Biophilic Designs for Community Housing

Biophilia is not a new concept. Humans have been staying amongst plants for ages. Houses in villages around the world still use plants as construction ingredients. Modern urban planning also includes biophilic design elements. The benefits of the biophilic design can’t be overemphasized. 

The biophilic design consists of both natural and artificial foliage products. And it’s not about standalone properties anymore. Community housing facilities are also looking at biophilia as an essential element of their design process.

Why Biophilic?

Humans have an innate sense of connection with nature. This has been the development over millennia. Even today, people living in the vicinity of nature display better psychological and physical health. Humans feel delighted in the presence of plants, water bodies, and natural lights. A design that caters to this sense of happiness is bound to find wide acceptance.

Talk of restorative spaces. Talk of healthy spaces. Talk of inspirational spaces. Biophilic design encompasses all this. Biophilia is all about a desire to connect to life. It’s a part of human biology. It eliminates the line between what is natural and what is artificial.

Embracing Biophilia in the Design Process

Be it individually or as a community, biophilic design is conducive to several essential elements. It is conducive to how we live. How we intermix with others. How we play and work. How we bounce back after any mishap. It is about having plants in the structure. And it is also about creating spaces that help people to stay calm and relaxed. To become energized. 

Biophilic design is about bringing ventilation and natural lighting to the workplace and residences. Getting the outside views to people staying indoors. Biophilic designers create a complex system of plants, water bodies, and also animal life. 

A completed biophilic-design unit appeals to all five senses. It can be something ornate like hanging gardens. Or it can be a simpler hanging greenery décor.

Community Housing – Incorporating Biophilia

The concept of biophilic architecture is established in many community housing projects. This architecture implies that the well-being and health of humans are connected with various aspects of the environment around them. This environment consists of accessibility to plant life, availability of natural light, surface types, and more. 

The need of the hour is to create community housing projects that ensure sustainability. Sustainability in terms of their environmental impact. Because these communities need to be responsive to climatic emergencies. This would help to create a stronger and more resilient community.

Over the years, many modern urban environments have been devoid of almost any access to nature. This decreases human resilience to psychological and other natural disturbances.

In view of increasing pollution, frequent climate changes, and pandemic situations, there is a need for environmental regeneration. This is necessary to protect human health and ensure welfare. The objective of forward-looking community housing developers is to minimize the human-environment impact. The neighborhoods and communities need to be made more secure. And biophilic designs for community housing show the way to do so.

Biophilia is critical to creating this human resilience. Thus, biophilic designs for community housing are about recognizing and incorporating biodiversity and natural resources. The community residents should instinctively feel attached to nature.

Inherently, humans connect to plant life. In a locality that is devoid of biophilic elements, humans tend to become unduly impatient and aggressive. This is an important aspect that community housing designers need to keep in mind. 

In this respect, it’s important to remember something. Biophilic-designed community housing doesn’t mean placing a mishmash of trees and plants here and there. It’s about creating symmetry with the kind of houses. With the topography and the landscape. And also the space available.

For example, in smaller units, a drop tile planter would be ideal. You can go for hanging halo planters or ceiling planters if the room’s height is on the higher side. In community gathering areas or halls, large tile planter boxes would be suitable. 

Biophilic Themes

You would need to refer to expert biophilic design option providers for selecting the right theme for the housing. It’s all about implementing the themes in the right manner. Then, it will have the right impact on the dwellers’ health. The following theme suggestions can help in this regard.

  • The engagement with nature has to be in a sustained manner. Isolated interactions don’t help. Only a long-term engagement would be fruitful.
  • The biophilic design should blend with the overall setting. It should not stick out like a sore thumb. Biophilic design is not about putting plants in community housing out of context. It is about developing an ecosystem where biophilia is part of the community’s culture.
  • Usage of more natural materials is crucial. E.g. artificial stones can never recreate the feel of real stones. Even though artificial plants are used in biophilia, the effects that the real ones create are more long-lasting.
  • The design should evoke nature through its form. The concept of spaciousness in design is a case in point. The pillars of the buildings in the common gathering areas can have plants entwined around them. This is akin to the way vines wrap themselves around trees. 

