Everything You Need to Know About Biophilia

What is Biophilia?

What are your thoughts on the term biophilia? Have you every walked past a a local farm and found yourself snapping photos on your mobile phone? Or had an insatiable itch to visit that botanical garden on the other side of town, even though you may not consider yourself very outdoors-y?

What exactly is biophilia? The theory of biophilia refers to our innate tendency to want to connect with other forms of life. This may be the push that drives you to trek across town to the gardens or offer to take a neighbor’s child to the zoo (we all know it was your idea!)

Biophilic environments can be anything that allows this to happen. It could be a living green wall in your office or landscaping that allows a person to connect with nature.

We all want to feel connected to our surrounding environment. But before you go sprinting into the woods, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about biophilia.

Wilson the Planters Chat Bot

Edward O. Wilson wrote a book called Biophilia in 1984, in fact we named our website chat bot after him.

Christopher Marley wrote a book of the same name, which The New York Times notes is an ode to humans’ affection with living things, ‘icky and otherwise.’

The term was first used by psychologist Erich Fromm in 1964. It has come to reflect a methodical approach to landscaping. Landscapers in Dubai have incorporated the approach for years through living green walls and other plant-based attractions. Here at Planters, we’re self-confessed addicts of the term. We’ve built a company around helping clients incorporate living walls in the UAE. In that way, you can consider us scholars of biophilia.

Biophilic Environments are a growing trend for landscape contractors in Dubai

It is important in major metropolitan areas that residents maintain a sense of connection with nature. This can be a challenge, which is why biophilic environments are being installed at more and more locations throughout the UAE.

This concept allows landscapers and contractors to incorporate natural elements in urban design, something that wasn’t pushed until the late twentieth century (outside of parks and other designated green spaces). A person may be inside a building, but they no longer have to be entirely separate from the natural world. Plant life can come to them in the form of living green walls and strategic decorative greenery.

Biophilic design is reshaping the places we live, work, and play

Increasingly, landscape contractors in the UAE are utilizing biophilic elements in their work. Living green walls can help a building increase its sustainability – plant life covering buildings can prevent extreme levels of heat from being absorbed by the building.

Office workers are found to be more productive and more content with their working environment than those in traditional settings. Natural light is increased in buildings with biophilic environments because the plants need the light in order to surive. This also helps the moods of those in the building.

The healing effect of the natural environment is harnessed by biophilic design – perhaps serving as the single greatest benefit. The closed-in effect of being trapped in an office or in a bland apartment is reduced with the addition of plant life and living walls, UAE residents can attest to this.

Biophilic Environments have significant psychological benefits

That’s right – it’s not just about appeal. Being closer to nature has a calming effect on the mind. Extended time in constructed environments wears on a person emotionally. Incorporating plant life into interior environments can relieve stress. It is also incredibly relaxing and helps a person feel more at home in a place.

Think about the last time you took a vacation to a faraway place, preferably not another major city. Did you feel more relaxed both during the trip and upon returning home? Being closer to nature may have played a major role in helping to ease that stress and tension. As we noted earlier, nature has a healing effect on humans, and biophilic environments allow for lasting results. Who doesn’t want to feel better and be happier, even when you’re not on vacation?

Moss wall from Planters

Entire cities are going biophilic

If you’ve ever been to Singapore, or even just perused photo collections of people who have, you may have noticed the large amounts of plant life incorporated throughout the city. Singapore is part of what is known as Biophilic Cities, a group of cities around the world working to “identify obstacles and impediments to achieving more biophilic cities, and to identify and document best practices in biophilic urban design and planning,” according to the group’s website.

Other cities involved are Austin, Texas, Birmingham, U.K., Victoria-Gasteiz, Spain, and more. But a city doesn’t have to be on the list to be making an impact. Landscape contractors in the UAE are helping structures across the UAE keep residents, employees, and guests more connected to the natural environment with living green walls and other plant life.

Looking forward

The best thing about biophilic environments is that they are proving to be much more than just another design trend. As more people realize their healing powers, and notice how much happier they are in their day-to-day life once they are closer to nature, establishments including businesses, airports, landscape contractors, and home designers will continue to incorporate more plant life into their projects.

We all benefit from this – and all it takes to get started is a bit of simple planning. Living green walls are a great place to start. Who knows – once you’ve experience living walls in the UAE, you may find the idea of a complete interior redesign of your home more appealing than ever!

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