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Facilities Dictionary: Biophilia


Smiling businessman working at a table in a green meadow with blue sky

Biophilia (noun)

1. The theory that humans are hard-wired to be attracted to the natural world.

2. In commercial facilities, this term is used to denote a space design strategy where elements of the natural world are incorporated into the built environment with the express purpose of engaging the senses and the occupant’s innate affinity for nature. This in turn is meant to improve well-being, satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. Common strategies include views to the outdoors and planted installations in the workplace. Other strategies can include water features, flooring meant to mimic natural moss or pebbles, and using patterns from nature on vertical surfaces, among many possibilities.

Note: While chucking a potted plant on the reception desk and calling it a day might be tempting, true biophilic strategies require a nuanced and layered approach. Facility managers should consider what elements will have the most impact for their facility’s occupants, and what is within their means to maintain. That wall of moss will be cute, no doubt, but even moss requires maintenance.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management. Facilities management is full of quirky terms and acronyms. (Alphabet soup anyone?) If there are any terms that you’d like defined, because they’re strange, weird, or just funny, send me an email at naomi.millan@tradepress.com and I’ll add it to my list.

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