reconnect with nature indorrs

How We Can Reconnect With Nature Inside Built Environments

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Reconnecting with nature indoors

We are part of the natural world, and much of our well-being depend on our love of life and living systems. Our body’s circadian rhythm is greatly influenced by sunlight, while ions near bodies of water cleanse the air and relieve stress. In addition, natural environments renew us because they foster effortless reflection or soft fascinations, as opposed to directed attention needed to accomplish tasks. Ferns, romanesco cauliflowers and snowflakes have branching structures repeating at different scales, or fractals, and these compositions have inspired numerous cathedrals, temples and man-made patterns.

fractals in built environments

We are part of the natural world, and much of our well-being depend on our love of life and living systems

Sophia Calima

Inside a built environment, we can reconnect with mama nature through biophilic design. Sensory cues, biomorphic forms, and spatial configurations that occur in nature, all improve our health, healing, creativity, cognitive function and well-being. Plants are tangible reminders of nature indoors. They also improve happiness and productivity among occupants. In 1989, Dr. Wolverton of NASA conducted a series of controlled experiments that measured the capacity of common houseplants to remove trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene from indoor air (these three are common components of building materials, also found in carpet backing, fire-retardant fabrics, adhesives, household cleaning agents, paints, plastics, detergent, varnishes, inks, pressed wood products among others).

Inside sealed chambers, an activated carbon filter was attached to the plants. After a 24-hour period, english ivy Hedera helix removed 90% of formaldehyde in the air, gerber daisy Gerbera jamesonii reduced benzene concentration by 68%, and pot mum Chrysanthemum morifolium lowered trichloroethylene presence by 41%. Leaf surface area, exposure of the root-soil area to contaminated air, and presence of microbes enhanced the breakdown of the volatile organic chemicals. Although this famous study gave rise to numerous plant myths (as most people forget to mention that carbon fitments and closed vessels were used), nurturing plants is one of the many ways we can add vitality to a space, honor life and attract good karma into our lives.

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