Another example can be different forms of suspended greenery in the meeting rooms of the community halls. Or even in the drawing rooms of residential units. When you sit there, it evokes a sense of sitting under a canopy of plants. This brings a sense of calmness to the senses.

Designers and architects are increasingly waking up to this fact. They are designing community housing in a way that maximizes the human-nature experience. The aim is to let biophilia build a high-quality and healthy living environment. Interactions with nature should become a part of the community’s everyday life and not a periodical excursion.

9 Artificial Trees That Will Last For 10+ Years

Trees require space, time, and energy. If you don’t have any of those to give, then artificial trees are the way to go. 

Beyond the occasional wipe-down, fake trees don’t need any maintenance. 

When you buy an artificial tree, the product should have longevity. Want to know which trees will last you decades?

9 Artificial Trees That Lasts Atleast A Decade

1. Banana Palm

Scientific Name: Musa spp.

banana palm

The Banana Palm is synonymous with the tropics. Misnamed as a tree, the banana palm is, in fact, a large herbaceous plant. It is a perennial tree that is known to propagate itself. 

In the wild

Banana palms are native to Indomalaya and Australia. They are primarily grown for the fruit. But the stem is also consumed in some regions. 

Where will it look good?

Banana Palms are the best plant to introduce shade in your garden. Banana Palms are very prolific and keep reproducing. With an artificial banana tree, you can better control the number of trees in your landscape.

2. Eucalyptus

Scientific Name: Eucalyptus globulus

The eucalyptus tree is most well-known for its medicinal benefits. The bark is also used for fuel and even to build musical instruments. 

In the wild

Most Eucalyptus species are native to Australia. But the tree grows well in other regions too. It grows very quickly, thus it’s cultivated as a cash crop. 

Where will it look good?

Eucalyptus is a tall species without dense foliage. This makes the artificial eucalyptus tree perfect for indoor use. It won’t block too much light. But you can still experience the benefits of having a tree indoors. 

3. Scotch Pine Tree

Scientific Name: Pinus sylvestris

Scotch_Pine_Tree

Also known as the Baltic Pine, this is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 35 meters tall. The Scotch Pine is most popularly used as a Christmas Tree due to its dense foliage. 

In the wild

The Scotch Pine grows in the cold regions of Western Europe. The tree grows well in sandy, non-fertile soils. 

Where will it look good?

The artificial Scotch Pine tree from CommercialSilk is dense and true to the real version. This long-lasting tree is perfect to adorn your home during the festive season. 

4. Apple Tree

Scientific Name: Malus domestica

The Apple Tree is deciduous. It produces blooms in the spring which matures into fruits in the late summer or fall. 

In the wild

The tree originally grew in Central America. But today, it is cultivated worldwide with over 7,500 cultivars available. Trees are usually propagated by cloning or grafting. 

Where will it look good?

The faux Apple Tree is perfect to be placed in a hotel or office lobby. The tree, which comes with realistic fruits, will add a colorful touch to your interiors. Due to the dense foliage, it can also be used as a fake privacy tree to screen off certain areas. 

5. Areca Palm 

Scientific Name: Areca

areca palm tree

Areca is a large family of palm trees with 51 species. Areca palm can help treat and cure some diseases like diabetes and even prevent ulcers. The nut also has some psychoactive compounds in them. 

In the wild

Areca grows in the tropical regions of the Philippines, Malaysia, and India. The tree can grow to about 35 feet tall outdoors. Its feathery fronds are used to make utensils in south India. 

Where will it look good?

The fake Areca Palm tree is a good ornamental tree to use inside restaurants and cafes. The rustic reddish-brown trunks and the contrasting green leaves freshen up the indoor space, giving diners a better experience. 

6. Magnolia Tree

Scientific Name: Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia is an ancient tree species that produces large, fragrant flowers. This is an evergreen shrub genus with about 120 species. 

In the wild

Magnolia grows primarily in two regions – east and southeast Asia, and the Americas. Magnolia flowers are pickled and used as a condiment in some cuisines. The bark and buds are also used in traditional medicine. 

