Joe Clancy, current Masters student on the Landscape Architecture course here at the university, has now published 2 papers. The first is entitled 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design – Improving Health and Well-Being in the Built Environment and is available to view here. The second, published in the ARCHNET International Journal of Architectural Research is entitled Biophilic Design Patterns – Emerging Nature-Based Parameters for Health and Well-Being in the Built Environment – available to view here.
I’ve always had an interest in human behaviour and how the built and natural environment influences and vice versa. Through my studies in horticultural therapy back in 2009, I came across the biophilia hypothesis. The hypothesis states, that humanity has a deep seated, innate affinity or desire to connect to and experience natural environments and stimuli. Through my studies in landscape architecture, my self-led research introduced me to biophilic design, also known as restorative environmental design; a design ethic whose aim is to restore natural stimuli and experiences into the built environment.As I have always integrated biophilic design strategies into my university design projects, in one way or another, it made sense to focus my masters dissertation in the area of biophilic design. Following the completion of my post grad in landscape architecture at the University of Gloucestershire, I came across Terrapin Bright Green’s posting for an internship as a biophilic design researcher. I was accepted for the position, booked my flights and lived and worked in Manhattan, New York City for the summer of 2013.I co-authored ‘14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Improving Health and Well-Being in the Built Environment’ with Catie Ryan and Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green. The paper “articulates the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment so that we may experience the human benefits of biophilia in our design applications.” The paper also looks at the evolution of biophilic design in the built environment, design considerations for implementation and the science behind each pattern, why it works and how. A sample of this work was also published in MIT’s International Journal of Architectural Research.My work consisted of researching and collecting academic papers (across various disciplines), researching biophilic spaces and contextualising all this information into my report writing. Other duties included visiting public spaces, such as Paley Park and recording the biophilic patterns present in the space (not a bad job!).It was a fantastic experience, especially working for Bill Browning, a founding partner of Terrapin Bright Green and founding member of the US Green Building Council’s board of directors, and one of the world’s leading authorities on biophilic design and restorative environments. My role there has sparked my interest in the field of landscape research and has broadened my view of the role biophilia can play in people’s everyday lives. This is due to the steep learning curve and the broad scope and audience the paper has catered for, including: landscape architects, architects, interior architects, garden designers, environmental psychologists, planners, policy makers, local communities, neuroscientists and health professionals. This inter-disciplinary focus has also increased my appreciation for the need of greater co-operation between the built environment and health professions.I am forever grateful to Terrapin Bright Green for giving me the opportunity to work on this project and for all that they have taught me in the process. I know myself that this will not be my final involvement in the field of biophilic design literature. I hope to continue writing and raising the profile of biophilic design in the UK through my own work and research. With the promise of Garden Cities and Birmingham becoming the UK’s first ‘Biophilic City’, the future is looking ‘bright green’.PS. Many thanks to David Booth, Allan Mitchell and Bill Burford for all the advice and support in helping me make the decision to go!