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Biophilia (bio = life, living things; philia = love for) describes the innate human desire to connect with other living things and the natural environment. Multiple studies have shown that the connection to nature has numerous positive impacts on physical and mental health. Yet decades of urbanization and sedentary lifestyles have disconnected people from nature; we spend most of the day sitting indoors without easy access to green space.
While planners have long been aware of the benefits from nature exposure, most U.S. cities still lack an equitable and effective integration of nature. This issue resurfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were forced to shelter in place in their nature-deprived neighborhoods.
This edition of PAS QuickNotes emphasizes the importance of biophilia in planning and explains how planners can create biophilic cities and communities that provide equitable access to nature and green space design that offers an effective nature experience for all.
About the Author
Petra Hurtado, PhD