Where will it look good?

The faux magnolia tree has lush greenery with white and yellow silk flowers. You can also get it in a topiary style. This is a good way to decorate hotel corridors and lobbies. 

7. Acacia Bonsai Tree

Scientific Name: Acacia

Also known as wattles, the Acacia is a large family of trees in the pea family. Acacia is an ancient family with some extinct species. 

In the wild

Originally, the plant grows in Australia and Asia. Acacia seeds are harvested and eaten as a paste or in cakes. The seeds are a large store of protein.

Where will it look good?

Bonsais are the perfect tree to use for accents. If it’s small enough, you can even use it as a table centerpiece. The faux Acacia bonsai is crafted with life-like foliage and bark. You can also find a windswept version on CommercialSilk

8. Winter Birch Tree

Scientific Name: Betula

Birch is a deciduous tree that is cultivated for plywood, paper pulp, and much more. The twigs also have a sweet, sappy fragrance to them which is often used in saunas. 

In the wild

Birch is native to cold regions in Asia, Europe, and North America. The tree produces small leaves. 

Where will it look good?

The Winter Birch Tree from CommercialSilk is represented with no leaves. The plain, twig tree is fantastic to use as an accent piece your landscape. 

9. Ficus Benjamin Tree

Scientific Name: Ficus Benjamina

Also known as Benjamin Fig, this tree has long droopy branches and glossy leaves. This makes it a very popular indoor tree.  

In the wild

The Benjamin Fig is native to Asia and Australia. It is the official tree of Bangkok. The tree is also naturalized in West Indies and some states in the U.S.

Where will it look good?

The artificial Ficus benjamin tree is a stunning accent tree that looks good indoors. You can add it to commercial spaces like shopping malls. 

Trees, even fake, can serve many purposes. These easy-to-care-for versions are the best landscaping plants for your commercial space.

Biophilic Cities Are The Future We Need

A “deeply ingrained love of nature.” That’s one way to look at biophilia. “An innate tendency to seek connections with nature” is how another authority defines biophilia. We could go in, in fact. The American biologist E.O. Wilson elaborated this concept in 1984.

Ancient civilizations have included natural elements while designing their homes. This trend continued till the wave of industrialization and urbanization swept across the world. And since the recent past, there is a renewed interest in designing biophilia-inspired properties.

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Biophilia into Office Spaces

Note the following:

  • By 2030, the world would have more than 40 megacities (as per UN estimates). A megacity is one where more than 10 million people reside.
  • This implies extensive urbanization. This would result in the creation of more concrete jungles.
  • The resultant fallouts would be higher pollution, altered light patterns, and rapid evolution of urban plants and animals in response to the changes. This evolutionary trend is in stark contrast to the Darwinian theory.
  • Urban greenery suffers from inequitable distribution, as per research. People of certain colors and races have much less access to greenery as compared to others.
  • The recent COVID-19 pandemic-induced restrictions on gatherings have made it more necessary to have ample greenery in the cities. This would facilitate access to nature while maintaining social distancing.
  • This underscores the importance of incorporating natural elements in urban design.

Biophilia can have various representations. A cluster of bushes in a residential locality. A row of trees in the central business district. Hanging greenery décor – natural or artificial – inside offices. And these are just to name a few.

Key Benefits of Biophilic Urban Designs

Better Health and Well-being

Greenery and a connection to the natural world ensure much higher levels of physical and mental health. It helps to better the quality of air that we breathe. It provides places of recreation. And it brings down anxiety and stress levels. This can ease some burden on the urban healthcare facilities.

Fortification Against Environmental Threats

Climate change, and the resultant impact, are a cause for concern for most cities. Rising temperatures, tidal surges in coastal cities, etc. are a direct fallout of mishandling of the ecosystem. Reintroducing nature into the cities can protect the latter to a large extent.

A case in point is the mangrove population in certain coastal areas. They help to protect against cyclone-related tidal surges. Also, properly managed urban wetlands can act as a measure against flooding.

