Biophilia, a term popularized by conservationists and
environmentalists, describes the innate sense of connection
to nature and emotional affiliation with other living entities
that we have as human beings.
We need nature to be part of our lives and as more and more of
us are living in cities, that nature is no longer the countryside or
the mountain, there is no rural environment near so the nature
we need must be urban nature. Biophilic cities are cities that
incorporate nature in abundance into their design.
They are cities that care for, protect, rediscover and grow their
urban nature and that try to foster the daily and deep
connection with the natural world as an essential part of
a full, healthy and happy life. Biophilic design is a growing
practice and today we can find various examples of buildings
that try to integrate natural characteristics and qualities
as part of their integral design. We are becoming more aware
of the physical, psychological and emotional benefits that
nature provides us, its ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery
from illness or to enhance cognitive skills. We need biophilic
workplaces, healing gardens in health centers and green
spaces in our homes that provide us with sunlight, natural
ventilation, plants and greenery. And in cities, we need this
nature to be incorporated into our urban environment in
ways that go beyond the mere functional benefits provided
by trees, green roofs, wetlands for stormwater management
and for temperature control or air quality.
To achieve the integration of nature in our daily life biophilic
cities have to include some traits that define them:
Urban plans to bring nature closer to dwellers so that they
have green spaces or community gardens nearby.
Programs to raise awareness of the climate, flora and
fauna that define the ‘urban home’ and ‘on-site’
education with hiking, camping or volunteering activities
in natural areas. Connecting the different urban parks
through roads or trails to increase the options of being
and walking in the open air. Investing in ‘green’ social
infrastructure and biodiversity projects. With ‘green belts’
to bring green areas into cities or with areas declared
‘urban nature reserves’ biophilia is increasingly present
in our cities.