The term “biophilia” is gaining a lot of attention since it’s been part of the WELL Building Standard following the footsteps of the Living Building Challenge. So, what is it? The innate tendency in human beings to focus on life and lifelike processes is biophilia. Can our understanding of the science of biophilic design help create healthier buildings? Is biophilic design a truly sustainable solution? Can biophilic design revitalize our prison facilities?

Biophilic Design: A Truly Sustainable Solution

Edward O. Wilson defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” How is biophilia different from biomimicry? While biomimicry focuses on emulating nature to discover sustainable solutions to design problems, biophilia focuses on improving human health and wellbeing through the incorporation of nature and natural forms and processes into the built environment. Join us as GBRI Senior Research Associate Lilli Fischer explores this topic in-depth.

Orange is the New Green: Biophilic Design for Prisons

There are 2.25 million men, women, and children behind bars in the United States. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with 693 inmates per 100,000 residents. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about a quarter of federal and state prison inmates and 35% of jail inmates who spent 30 or more days in solitary confinement had been, or were later diagnosed with severe psychological distress. Can biophilic design help our prisons and inmates? Join us as we explore this topic in-depth in this 2 part series.

Get Well Soon: Biophilic Design for Healthcare

Hospitals today often offer little or no access to nature, however, this wasn’t always the case. In ancient china, the sick would travel to remote natural areas where monks built temples in which they provided treatment and palliative care. Monasteries in Europe in the middle ages contained elaborate gardens designed to soothe the ill who came to the monks for medical care. Ayurveda, an ancient healing tradition of India which is still widely practiced today, views the mind and body as a unified system and takes a holistic approach to healing, believing that balance in the mind is essential for health in the body. What happened to modern hospitals? Can biophilic design revitalize and rejuvenate our healthcare facilities? Join us as we explore this topic in-depth in this 2 part series.

Getting Started with WELL Building Standard

I am doing WELL! Are You?

I am doing WELL! Are You - Part 2

Lilli Fisher

Lilli Fischer

I started out my career as an environmental educator at the Alice Ferguson Foundation. I took kids outside into the woods and down to the banks of the Potomac River, and together we discovered our place in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and saw many of plants and animals we share it with.

I moved to New York City to pursue a master’s of science in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt Institute, which I completed in December. Last summer took a position with Terrapin Bright Green working with the biophilic design team on case studies, blogs, and independent research.

I looked at several outstanding examples of biophilic design from New York City to Singapore and China. I investigated how biophilic design could improve the guest experience and dwell time in the hospitality industry, and blogged on the potential for biophilic design and biophilic rehabilitation programs to improve outcomes in the United States prison system.

Several months ago I met Jeslin Varghese, one of the founders of GBRI. We discussed my piece Prison, Nature, and Social Structure, which was published on Terrapin’s blog, and found we shared many ideas. By the end of our conversation, we had the nascent concepts for several courses one of which is the course you’re about to embark on. – Lilli Fisher

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