Ensures Biodiversity

Increasing urbanization has resulted in substantial habitat loss for many species of flora and fauna. But with more biophilic urban designing, this loss can be reversed to a fair extent. E.g. living walls and roofs improve the visual aesthetics. They also serve as a habitat for birds, pollinators, and other forms of animal life.

Biophilic Designs – Where are They Applicable?

Well, everywhere. From the entire city to a specific address in the city. There is no end to which you can consider integrating natural elements in urban designing.

However, over the years, biophilia is finding higher usage in several key sectors of urban living across the world. These sectors are – workplaces, hospitality, and healthcare. And in the cities of the future, these sectors will take to more biophilic designs. 

Biophilia in the Workplace

Research has shown that biophilic-designed workplaces ensure higher creativity and better cognitive function in employees. A considerable amount of time is spent at the workplace every day. Many offices don’t have ample lighting or greenery in them. And having – or not having – greenery at the workplace can impact the decision of prospective employees to work or not work there. 

Thankfully, several employers around the world are increasingly looking at biophilia to improve employees’ productivity. This extends to both the interiors and outdoors of the workplace.

The office floor area might not allow for placing larger plants. Then, you can go for wall-mounted planter boxes. These do not take up much space. At the same time, you can place small and colorful plants in them.

Biophilia in the Hospitality Sector

Hotels are not just places with rooms to stay. They are increasingly looking to become an experience for the guests. And biophilic designs, among others, are showing them the way. Place a large triangle planter box in the lobby or the lawn. Keep the décor earthy and natural. Place potted plants, large or small, in the reception area and the passages. Even the rooms can have some faux greenery in small tile planters.

These are just a few ways to make the stay enjoyable and memorable for the guests. This also helps the hotel to stand out among its peers. 

Biophilia in the Healthcare Sector

While recuperating, patients need more than medicines and a good diet. And ample greenery around them is that much-needed “something more.” That’s what the countryside sanatoriums ensure. And even the urban hospitals are ensuring this. A terrace or balcony garden outside the patients’ rooms can be a great source of serenity. A lawn with a small waterfall. A planter box that’s mounted on the wall or from the roof of the patients’ rooms. Simple but effective ways to bring a sense of mental calmness. 

Biophilic Designs – Natural and Faux

It’s best to have a completely natural biophilic design element incorporated in urban design. This applies to both exterior and interior designs. However, in many cases, many urban organizations suffer from a paucity of space. Proper maintenance of natural greenery is another challenge in many situations.

These constraints needed a solution. And this solution has come in the form of biophilic designs. This trend has caught up over the years. Today, many urban planners around the world are taking to faux plants while making their design plans. Natural and faux biophilic designs are co-existing in many instances.

Plantscape Commercial silk brings you the best of biophilic designs for your workplace. Explore the options and select the best green design to make your workplace much more attractive for every stakeholder. The effort would be worth it.

What Is Biomimicry? Why Embrace It?

Biomimicry noun

bio mimicry 
Root: Greek Root: Greek
Meaning: lifeMeaning: to imitate 

In essence, biomimicry or biomimetics means to imitate life. 

Nature is thought to have pre-made solutions for most human questions. So why not use these solutions in our engineering?

One of the earliest and most popular examples of biomimicry is hook & loop fasteners. 

In 1955, while hunting with his dog in the Swiss Alps, George de Mestral saw the burrs were getting caught on his dog’s fur and his clothes. This observation led to the creation of VELCRO® Brand products. 

Though this example is enough justification, let’s delve more into the why and how of biomimicry. We’ll also tell you easy ways to apply the concept to your homes. 

Applying Biomimicry in Various Sectors

Agriculture

Agriculture is an industry paramount to human life. It is also an industry that is responsible for one-third of the global greenhouse gas emission and pollution of various resources. 

Bettering the industry is vital. Here are three examples where biomimicry answered problems in agriculture. 

  • The CHAAC HA has been modeled after spider webs and bromeliads. The material of the collectors is inspired by the way bromeliads channel the water. Using the structure of spider webs, the device is made easy for transport. One apparatus can collect up to 2.5 liters of water from dew in a single night. 
  • A drainage pipe, made of natural material mimics the earthworm’s villi. The finger-like projections help absorb nutrients in the worm. 

