Biophilia: “An Innate Emotional Affiliation with Nature”


Bill Browning, LEED AP, Terrapin / Bright Green LLC, Keith Bowers, ASLA, Biohabitats, and Carol Franklin, FASLA, Andropogon Associates covered developments in biophilic building and landscape design. Biophilia, as defined by the famed biologist E.O. Wilson, is “the innate emotional affiliation of human beings with other living organisms.” Some argue that biophilia is the result of “genetic memories.”

Browning said he first became interested in biophilia when examining case studies that showed that mail room workers became 6-16 percent more productive when they had access to sunlight. Another seminal 1984 study by Roger Ulrich found that patients recovering from surgery did much better viewing some trees and shrubs than those that just had a view of a brick wall. Additionally, those with views of nature took half the painkillers and made half as many nurses calls as the ones without the view. These results helped spur on the healing gardens movement, which has spread…

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