Designing Access to Nature for Residential Buildings
The popular aphorism that ‘nature is good for you’ is explored by reviewing a number of studies measuring the impact of nature, and its deprivation, on subjects. These range from well-being in dementia patients to the development of cognitive and motor skills in preschool children. With sufficient evidence that access to nature is indeed good for you, and providing a pragmatic (if not rigorously scientific) definition of nature, the paper moves on to identify the key design parameters that have impact on our access to nature.
The work proposes a spatial model that consists of zones, links and qualities. Zones can be inside, edge, near or far, these corresponding to the building interior, the building envelope, the immediate surroundings and the distant landscape. Between these zones are links that are either access or sensory. All the above zones and links can be ascribed qualities. Whilst there is too little data at present to propose a quantitative calibration, the model may be useful to a designer for ordering and balancing various conflicting design decisions. Finally, other issues relating to nature are discussed. These include attracting wildlife into the near zone and facilitating gardening and pet-keeping.
KeywordsNature View Landscape Gardens Access Wildlife
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