Using Landscape Architecture to bring Nature Back to the People

Earth has a population of just over 7 billion people. North America has over half a billion alone, with the United States containing over 324 million people. All of these people need to work, shop, play, and live somewhere. Many move to cities for easier access to their needs and demands.

This creates a need for architecture. Roads, homes, offices, stores, parks, and more are built that all of these individuals may go about their lives. Humans, however, want and need more than mere simple structures. They need to feel a sense of belonging, not just to the area but to nature.

Hanging Garden biophilic designWith this in mind, how do we modernize the world without losing green space? The new challenge is that of population growth. And with this, keeping plants alive through modern irrigation in limited spaces.

In the 1980’s, Edward O. Wilson coined the term “biophilic design.” The idea of biophilic design is to create conditions within designs that would meet the unique emotional needs humans have towards the other plants and animals that we coexist with on this planet.

Good landscape architecture focuses on biophilic design; bringing nature to the people. It is more than just making something beautiful, as buildings and homes can be and are beautiful. It is designing to accommodate living things, in landscape architecture plants, in unique ways to beautify and benefit an area. More than this; it is too, on some level, a way remind us that we are a part of a world larger and greater than ourselves.

Good designs uses the right features, great designs maximize the potential of the features used. For example, water features can do more than create a relaxing atmosphere. They can collect and redistribute rain water for plant irrigation. July being Smart Irrigation Month, we should point out that conserving water can do more that save money and water, it can be a better all-round design.

In biophilic design, the more natural the more pleasant the design will be to those using the space. This may be because biophilic design reminds us that we are not just in the world confronted by nature, but a part of nature. And, this reminder makes us feel more at home in our urban forests and landscapes.


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