An Evidence-Based Biophilic Design Framework for Health and Wellbeing

  • YEAR
    Fisher, Kenn
    2019 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Urban design


Much has been written regarding environmentally sustainable design, but some of this rhetoric is not
correlated with a coherent supporting evidence-based body of research. Sourcing literature from
biophilia, environmental psychology and the psycho-socio spatial determinants of health and wellbeing,
this paper strives to link evidence-based policy with design practice. In so doing it also seeks to frame a model ecosystem for spatial evaluation at various scales of planning and design practice. These scales
range from the design of floor-planning and building design to campuses, neighbourhoods, streetscapes,
suburbs and urban design to critically interrogate possible spatial relationships with health and
wellbeing. Using a ‘critical realist’ approach, the relevant literature is evaluated and framed within the three categories of actors, systems and power at each of the scale levels. The literature demonstrates that psycho-social spatial determinants can elicit a major influence on population health and well-being. The interdisciplinary nature of many professions involved in the ecosystem requires the development of a complex model which frames the inter-relationship between the many elements in the ecosystem. The paper concludes that it is critical to ensure that students training in these professions can navigate their way through such complexities to base their biophilic practices around evidence.

Keywords: Psycho-social, spatial, determinants, biophilia


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