Biophilia has become a popular buzz word among those living The Urban Lifestyle. The concept of bringing nature into our surrounding environment has many added benefits including the improvement of productivity and overall quality of life. Many cities are now embracing biophilia as part of urban planning in order to preserve natural surroundings and build up urban density in a more efficient way.
Biophilia refers to the innate connection between humans and nature. It describes this connection as a need for humans to be surrounded by nature in order to feel complete in their own natural state of being. More recently, biophilia has been used to describe the design elements of cities that carve out several areas for plants, living walls, gardens, waterfalls, and other natural aspects.
Biophilic cities are typically high-density urban population that exhibit a vast amount of natural elements and greenery in a deliberate attempt to make the metropolis natural and restore the area’s biodiversity. The use of rooftop gardens, hiking trails, trees, flowers, and wildlife all amount to the deep connection urbanites feel with nature leading to environmental awareness and responsibility.
Biophilic cities invest large amounts of money and resources to ensure that urban nature is protected and respected among all local residents. Nature programs and environmental initiatives are also typically implemented as part of the education process of biophilia.
Oslo the capital city of Norway is a leader in biophilic design and biodiversity conservation. With eight rivers running through the urban setting city planners have worked to preserve a large number of parks and green space. The city itself is surrounding by hills and forests so the urban density must be planned and accommodate carefully so as to maintain the natural setting. This is why it is referred to as a compact city.
Another example of a city that has decided not to continue sacrificing nature for urban expansion is Singapore. Though the city has grown rapidly in population, planners have done an excellent job of incorporation Park Connectors, protecting nature and wildlife, and designing landscaped gardens and nature reserves. They also offer their residents great community garden options as well as opportunities to install green roofs and walls. Singapore is also home to the high-tech vertical vegetable farm, Sky Greens which collaborates with students from the Science Centre Singapore.
Benefits of Biophilic Cities
A city boasting biophilic properties has a wealth of opportunity and benefits before them. By definition, humans need to feel connected to nature in order to perform optimally. This means that cities embracing biophilia design will no doubt have happier and more productive residents. They have a greater sense of community and value their health and the health of others sharing their urban space.
Placing an emphasis on environmental conservation teaches a younger generation the importance of nature appreciation and conservation. It also forces cities to get creative in ways that they can build up urban density while remaining conscious of the impact that city growth has on its ecological surroundings.
Biophilic cities can also expect to have a flourishing tourism industry as these urban areas are now elevated to world-class status. People will visit and relocate from all over the world to take in the beauty of nature preservation among high rises and street traffic. These cities also earn the respect of other internationally for limiting their resource consumption and for their innovative design capabilities.
Society is shifting back to wanting a balance between urban living and natural surroundings. The biophilic cities are leaders in this respect and are showing all of us what it takes to promote urban sustainability.[ted id=”jaime_lerner_sings_of_the_city” mode=”normal” align=”center”]
What do you think of biophilic cities? Do you live in one or have you visited any? Send us your pictures and stories! [email protected]
Feature Image: A view of Oslo, Norway taken from a rooftop terrace. Image courtesy Maria Borja.