements of light and ventilation to create a harmonious environment.

India is urbanising at a rapid rate. As per reports, around 40 percent of India’s population will be living in urban areas by 2025. The fast-paced urban sprawl coupled with the rapid mobilisation across the country stresses on the dire need of streamlining the 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 the notions of urban living.

The psychological benefits of spending time in natural settings are enormous. Probably it is for the same reason that many people like savvy millennials want to disconnect from the urban world and spend time in places surrounded by nature. Interestingly, people who live in areas with natural ambience have 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 than around 80 percent of our lives?

Taking note of the benefits of living with nature, few developers have come with the projects that help residents to 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, it is not essential to have a space full of foliage or murals of greenery. Having a space that reflects a calm atmosphere integrated essential elements such as natural and dual-aspect ventilation, natural lighting and unobstructed natural landscapes can also make a big difference in the lifestyle of the residents. Currently, there are several designers in the arcade who are developing sustainable designs and building spaces that renew the mind and body of urban dwellers.

As a design, the concept of ‘Biophilia’ can be easily implemented in a society or independent units.  If executed well, it will trigger a positive impact on our health.  Below are some themes that designers and developers can look at when focusing on biophilic settings for urban consumers:

  • Sustained Engagement: The design should mainly focus on repeated engagement with nature and avoid an isolated experience. For a real benefit, it has to over a long period. It is said that the biophilic experiences, if practiced for long, considerably 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 connection with nature and the relationship it hones between people. Man has always been a social animal, and their relationship with nature matters a lot. Therefore, an excellent biophilic design is essential for healthy and sustainable living.