Health & Wellbeing

The Need for Nature
As the world population increases, urbanisation rates increase also. As a result, people often have less access to nature in their daily lives - with Australians for example now spending over 90% of their time indoors on average. Children's play has also moved from outdoors to indoors as backyard sizes have shrunk, and working hours (and associated stress levels) are increasing as the use of technology (screens) rises sharply.

World studies have demonstrated that there are many health and happiness benefits associated with spending time in nature, such as:
    • Improved emotional state and self-expression
    • Improved air quality by moderating humidity, encouraging easier breathing
    • Feelings of warmth and comfort
    • Lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels
While it is not always possible to increase our time spent outdoors, incorporating natural elements into our indoor environments can help bring the physiological and psychological benefits of nature into our daily lives. The notion of bringing nature and its components into building design is called 'biophilic' design or 'nature connected design'.
Nature in the Built Environment

Being surrounded by wood at home, work or school has positive effects on our health. A recent report commissioned by Planet Ark has found that exposure to wood products created similar health benefits to those created by spending time outside, in nature.

Timber is a natural, organic and renewable material and has many uses as a building material. When used well, timber creates buildings that combine many of the key aspects of nature connected design including natural light, air flow and views of natural elements. It can also be used to reflect the shapes and patterns seen in nature, also known as biomorphism.

Good For Your Body and Brain

Download the 'Wood - Nature Inspired Design' report from Planet Ark to get a more in-depth understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits of exposed timber products in homes, businesses, places of learning and places for healing. It also includes the results of an independent survey which identifies the attitudes and opinions of Australians on wood.

Some of the findings include:

  • Residents in aged care facilities interact more with each other when surrounded by exposed timber
  • Students in classrooms that feature timber products have lower heart rates and stress responses than students in classrooms featuring plastic and metal
  • Two out of three workers prefer offices with wooden chairs, desks and blinds over the same office with those items made from plastic
Nature Inspired Design

People Prefer Natural Materials - Like Wood!

A short video by Planet Ark