62 episodes

Welcome to our podcast series from the Journal of Biophilic Design, where we interview workplace consultants, futurists, interior designers, architects, urban planners and those working in healthcare, wellbeing and other industries to find out the latest on Biophilic Design. www.journalofbiophilicdesign.com

Journal of Biophilic Design Vanessa Champion, editor, Journal of Biophilic Design

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Welcome to our podcast series from the Journal of Biophilic Design, where we interview workplace consultants, futurists, interior designers, architects, urban planners and those working in healthcare, wellbeing and other industries to find out the latest on Biophilic Design. www.journalofbiophilicdesign.com

    Nature and Health in an Urban Setting

    Nature and Health in an Urban Setting

    There has been quite a bit written and discussed recently about the mental health benefits of getting out into nature especially in urban environments. COVID19 highlighted the relief that being outside in nature gave us. We speak with Dr. Melissa Marselle (see our previous conversation as well on Complex Patterns, Biodiversity and Nature Views”) on how nature especially in cities has helped us deal with stressors of the pandemic and the consequences of lockdown, how it has enabled us to meet other people safely, get out of our homes and also offer us the opportunity for physical activity. Melissa discusses over 40 years of research which consistently shows that a natural environment has beneficial and restorative effects on us.

    She shares with us what types and qualities of nature are best for the health and wellbeing of people and the planets looking at greenspace, water, planting and spaces that promote biodiversity and more. We have just entered the UN Decade of Rewilding (launched June 2021), where we hope to see more nature being brought into cities and biodiversity encouraged. Improving our urban environment with nature is so important now more than ever. With urban stressors such as noise, pollution, crowding, etc contributing to poor physical and mental health we need something to counteract the negative impacts on us, especially as it is predicted that there will be more than 5 billion people living in cities in the next five years and we are losing more nature as we build on greenbelt and agricultural land.

    Melissa makes a call for creating environments that are good for us, to have green and blue spaces within 100m of where we live. It’s been proven that having street trees within that distance for instance reduces the need to take anti-depressants. Having the beauty of nature around us encourages a sense of place, what is also referred to as “place identity”. In our previous interview we discussed the benefits of complex patterns, how biodiversity in an urban setting helps our wellbeing. In this podcast we chat about the awe and wonderment that nature inspires in us, which uplifts, brings joy and happiness to help us build the capabilities to help deal with life stressors.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have interconnected green spaces, encouraging active travel and physical activity, community spaces, and more including reducing city temperatures and creating urban farms for sustainability and further reduction in pollution. We are losing pollinators, our cities are getting hotter, bringing nature into cities has so many benefits. If we all pull together and share what we know with those who are deciding on how our future cities will look, from those who build them to those who will fund them (that’s mostly us the tax payer by the way…) then maybe our natural world will be there for use to help heal, inspire and flourish with us.

    • 31 min
    Architecture as a Catalyst for Life

    Architecture as a Catalyst for Life

    David Kirkland is an architect, designer and co-founder of Kirkland Fraser Moor. He is also a photographer and co-founder of d-lab, a creative design lab which pushes boundaries and is inspiring a new generation of architects and designers. We discuss biomimicry, primitive design, architectural education, the Eden Project, Para Homes and much more. This is also a call for a “flourishing”, over and above just “sustainability”.

    David talks about his early upbringing in a remote part of in Zimbabwe, exploring mud and experiencing nature, raw, first-hand which has informed how he looks at our relationship with our built environment. How, by stripping back to a primitive narrative, we get down to the foundation, we can get back to the stories which are elemental to being human. Regenerative design is central to his practice. Our built environment creates about 40% of our carbon emissions, and architects are at the forefront of helping solve this. His belief is that architects have a huge opportunity here, with head in the clouds but feet firmly on the ground, to think laterally to minimise this. For him, it is all about Life, with a capital L.

    This is also a call for more beauty, and awe in our world. A respect for our planet. We discuss his educational, home and other projects; how natural light, plants, greenery, views all have a positive impact on the health of the people living and working in the buildings they create.

    You might already be aware of the “Para” house concept? I wasn’t until he described what these are and how his architectural practice creates these iconic homes of the future. Listen to the podcast, but Para homes echo who we are, and are designed to be cultural assets for future generations to appreciate; they should also be exceptional.

