Biophilia or the renewal of the urban jungle

When we talk about the urban jungle, it’s rarely in a positive way. You immediately think of towers and concrete, as well as the law of the strongest that reigns in some places. But it seems that thanks to the biophilic design, this expression takes on its own meaning. Biophilic design is the term that groups together the activities of bringing buildings to life.

Its aim is to perpetuate the link between the individual and nature in our daily living and working spaces. As such, residents of large cities see many evocations of nature flourish around them in the buildings that surround them. The scopes of biophilia, and why we badly need them, are what we will try to see.

What is biophilic design?

Radically new approach, biophilic design is in tune with the times. That of saving the planet. Yet, like many other fields linked to sustainable development, it bears the seeds of certain ancient practices. There are now two main types of biophilic design.

The “natural analogies” that introduce nature into the human environment through non-living or indirect evocations. It involves reproducing patterns seen in nature, such as leaves or waves. Or to give impressions similar to the positive ones provided by nature, such as seeing a spacious horizon.

Biophilic design is also about introducing more natural materials into the design of buildings. Like visible wood in the room, or even trees planted in the exterior parts … We are mostly city dwellers, and it is proven that we lack nature. Its contact has a beneficial effect on our health.

Why we need biophilic design

The benefits of nature have long been used in buildings. In France, most supermarkets are equipped with a water cooler to create a climate of calm. In hospitals, biophilic design has long been part of the decor. It is proven to help reduce stress, pain and blood pressure while speeding up recovery times. In other contexts, it has been shown to boost mood, productivity, creativity, and focus, among other mental attributes. A 2019 American study even proved that a more vegetal urban environment reduces delinquency.

Favor the use of wood

To be a credible movement, biophilic design must be irreproachable in terms of its environmental footprint. “We don’t just think about health and well-being, and we need to choose materials that positively contribute to climate change,” says Stephen Richardson, European director of the World Green Building Council. This is why he advises a massive use of wood. An extensive and visible inclusion of wood evokes nature and creates all the benefits of biophilic design. But it is also a potentially carbon negative material. When a tree grows, it captures carbon dioxide from the air. This is then enclosed in the harvested building material for the life of the structure (which can last for decades or centuries).

More jungle in the literal sense is obviously less jungle in the figurative sense. The greenery calms the people around it. And our aggressive bad habits of city dwellers would be due in large part to a lack of contact with her. Biophilic design, a new breakthrough for greener buildings, seems to be timely to overcome this phenomenon. A greener future is also a more harmonious and peaceful future.