Nature, People and Design: What dose of nature do we need?


How do we shape the world we live in?

Leveraging nature and natural resources for economic performance, people’s well-being and environmental sustainability should be a top priority.


Recently,  we joined an inspiring discussion hosted by Lighthouse Sustainable Building Center where a multidisciplinary  panel discussed the social, cultural and environmental impact that nature has in people’s overall well-being.

The morning started with a brief presentation by panelists, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Ken Larsson, Kaitlyn Gillis, Emily Rugel, Mona Lemoine and Dr. David Fell, concepts such as biomimicry and biophilia were defined and exemplified with projects such as  the Van Dusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre by Connect Landscape Architecture and the William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Haiti by Mclennan Design.

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.

“Biomimicry is looking at nature as a technology” said, Mona Lemoine, McLennan Design.

“We have a unique connection with nature, our well being is dependent of nature” said,  Biophilic design expert, Kaitlyn Gillis, BEng., MSc(Arch), MSc(Env Psyc), LEED AP, Project Manager at Light House Sustainable Building Centre.

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“Designing With Nature”- with special guest, Cornelia Oberlander KEN LARSSON, BCSLA, CSLA, ASLA Principal Connect Landscape Architecture


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Ten key lessons from the Nature, People and Design panel discussion

  • Natural materials plays an important role in regenerative design
  • Restorative environments have the ability to help the over all well-being of people
  • The more we connect with nature the more it becomes part of our identity
  • Restorative environments allow people to thrive
  • Environmental psychology and biophillic design is multiscensory because there are many aspects that influence people’s well-being
  • We have the responsibility to build better buildings, and consider people at the heart of any space
  • It’s about feeling good in our environment
  • Let’s capitalize in the effects of nature to affect our well-being
  • We need to put the numbers and research behind  building more environmentally friendly spaces to  justify the value of using natural building materials
  • Materials selection has broad and far-reaching impacts on design, construction, and occupancy in the built environment. Materials are a critical component to a built environment to promote health and happiness for all
Mona Lemoine, McLennan Design.


According to research , what are the benefits of building incorporating nature and using natural materials into design?


Health benefits

  • Lower stress levels
  • Recovery functions
  • Stimulates concentration, focus and creativity + productivity
  • Reduces apprehension stress
  • Significant improvements in the overall health

Physiological benefits

  • Noticeable reduction in attention deficit disorder symptoms
  • Improvement in mood
  • Higher levels of performance
  • Reduction of stress levels

What dose of nature do we need?

  • Nature is a buffer of the pollution that urban environments  with high density produce
  • Nature can be an opportunity to be a therapy on itself
  • When choosing materials take quality into account
  • Creating high quality, well- used spaces where people is at the heart of it,  requires interdisciplinary collaboration
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EMILY RUGEL, PhD Candidate, BA, MPH, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia




How can we work together as urban planners, architects, designers, and community to have a sustainable healthier future?


“We need to preserve every bit of nature in order to survive in our ever growing cities” said, Cornelia Oberlander, OC, FASLA, FCSLA, LMBCSLA, Landscape Architecture.

  • Cheaper building products can be toxic and harmful – things need to be scrutinize
  • Exchange information and evidence with [our city’s] policy makers to integrate nature more into our built environments and take more holistic approaches
  • Think of creative ways to include nature in our environments
  • Make environments more restorative and integrated with nature

On Social: At @lighthouse_sbc #naturepeopledesign What dose of nature do we need? at @billreidgallery #Vancouver  #BeautifulBC @Light_HouseSBC @greenarchitek @mclennan_design  @FPInnovations_f  @ubcspph


Questions &  Orders? 


Tel. 604-591-2952


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