Category: Biophilic design

The Economics of Biophilia: Workplace

In today’s society, sectors across industry are reaping the economic benefits of biophilic design. By examining five of these sectors—workplaces, healthcare, retail stores, schools, and communities—we can begin to understand the fiscal implications of biophilic design across the economy. The numbers and percentages presented reflect powerful evidence that design and planning strategies informed by nature can lead to positive impacts on human health, child development, community safety, and worker satisfaction. These effects translate directly to increased profits.

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The Spheres Blossom at Amazon’s Urban HQ in Seattle

The Spheres feature treehouse meeting rooms, river and waterfall features, paludariums, a four-story living wall, and epiphytic trees. They are home to more than 400 species spanning five continents and 50 countries, and many of the plants have journeyed from botanical gardens, tree nurseries, and conservation programs from around the globe. Many of the plants inside The Spheres are from cloud forest ecosystems, where plants thrive on mountainsides at an altitude ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 feet. Plants in these ecosystems have adapted to cooler temperatures, which makes their climate needs comfortable for people, too.

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The Economics of Biophilia: Introduction

This series argues in favor of biophilic design by examining scientific studies of nature’s effect on productivity and human health in a variety of built environments, and assigning economic values to these outcomes to promote the broad adoption of biophilic design. The aim of our research is to show the economic value in offering biophilic experiences, not just as a luxury, but as an economic driver. In order to understand the case for utilizing biophilic design, it is crucial to discuss how productivity, health, and wellbeing can be measured—ranging from reduced absenteeism to improved classroom outcomes—and translated into dollar savings. Our investigations into “human capital management” have provided the foundation to understand why society can no longer afford to ignore the value of nature. Our initial explorations of biophilic design in the workplace and hospitality have shown significant benefits, prompting us to further explore potential benefits to other industries and sectors of society.

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Biophilic Design: Creating Joy Through Design

Biophilic design is more than simply the inclusion of plants in the built environment. It takes into account every aspect of the design including lighting, flooring, window placement, air quality, art, access to the outdoors, and more. Aside from the psychological and physiological benefits that people experience when working, living, learning, and healing in spaces that connect us to nature, the positive effects on our psyche also translate into measurable positive effects on the bottom line.

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“Get Back to Nature.”

We know – through programs like the WELL Building Standard and others that address human health and wellness in the built environment – that humans have a built-in response to nature. Through factors that reach back to our origins as hunter-gatherers, the human response to exposure to nature results in a number of benefits that reinforce human health, wellness and performance.

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Most read in May 2018

Sound Transit recently broke ground on its new Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) East, which will service and house light rail vehicles for the growing fleet in the Puget Sound area. Courtesy of Stantec

Sound Transit recently broke ground on its new Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) East, which will service and house light rail vehicles for the growing fleet in the Puget Sound area. Courtesy of Stantec

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