We did not coin the above phrase. It’s the title of a brilliant documentary about the relationship between the natural world and built environment; how deprivation of being around nature negatively affects us; how being around nature is beneficial to us; and reflecting on the often-barren urban environment how, “We designed ourselves into this predicament and we can design ourselves out of it with biophilic design.”

If you’re not an architect, landscape designer, facilities designer or sustainability consultant, the growing focus on biophilic design may have escaped your notice. But, we title our website blog “Things we think you should know” and this is one of them.

As a real estate developer, property owner, facilities manager, corporate real estate executive or consultant, the more you know about biophilic design, the more conductive you may be to assimilate its principles, thereby enhancing the work environment, adding to productivity and cost savings, and increasing the value of properties.

Wikipedia defines biophilic design as a “sustainable design strategy that incorporates reconnecting people with the natural environment.” Green buildings in and of themselves are not considered biophilic if they do not enhance the well-being, health, productivity and peace of mind of people who use them.

The concept of the Biophilia Hypothesis can get fairly complicated. Biophilic design is only one component, but the one currently generating the most buzz.

The latest U.S. Census figures say 81% of the population lives in cities and their suburbs where access to nature on a daily basis has been sacrificed to the built environment.

There are few places as soulless as a suburban strip mall. Reimagine one where there is living architecture – trees, vertical green walls, plants, flowers and water features. Now, instead of sensory deprivation, you have the beneficial effects of being in a much more humane, natural environment that entices you to linger

The documentary, “Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life” is a beautifully filmed and written journey where you will “encounter buildings that connect people and nature – hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive.” It’s a journey worth taking.

Log onto http://www.biophilicdesign.net. You can rent or buy the film; find references for relevant books; and, at very least, view the trailer.

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services