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Presentation abstract

The Use of GIS to Score Biophilic Urban Developments and Cities

According to biologist E. O. Wilson, humans have an innate tendency to form connections with nature. Historically, people lived in rural communities with direct access to nature, but now we see more people living in urban environments than rural. The design of cities has not historically considered access to nature, meaning that as cities develop, we have become disconnected from nature.

Lack of access to nature has been associated with health issues including an increase in stress, obesity, reductions in cognitive capacity and sleep disorders. A growing body of evidence suggests that we need to change how we approach city design, possibly by implementing biophilic design features, to counteract these effects.

Biophilic design features include access to views, visual and non-visual cues to the presence of nature, and a sense of thrill. The challenge for designers is to find a means to evaluate different urban designs on the strength of their biophilic nature.

This presentation will describe a method the authors have created to identify and score the biophilic properties of a development, and how the weighting of these different features can result in different design decisions.    

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