Informing healthy building design with biophilic urbanism design principles: a review and synthesis of current knowledge and research
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Links between human health and wellbeing, and contact with nature are well understood in the fields of health and psychology, and more recently are gaining attention in the built environment industry. In 1984, E.O. Wilson coined the term ‘biophilia’ to describe the tendency for humans to have an innately emotional response to other living organisms. A growing number of researchers around the world are now exploring the impact of nature in urban environments (i.e. biophilic urbanism) on the human condition, including many indicators of human physical and mental health, recovery and performance. There is also an emergence of research on the potential for biophilic urbanism to address other challenges related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This paper presents key findings from a review of key literature to date, discussing opportunities for biophilic urbanism to both improve occupant experience and performance, as well as addressing other sustainability objectives including climate change mitigation and adaptation. The paper presents an emerging framework for considering biophilic design opportunities and highlights implications for the built environment industry. This research draws on an Australian project considering biophilic urbanism in the response to climate change, within the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre. This includes findings from a literature review, a survey pilot study and two workshops undertaken in Perth and Brisbane with a variety of industry and government stakeholders.
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