Planet Ark's new report; Wood - Nature Inspired Design
To coincide with World Wood Day 2017 Planet Ark has completed a new report - Wood - Nature Inspired Design - which outlines the importance of connecting buildings with the natural world and how with 'Nature Connected Design' (also called biophilic design) and using wood we can bring nature indoors and provide a healthier, happier environment for all.
Over recent years there has been an increasing recognition of the benefits that humans gain from contact with trees and nature. Modern society has changed its relationship with nature. In the space of a single generation children’s play has moved from outdoors to indoors, the iconic backyard has shrunk, parents have become increasingly anxious about children’s safety, working hours and stress levels have risen and technology (especially screens) has encroached into almost all areas of life.
Increasing urbanisation rates mean that people have less access to nature in their daily lives and Australians on average now spend over 90 per cent of their time indoors. This disconnect with nature and the outdoors corresponds with reports of increasing levels of obesity and nearly half of Australians experiencing a mental health condition within their lifetime.
As it is not always possible to increase our time spent outside, particularly in areas like workplaces, schools and hospitals, understanding how to incorporate the physiological and psychological benefits of nature into our indoor environments is an increasingly important area of research.
The health and happiness benefits associated with spending time outside in nature are well known and have been studied extensively by the scientific community and reported on by Planet Ark. This love of time in nature has been termed ‘biophilia’ and explains our innate need to connect with the natural world. This relationship can be extended into the built environment where we live, work, rest and play.
Multiple physiological and psychological benefits have been identified for wooden interiors, including:
These benefits are particularly important for environments where it is difficult to incorporate nature indoors, such as hospitals, where strict health and safety guidelines may prevent the presence of plants, and office environments where views from the window are of roads and neighbouring concrete buildings.
Responsibly sourced (and certified) timber has clear health and happiness benefits, as well as being a weapon in the struggle against climate change by both storing carbon and reducing carbon emissions.
Wood is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials used by humanity, but now more than ever it has a large part to play in the design and construction of healthy buildings for us to live, work, learn and recover in.
Exemplar projects incorporating nature connected design
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