Greenwalls support Biophilia

What the heck is biophilia anyway?

Biophilia is a term made popular by Harvard University myrmecologist (someone who studies ants) and conservationist E.O. Wilson, to describe the extent to which we humans are hard-wired to need connection with nature and other forms of life. Many studies have proved the benefits we gain from regular exposure to green, living things. People who live in built environments need to access the benefits of nature and living things more than ever and the more we saturate our surroundings with concrete, steel and glass, the more we need to find creative and effective means for incorporating nature and living green lushness into our urban environments.

Whether we recognise it or not, our surroundings and especially green, natural surroundings, affect the way we feel, work, make decisions and recover from illness. Regular exposure to Nature, even sitting on a bench in a small park, triggers something innate and magical within us to give us tremendous benefits that ‘can have as profound an effect on your psychology as being immersed in a deep rain forest’… Colin Ellard.

Ellard’s research into how people respond to views of nature is drawing particular interest from city planners and architects who seek to combat nature deficient indoor spaces and use greenwalls to aesthetically ‘scrub the air’.  With his colleagues, Ellard is working to discover 'what it is about those natural views that produces these marvellous physiological and psychological responses'. If well designed streetscapes featuring living vegetation can ‘nourish’ us, improve our emotions, memories and enrich our actions, greening our cities could directly improve our ability to make decisions and thus our overall performance as humans within the community.

Colin Ellard, is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies this relationship between place and mind and believes that “Ideally, within about a five-minute walk of where you live, you should be able to get to some view of nature.”……….For many of us, this is not too difficult but given today’s fast paced lifestyles and commuter routines, many of us don’t add this daily ‘dose of Nature’ to our row of vitamin pills, cholesterol and blood pressure meds.

  SO… the next best thing we can do to support our innate need for Nature is to bring a daily dose into our own backyard or balcony with some sort of vertical garden or greenwall- the bigger and more lush the better. Your vertical garden or greenwall doesn’t have to be for food production, although that does put the radish on the salad, you can pamper yourself with the benefits of biophilic nourishment from a stunning wall of rustling green grasses, breeze stirred blooms or a dazzling mass of variegated foliage. If you don’t want to invest in a proper greenwall or vertical garden system, look around for old pallets, old furniture or anything that can hold a decent amount of soil and you’re on track to creating your own little dose of life sustaining elements and importantly, doing your bit to sustain our connectedness to Nature and the immeasurable benefits it affords us.



Vertical Gardens alias Bamboo Planter Boxes

Vietnamese Feng Shui has played a role in bringing the benefits of 'vertical gardens' and green roofs to 720 families who will eventually live in a high rise building in Ho Chi Minh City. The lush green 'vertical garden' facade on the 22 storey housing development will be achieved with the use of bamboo planter boxes. A large rooftop garden will provide residents with lots of private, nourishing green space and stunning views.

Ho Chi Minh city is predominantly a concrete jungle-the bamboo will not only provide a lush aesthetic to the building, it will also work as a protective screen. The plantings will offer privacy and protection to residents from the harsh sun, provide heat regulating properties and improve air quality in the city, as well as complement the expansive rooftop garden

Indoor office plants improve performance and productivity

"According to study Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Wellbeing published by Dr Fraser Torpy and colleagues, “Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted from synthetic materials in office furniture, fittings and computers can cause headaches, loss of concentration and other health problems.”

“Plants can also reduce dust levels, refresh air and stabilise temperature and humidity levels…employers will also be interested to hear that this clean air leads to clearer thinking, which in turn promotes greater productivity and efficiency.”

This endorses the value and benefits of indoor Greenwalls but from an environmental perspective, let's not forget the possible extra lighting/power consumption, potential for moulds, fungal growth, ventilation adjustments etc. that also need to be taken into account when installing larger scale Greenwalls.

Greenwalls and Vertical Gardens Rule!

This link is worth a click next time you take a coffee break- below is an extract (Sunday's ABC Sunday Extra- thank you, Jonathan Green.) A cognitive neuroscientist, Colin Ellard, is investigating the relationship between place and mind. Enter Greenwalls and vertical gardens folks. The good news for us is that by using Greenwalls and vertical gardens in the smallest of spaces, we can each benefit from 'marvellous physiological and psychological responses'. Well, I think we knew this already but it's reassuring to know that we are on the right garden path! Here's a taste of what Colin says but I encourage you to read the full article.

“Ideally, within about a five-minute walk of where you live, you should be able to get to some view of nature.”……….Colin Ellard, cognitive neuroscientist

Ellard and his colleagues are working to unfold 'what it is about those natural views that produces these marvellous physiological and psychological responses'.

'We know that even a relatively modest exposure, like sitting on a bench in a small urban parkette, can have as profound an effect on your psychology as being immersed in a deep forest,' he says.

'The idea is to design cities in such a way that as many people as possible have ready access to these natural environments. Ideally, within about a five-minute walk of where you live, you should be able to get to some view of nature.'

'But my suspicion is that in the long run we're going to discover that the most economic and effective way of producing these kinds of effects is to include natural elements in cities.'