This pipe was made by students at the University of Oregon. It helps reduce fertilizer and chemical runoff in a field. The filtration system gives the soil extra time to absorb nutrients and fertilizers. This results in improved soil health. 

  • A lot of the food waste is due to fungus spoilage. Synthetic fungicides are harmful and also rendered ineffective over time. 

Most plants have natural methods to combat diseases. They use terpenoids, alkaloids, and phenols. Nanomick Biotechnology uses this technique to kill fungi on plants. Their targeted micro-encapsulation technique surpasses the effectiveness of synthetic ones. 

Architecture

Human-derived solutions to architecture are crude and additive according to Peter Niewiarowski, a biologist at the University of Akron. He says manmade solutions are expensive. They take advantage of raw materials to speed up processes.  

Biomimetics in architecture leads to sustainable buildings that are also likely to last longer. Biomimicry-focused buildings can also help reduce energy consumption. 

Here are some examples to back these statements. 

  • bioMASONS has created a biological cement that has little to no carbon emissions. The technology uses bacteria that alter the pH balance of the surrounding material. This allows calcium carbonate to bind the materials together. This process is how microorganisms make coral reefs. 
  • Biomimicry is applied to seawalls in the coastal town of Blackpool. The step-wall imitates the natural sand dunes which helps reduce the force of the waves.
  • The palm leaf pattern is also commonly replicated in buildings. The zig-zag pattern and the fan shape of the leaf are often seen in large buildings.

This pattern helps facilitate rainwater passage and also helps ease building maintenance. 

Interior Design 

In the world of interior designing, biomimicry can be as simple as painting the walls with nature’s colors. Biophilia, or the human’s innate tendency to love things from nature, makes biomimetics necessary. 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to apply the concept in your homes is with plants. Being surrounded by greenery is a foolproof way to reduce your stress. 

But bringing a real tree into your home may not always be possible. Here, you can substitute your interior design with artificial tropical trees for a touch of biophilia. 

A fake indoor palm tree will transport you straight to the emotions of a beach vacation. Though fake, the natural-looking foliage will help calm your mood. 

The following is are examples of biomimicry in interior designing. 

  • Bioluminescence is usually found deep in the ocean where light can’t penetrate. But this concept is being proposed as an energy-saving way to light interiors ever since the glow-in-the-dark rabbits debuted in 2013. 
  • The Bartlett School of Architecture has created tiles that can remove heavy metals and toxic dyes from water. The Indus tiles are inlaid with algae in the form of a hydrogel. This can filter harmful substances. These tiles can be applied in places with polluted water sources.
  • Biomimicry can also be applied to landscape designing. This practice highlights the purpose a plant serves. 

For example, why would you have fake palm trees for the pool area as opposed to a rose bush? The palm can act as a sunshade. Leaves don’t fall from the tree either, which reduces the effort needed for maintenance. 

Fashion 

The fashion industry takes responsibility for 10% of human carbon emissions. Fast fashion also does nothing to solve the waste management crisis. This is why sustainability is vital in fashion. 

Fabric inspiration is taken from nature to make waterproof and heat-retaining fabrics. In some instances, designs are also modeled after nature to produce unique clothes. 

Here are some examples where fashion benefitted from nature. 

  • We’re all well-socialized with raincoats and how they repel water. Did you know the concept used here is called the ‘Lotus Effect’? This gives fabric self-cleaning properties and also makes it impervious to water. 
  • A fabric that turned heads at the Sydney Olympics was Speedo’s Fastskin line of swimsuits. This fabric mimics the skin of a shark. The sandpaper-like texture reduces drag in water leading to better performance. 
  • Algalife fiber is a good example of how biomimicry can help improve wearer and environmental health. Using only water and the sun, the fibers are created with minimal resource consumption. It is also a zero-waste fabric as it is fully biodegradable. 

One of the easiest ways to adopt biomimicry into your life is with plants. Introduce plants into your homes to improve your mental health. 

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