Biophilic cities are healthy cities
Biophilia is the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature which is crucial for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, especially in cities. The past two decades have seen growing acceptance among policy makers, academics and practitioners of the importance of the bio-physical, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of ecosystem services for our towns and cities. Many benefits flow from nature to support people’s health, wellbeing and the local economy, but to what extent do we acknowledge and embrace these in the practice of urban design, development and governance?
For this special issue of Cities & Health, we ask . . .
In the face of increasing urbanization and demographic change, what is the potential value of nature-based solutions in helping us face the challenges of urban health and health inequity, climate change, and resource shortages?
As a principle, biophilic design embraces the intrinsic need for the places in which we live and work to be designed in such a way that they satisfy our deep and fundamental need to be connected to nature. In practice, biophilic design can also tackle the extrinsic and more functional ecosystem services agenda.
Whilst natural elements such as street trees, parks and green space have been features of cities for hundreds of years, the necessity for clean air, natural light, sunlight, natural materials and plants within buildings are also a prerequisite for health and wellbeing. The design of biophilic cities therefore operates at various scales – from city-regions, to the urban matrix and provision of green and blue infrastructures, down to individual buildings. This special issue will bring together contributions from different disciplines – urban planners, architects, landscape architects, ecologists and health and wellbeing professionals – in order to present a holistic and global view on the state-of-the art in the design of biophilic cities, and to identify common themes and highlight best practice.
As this field develops, we invite contributors:
- To identify and address key research and policy questions;
- To publish the latest empirical, methodological, conceptual and review papers;
- To disseminate leading practice from cities around the world; and
- To submit reflections and comment on the role of biophilic cities for population and planetary health
How to submit
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.