    Having discussed principles behind the creative architectural process, we also look at how architects can use economic triggers, such as showing the benefits of local materials, to help create arguments for improved design. David touches on some of the themes expressed at Rio and expands this by speaking passionately about how, when we design a space, we need to look proactively at how what we build can improve the economy, society, ecology, justice and equity.

    To find out more about David Kirkland and follow his practice, look at https://www.k-f-m.com

    • 46 min
    Can Biophilic Design help Climate Change?

    Can Biophilic Design help Climate Change?

    Alexander Verbeek is Policy Director of the EDRC (the Environmental Development Resource Centre in Brussels), he is an environmentalist, public speaker, diplomat and former strategic policy advisor at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I came to know Alexander through his independent newsletter The Planet (published on Substack). We spoke during COP26, Alexander was also speaking at the conference, but with Biophilic Design being such an important solution in the built environment to some of the climate issues, I wanted to speak with Alexander to hear his thoughts on how the climate crisis is shaking the foundations of life on our planet across the world.

    So listen on, he sets the scene, starting with his early life camping in nature with his family, right through to his work on climate change as a spokesperson and diplomat. We also talk about COP26, and he discusses how climate change is impacting global security and that “there is no time to lose”, we need visionary leaders, more diplomats, and a system change.

    At 44mins we introduce Biophilic Design solutions in cities and how this can help. “I am fully behind what you do”, he says. He says that in a recent survey it was found that 10% of youth in the UK over the past year did not spend even a minute in nature. This is not hiking up mountains, but even in a city park. He calls for proper education programmes in schools where we should learn to understand and respect nature. He also says, when we build a home or a new neighbourhood, we should plant trees, these are the best carbon capture and storage that the world has ever designed. This should not be perceived as a luxury, but as essential. We discuss how trees in cities have enormous positive impact on our psychological welbeing but also how with climate change impacting our built environment so harshly, tress can help cities withstand the heatwaves. He also raises the fact that poorer neighbourhoods often have less trees, which of course impacts on so many aspects of the lives.

    Utrecht is a Biophilic City, Alexander describes how the city is greening. He also talks about the fabulous house designed by architect Cesar Manrique on Lanzarote, a volcanic islands, but which embraces and uses what nature has given him. He makes a very strong point, however, that Biophilic Design should not be just for rich houses, but that it should be incorporated in all houses. Design should include this synergy with nature, we should be closer to nature in our every day lives, so we are much more prepared to deal with the new demands on us in our rapidly changing climate. We will be seeing more extreme heatwaves, heavier downpours. We need environments to help sustain life.

    This is very much a wake up call for Biophilic Design solutions in our built environment to help deal with the climate crises.

    Follow Alexander’s newsletter on Substack, The Planet.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    A Dose of Nature and the new MASc

    A Dose of Nature and the new MASc

    From studying the fragile ecosystems supporting the threatened lives of gibbons, Professor Helen Chatterjee is combining that understanding of evolution and conservation, with her practice of raising awareness of the importance of sustainable green environments which can be used as “nature prescriptions” for us, especially if we live in inner cities.

    Access to quality spaces is vital to our mental and physical wellbeing. She shares with us her personal story, as well as an impassioned call for the need to try to encourage social prescribing of nature-based solutions from GPs and healthcare workers. Whether it’s a walk in the park, gardening, or other connections with nature, there is extensive evidence for the bio, psycho and social health benefits to us.

    Making life changes, behavioural changes sooner rather than later should be high on the agenda. Also she discusses the social predetermined health issues, some of which could be prevented if encouraged access to nature was given. Helping communities to use green space, providing access to nature spaces, whether that’s cycle routes, cheaper bus fares or creating pocket parks and green walkways for people to use should be considered when trying to plan for healthier communities.

    Professor Chatterjee is also the founder of a new MASc, the first of its kind in the world. If you are interested visit the course details at my alma mater, UCL on this link here https://www.ucl.ac.uk/arts-sciences/study/postgraduate-study . “The MASc in Creative Health will create a new generation of socially engaged scholars and practitioners to meet the needs of a changing health, social care and voluntary third sector, where personalised care, social prescribing, health equity and the patient experience are mainstreamed into public health. This programme is the first of its kind in the world, both in terms of the qualification (Masters in Arts & Sciences) and the academic field of study (Creative Health).”

    For more information on Helen’s practice see links on her UCL page https://www.ucl.ac.uk/arts-sciences/people/prof-helen-chatterjee

    Visit https://journalofbiophilicdesign.com for images.

