“If you choose to take your lunch break outside rather than sitting at your desk, chances are you prefer a place that has nature or natural elements (pocket park, grassy lawn, views to water, etc.). Biophilia, our innate connection with nature, subconsciously steers us to places that allow us to experience nature and natural elements. This was the idea behind a new Terrapin Bright Green in-depth case study which examined the allure of biophilia in cities,” writes Sam Gochman.
Terrapin surveyed 100 people on their lunch breaks at four sites—two biophilic and two non-biophilic—in lower Manhattan. A large proportion of participants at biophilic sites liked at least one natural or “biophilic” element most about those spaces and cited both convenience and access to nature as the most important factors in choosing those spaces. Surprisingly, at both biophilic and non-biophilic sites, most participants said that they would walk a longer distance to get to a space with more nature. Download the full study.
So, where do you eat your lunch? And why?
This week I’m helping the Urban Mind Project gather real-time data to help it understand how city living is affecting mental wellbeing. I’ve downloaded the app and completed the initial assessment, which is very interesting. The next stage is to respond at various times over the next 7 days when it prompts me with questions about my current environment – questions like ‘Can you open a window?’ and ‘Can you see trees?’. There’s also an option to add photos and/or audio too.
Fancy joining me? Find out more about participation here. You can also follow @urban_mind_proj on Twitter.
Urban Mind is a collaboration between King’s College London, J&L Gibbons, Nomad, A&E, Van Alen Institute and Sustainable Society Network+.
“Tree climbing is a curious form of travel. Ascending, we cross the divide between two worlds, and the people passing beneath us become as separate as fish in an aquarium. Discovering a trunk with a clear path to the crown is enticing as finding a ladder to the moon; this is the essence of climbing, a method of passing between two spheres – the humdrum everyday and the elevated.” So wrote Jack Cooke in The Guardian recently.
First there was wild swimming and now, it seems, there is wild tree climbing. Not that the tree itself is necessarily wild, especially in cities. To see the world through Cooke’s eyes involves looking beyond the streets and buildings, and looking up as often as possible ‘Stepping off a bus or out from the underground, my first thought is to scan the street for its trees, learning to recognise crowns from afar and straying to catalogue new climbs.’
His list of the five best trees to climb in London includes parks – Clissold, Battersea and Lucas Gardens; Highbury Island, a large circle of green surrounded by roads; and the crumbling Paddington Old Cemetery. Find out more in his new book The Tree Climber’s Guide.