March 16, 2018


Are you a Day Zero Hero? -

Friday, March 16, 2018

A look at Sol Kerzner’s new ultra-luxury estate in Cape Town -

Friday, March 16, 2018

Peter Veenstra to build dome of plants at Design Indaba venue in Cape Town -

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sustainable construction is integral to superior design at 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards -

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Zaha Hadid Architects wins contest for water-inspired cultural hub in UAE -

Monday, March 12, 2018

100 new parks in 100 days for Durban -

Friday, March 2, 2018

Restoring Land, Growing Prosperity: Richmond Park, Cape Town New Development -

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Corobrik’s Graphite pavers add to the modern Menlyn Learning Hub -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marcus Evans – Reimagining the Idea of a City to Enhance Liveability -

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Landscaping for Wetlands: What is World Wetlands Day all about -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sudpave, South Africa’s First Locally Manufactured Permeable Paving Grid! -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Playground Design: danger or risk? Do we know the difference -

Friday, February 23, 2018

A New Type of Interaction by Innovative Design -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

IFLA Advisory Circle Article: Cultural Landscape and the Nature Culture Journey -

Monday, February 19, 2018

The South African Landscapers Institute’s (SALI) Vision for the Next Term. -

Thursday, February 15, 2018

“Biophilic” Environments & Why Amazon Filled Its New Office With 40,000 Plants -

Thursday, February 15, 2018

No Carbon Footprint! “The World’s Most Sustainable Shopping Centre”, with Rooftop Farm, to Open in Melbourne -

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our Cities Cannot be Resilient Without Intergrating Healthy Wetlands in Their Infrastructure Asset Management & Planning -

Monday, February 12, 2018

Plans for ILASA 2018 -

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Net Zero Awarded to Johannesburg’s 78 Corlett Drive -

Friday, February 2, 2018

“Biophilic” Environments & Why Amazon Filled Its New Office With 40,000 Plants

Any way you want to measure it, civilians these days are distracted by tech, overwhelmed by information, and generally feeling pretty anxious.
Surveys show we waste a ridiculous amount of time responding to messages, and some economists have even started to speculate that our smartphone addiction is actually hurting the economy. Being this tech-addled and stressed is unquestionably expensive. It’s also got significant human costs. A steady drumbeat of surveys shows happiness is falling and anxiety (especially among young people) is on the rise.

The solutions to this creeping mental health crisis are certainly manifold. Politicians could do plenty to help us all be less anxious (but probably won’t), while tech fixes and personal behavior changes all have a role to play too. But many of these levers are out of the hands of employers.
So what can businesses do to soothe the stresses of modern life and help their people perform at their best? Amazon has one simple but radical answer: more plants.
Nature makes employees happier, more creative, and more productive.
The online behemoth’s new offices in Seattle feature three domes called The Spheres which are filled with an incredible 40,000 plants, feature a real waterfall and a treehouse, and are designed to give the impression of walking through a rainforest. By all accounts, the project took heroic efforts to complete. Did Amazon do all this just to impress architecture buffs and environmental activists, and win a lot of “best offices” press coverage?

Nope, data-obsessed Amazon is just familiar with the boatload of science that shows nature has powerful effects on humans. Spending time in so-called “biophilic” environments helps to offset many of the negative effects of our frenzied, insecure modern world. Studies show that spending even just a little time in nature can:
double your attention span
decrease negative thoughts and increase happiness
reduce physical signs of stress, like elevated heart rate and blood pressure
boost creativity
improve productivity, even with only the most minimal exposure to nature.
In short, nature seems to both soothe the human soul and make our brains work better. That feels nice for people, but it’s also likely to make those who work in a high-pressure environment like Amazon better at their jobs.
Looking at the science, it’s easy to see why cash-flush Amazon might be willing to employ 600 full-time horticulturists to look after an office space that houses 800 employees (slots to work in The Spheres are already booked up for months, according to Business Insider).
No need to hire an army of gardeners.
Of course, retaining a small army of gardeners is probably beyond the budget of the vast majority of businesses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little bit of nature’s magic into your office.
On a personal level, simply opting to take your lunch break in a local park will refresh and sharpen your mind. Or, for more long-lasting effects, hit the garden centre and bring some more green into your office. If light is an issue, science even shows that simply incorporating more natural materials and images of nature into a workspace boosts creativity. (Or just get a philodendron–they’re practically impossible to kill.)
You might not be able to afford 40,000 plants like Amazon, but certainly you can afford four. Even that will probably make a difference.


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