UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Biophilic design framework : structuring the relationship between exposure to nature and health benefits Alencar, Tatiana Abaurre


The research presented in this thesis addresses the need to incorporate strategies that promote human nature connection into everyday life in order to support the inhabitant’s health and well-being and promote pro-environmental behavior. Moreover, this thesis addresses the need to create a built environment that acknowledges and responds to the stressors associated with modern lifestyle that are reinforced by a disconnection from nature. This idea is grounded in the increasing scientific evidence that supports the use of strategies for connection to nature as a way of promoting restoration possibilities and reducing demands imposed by the environment, in order to promote and maintain psychological and physiological health. Although progress has been made towards understanding how to implement biophilic design into current architectural practice, this research addresses the existing need for structure within the biophilic design strategies regarding their relationship to health and well-being benefits. In this way, a framework was developed to reorganize and restructure the biophilic design strategies according to their potential for health, while accounting for the relationship between these strategies and the influencing qualitative aspects that were identified within the literature: exposure and inhabitant’s needs. The proposed framework builds on the existing strategies provided by the field of biophilic design while restructuring them to provide a new dimension of understanding based on the theoretical fields of environmental preference and psychological restoration. In this way, this thesis provides a useful way to begin to explore and discuss the types of nature exposures and experiences that will support our need for a healthy life. This framework can be seen as a step towards providing initial guidance for designers by focusing attention on the crucial aspects of the nature-health relationship.

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