    • 36 min
    Third Age Biophilic Design

    Third Age Biophilic Design

    How should care homes be designed? Should the places we spend the end of our lives be clinical and bland, or should they be places that are beautiful, inspiring and actually are something we look forward to going to. As Lori says in this interview, "you don't stop living just because you're in a care home, in fact you should start living better".

    Lori Pinkerton- Rolet is a force of good, she is director of Park Grove Design, which focuses on creating comfortable spaces for our third age. In fact she also has a podcast, which I recommend you look up, ThirdAge.design. In our podcast together here, we talk about the origin of the Care Home is still stuck in its original format, that of a "hospital", and she shares with us some thought-leader suggestions on how we can design better spaces to create homes that are better.

    Lori is also passionate about Biophilic Design, she is down-to-earth and practical but designs with such sensitivity and vision that I hope I end up in a home she has designed.

    Have a listen to see how we should be designing with the people in mind, how we should be thinking what lives that generation may have had, what were their life experiences, how should we improve the acoustics, how can we incorporate getting outside into nature, maybe participating in producing food for the kitchens, what about the colourways of the floor to support those with dementia, how we can create the feeling of contentment, can we incorporate scents, sounds, views to create an experiential sensory home to uplift and create beautiful inspiring places.

    You'll come away from this podcast, wondering why all Care Homes don't incorporate these design features.

    Lori also talks about her experiences in Japan and some of her designs including that with the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the Chelsea Pensioners, where she is incorporating echoes of the Chelsea Physic Garden into the design. One of her loudest wake up calls though is for the supply chain to talk to each other. There are many solutions we can find together if we communicate.

    Lori also is on the British Standards Committee for furniture fabrics, and is passionate about reducing the chemicals used in surface materials. I'm also in favour of that, because as we know, reduce the VOCs helps reduce health complications and also CO2 emissions. There are lots of more natural solutions that Biophilic Design encourages, so let's put our thinking heads, and our purse strings together and start creating Third Age Biophilically Designed Homes.

    For more information on Lori's practice please do visit her websites www.parkgrove.co.uk and www.thirdage.design.

    • 38 min
    Let there be Light...and Circadian Rhythms

    Let there be Light...and Circadian Rhythms

    How much do we love to be outside on a fresh bright day, clear blue sky, gentle breeze on our skin, fresh air in our lungs? Our whole body seems rejuvenated and reborn. Well, it's not just all in the mind, it is a physical reaction too. Living in harmony with nature and natural rhythms as we can, keeps us happy and healthy. Eloise Sok-Paupardin, occupant experience and sustainability lead for SageGlass, discusses how important natural light is, how views are essential to our wellbeing as well as regulation of temperature, and more.

    When we mess up the natural rhythms of the day by using too much of the same brightness and colour light for hours and hours a day, we mess up our internal body clock.

    Did you know that there are specific receptors in our eyes that process daylight to help regulate the internal "Master Clock" in our brain which tells or body that it is daytime and so therefore signals to it to move, wake up, etc and also that it is getting to night time, so slow down, relax, rest? These receptors in our eyes are known as the ipRGCs (intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells) react to light and are keys to helping the brain process the quality of light experienced.

    We need more natural light in our buildings to help prevent sickness and ill-health on many levels and in this podcast we discuss how we understand the benefits of daylight, as it allows the natural functions of our body to behave in the way they need to: for instance, in the production cycle of some hormones, like cortisol or melatonin.

    You probably know all about the importance of circadian rhythm in our bodies, and that we need to reset the clock by exposing ourselves to darkness and to light, but did you know also, that our core body temperature follows the circadian rhythm as well, its regulation is actually also conditioned by our exposure to light (and darkness) similar to the other circadian rhythms.

    Eloise demonstrates the new Sageglass technology, an intelligent glass that reacts to sunlight, and which can be manually and automatically activated to reduce glare, heat through the glass, vary the amount of sunlight, etc, while still maintaining views outside.

    With that in mind, we also talk about views, and the benefits of seeing blue sky, views of nature, how it evokes positive emotions, and echoes the early evolution of humankind, we evolved outdoors and we still have our preference for natural environments.

    This is a really interesting video and podcast, as Eloise stresses the need for everyone's "right to light" and how it is important to create beautiful and good design, but never at the price of the planet.

    To find out more about the technology of Sage Glass visit https://www.sageglass.com/eu

    • 42 min

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