Biophilia: Sustainability Meets Health & Well-Being

Places we naturally love turn out to be good for us!

We can now scientifically verify the physiological viability of our designs, by measuring pulse rate, blood pressure, heart rate variability (HRV), electro-dermal response, hormonal & adrenal response, brain wave activity, eye movements & muscle tension.

Biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology & neuroscience have begun to piece together how sensory perception activates different brain centers resulting in feelings of joy, curiosity, awe, safety or… fear, anxiety, depression, confusion and disorientation.

There are in fact distinct measurable neurological benefits of Delight! New technologies are beginning to prove how the spaces through which we move affect our moods, our emotional memory, how they can change the brain’s chemical & hormonal balance.

Project from author Helena van Vliet Architect LLC

New technologies are beginning to prove how the spaces through which we move affect our moods, our emotional memory, how they can change the brain’s chemical & hormonal balance.

Measurable Health Benefits of Biophilic Design

  • Stress reduction & muscle relaxation
  • Increased production of anticancer proteins
  • Higher levels of immune defending NK cells
  • Overall improved immune function
  • Cortisol reduction & overall hormonal balance
  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Lower pulse rate
  • Improved attention, concentration & cognitive function
  • Circadian balance
  • Decreased cell aging
  • Vitamin D metabolism
  • Objective & subjective reduction of pain
  • Faster recovery from illness
  • Improved emotional & mood regulation
  • Reduction in fatigue

Based on recent research, we can say that providing a multi-sensory experience for relaxation, discovery, safety, and ultimately joy in our built environment can lead us to a state of greater physiological health and neurological wellbeing.

Biophilic Design for Neurological Wellbeing

  • Design for circadian balance using day/night rhythm
  • Design for visual comfort using nature’s colors, light patterns & proportional harmonies
  • Design for touch using nature’s textures
  • Design for acoustic comfort using nature’s sounds, sound patterns & fresh moving water
  • Design for olfactory comfort using plants & specific natural aromatic oils
  • Design for fresh air through fluid indoor-outdoor connections
  • ‘Living Wall’ biofilter VOC purification of indoor air
  • Negative air-ionization of indoor air
  • Design with mid-range fractal patterns
  • Design incorporating elements of prospect, refuge & sanctuary

What if we redefined efficiency in place and building design as something that makes us demand physiological wellbeing at its very core?

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2 responses to “Biophilia: Sustainability Meets Health & Well-Being”

  1. do you have any guidelines to design or to measure health and well being?

  2. Hi Lilianny,
    Yes this page is a good resource for +Positive Spaces, Human Spaces report and a really good WELL building guide which should help with health and wellbeing

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