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By Akeem Brown, National Client Relationship Coordinator, Wellness Works Canada

Biophilla Definition: A hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature.

Humans evolved from the woods a millennia ago, but we still have that need for nature in our DNA. The world is rapidly urbanizing and those who bring nature to the city with them will reap all the benefits. Like a parfait cake, the natural environment is often layered. Trees on top, brush in the middle and plant life on the ground for example. As we grow into our new reality of the urban landscape, integrating a layer of the built environment with nature may be our best bet to reap the benefits of both worlds.

Every parfait cake is layered differently, and every built environment will have different opportunities for nature within it. Layers can be found on the outside of your environment as well, such as the walkway to your front door or exterior edges of the building. Noticing these layers as opportunities for nature integration is the first step to building nature into your surroundings. It is almost redundant to espouse the benefits of nature while at work, home or play but here are a few reasons to begin layering.

Vegetation Station

Mental health and wellness are trending topics these days for a host of reasons. Many processed remedies have been presented as aids to improve our mental health, but one constant has been present since the dawn of time: nature.

“Nature has the best medicine to cure human wounds” -Monisha Boopathi

Natural environments can be catalysts for physical activity, longevity and encourage socialization. All of which have great benefits to mental wellness. In fact, the strength of your social ties is among the strongest determinants of wellness.

Health benefits have been derived in studies about wood paneling interiors for the log cabin asthenic. Wood has been found to improve indoor air quality as a result of its hypoallergenic properties, reduced volatile organic substances, and better sound absorption.

Blue Wave

Nature does not only encompass vegetation, but water as well. Any flowing water or sound of water is associated with human’s strongest sensory response. Yes, running water in your built environment can heighten your senses.

In Summary

Our new built environments in the urban arena must be informed and influenced by our innate need to be connected to with nature. It is hard to build nature, but it is simple and wise to plant it. Plant it in your new spaces, layer it so you can reap all the benefits it provides. A plant, fountain or even sound of nature can bring us a strong awareness of the circle of life, a circle we all traverse.

Best Practices

  • Assess your environments on all levels for pockets where nature could fit

  • Have nature sounds playing softly in the background – birds, running water, wind ruffling leaves

  • Start small with plants and flowers

About the Author

Akeem is a proud Canadian who grew up understanding the paradox of health: the harder you work on your health, the harder you can work on everything else.

He played basketball and football growing up and remain active to this day. He has a close group of friends while always looking to make new connections.

As he grew he understood how powerful sports and recreation was in his life so he decided to study it at the University of Alberta. He is now months away from receiving his bachelors. He is also a certified Workplace Health and Performance Ambassador (WHPA).

His interests include real estate, film making and art. He believes that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas and enjoys having conversations that have the potential to challenge his beliefs.



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