Stephen Kellert recently gave the keynote lecture at a symposium hosted by the Chicago Botanic Garden. During his talk, titled Biophilia, Biophilic Design, and Healing, Kellert described six biophilic design elements:
- Environmental features
- Natural shapes and forms
- Natural patterns and processes
- Light and space
- Place-based relationships
- Evolved human-nature relationships
The idea of biophilic design is that our (built) environment is critical to people's health, productivity, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being. Buildings and landscape can support human health or they can be detrimental. The so-called sustainability movement (embodied most prominently by LEED standards) is more concerned with how people (through our buildings and landscape) affect nature than how nature affects people. It'd be good to shift the emphasis of our development to how we can make our built environments better for human health.