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Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection



Sustainable design has made great strides in recent years; unfortunately, it still falls short of fully integrating nature into our built environment. Through a groundbreaking new paradigm of "restorative environmental design," award-winning author Stephen R. Kellert proposes a new architectural model of sustainability. In Building For Life, Kellert examines the fundamental interconnectedness of people and nature, and how the loss of this connection results in a diminished quality of life. This thoughtful new work illustrates how architects and designers can use simple methods to address our innate needs for contact with nature. Through the use of natural lighting, ventilation, and materials, as well as more unexpected methodologies-the use of metaphor, perspective, enticement, and symbol-architects can greatly enhance our daily lives. These design techniques foster intellectual development, relaxation, and physical and emotional well-being. In the works of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Norman Foster, and Michael Hopkins, Kellert sees the success of these strategies and presents models for moving forward. Ultimately, Kellert views our fractured relationship with nature as a design problem rather than an unavoidable aspect of modern life, and he proposes many practical and creative solutions for cultivating a more rewarding experience of nature in our built environment.
Building for Life:
Designing and Understanding
the Human-Nature Connection
Stephen R. Kellert
Interaction with nature is critically
im po rtant to hum an well-being and
developm ent, but sadly has become
compromised and diminished in mod
ern times. Through deliberate design,
this connection can be repa ired and
restored. Unfortunately, contemporary
society has become confused about the
ro le of the na tu ral en viro nm ent in
peo pl e’s physical and mental lives.
Many believe that the progress of civi
lizatio n depend s on subjugating and
converting, if not conquering, the natu
ral world. Indeed, many see this pro
gression as the essence of civilization.1
Why should they presume this to be
so? First, most people recognize that
the production of huge food surpluses
by a tiny fractio n of the population
permits others to obtain the ir basic
needs at a relatively low co st and to
ex ercise an extraordina ry degree of
mobility. Producing such surpluses has
until now relied on the wholesale con
version of natural habitats into vast
monocu ltu res used to grow a small
number o f crops or raise a few species
Kellert is a pro fessor o f so cia l ecolog y
a t the Yale U niversity Sc ho ol of For
es tr y an d En vironm ental Stud ies. This
ar ti cl e is excerpted an d ad apt ed from
h is b oo k B uild in g fo r L if e ( Isl and
Pr ess , 2005) .
of liv estoc k at m assive in d ustria l
scales. Second, mo dern society has
made a range of manufactured pro d
ucts available far beyond what even the
richest would have thought possible a
millennium ago. The variety o f goods
available at a typical mall today dwarfs
what the m ost priv ileg ed n obi lity
would have experienced in the past.
This contemporary level of consump
tion has depended until now on mas
sively extracting, fabricating from, and
then disposing of huge quantities of
natural resources. Third, most people
today anticipate relatively good health
and long lives, which they attrib ute
prim arily to the miracles of modern
medicine, whose “conquest of disease”
has largely relied on suppressing other
life forms through championing anti
septic conditions.
All these trends of subjugating and
eliminating wild nature have been sup
ported, at least until recently, by the
conventional design and development
of the human-built, principally urban
environment. It is sobering to realize
that only two centuries, ago, Great Brit
ain was the first nation to have a ma
jority of its population residing in an
urb an area, now arguably the most
common feature of modem life.2 Today
some two-thirds of the developed world
lives within the shadow of a metropoli
tan area. And the greatest migration in
human history is happening now, as
hundreds of millions of people migrate
from the countryside to the cities in
China, India, and elsewhere.
Urbanization historically has relied
on converting natural diversity into
largely homogenous landscapes of im-
; pervious surface, consuming enormous
amouritsjofr reso urces and materials,
andgeneratingjiuge quantities of waste
and pollutants. Consequently, the mod
ern urban environment now consumes
some 40 percent of energy resources,
30 percent of natural resources, and 25
percent of freshwater resources while
generating one-third of air and water
po llutan ts and 25 perce nt of solid
wastes.3 This prevailing paradigm of
urban development is neither necessary
nor sustainable and constitutes m ore a
design deficiency than an intrinsic and
inevitable flaw of mo dem life. Still,
these tendencies collectively have en
couraged many to believe that the ben
efits of contemporary society depend
on massively exploiting, if not conquer
ing, the n atural w orld . F or many,
pro gress and civilization have been
equated with humanitys distance from
and subjugation of nature.
Nonetheless, most people continue
to intuit that the health and diversity
of the environme nt are rela ted fun
da m en ta lly to the ir ow n p hy sica l,
m en ta l, and eve n s piritu a l w e ll
be in g.4 Most sense tha t th e natural
world is far more connected to the qual
ity of the ir lives than is re vealed
through the narrow metrics of material
production and modem economics. In
poll after poll in the United States and
in other countries, the majority of re
sp on dents cite the environm e nt as
important.5 The stubborn belief persists
that the natural environment is prb-
foundly related to peoples physical,
psychological, and moral well-being,
an assumption that is reflected in many
of our preferences, cultural creations,
and constructions. Our connection to
nature figures into the materials we
choose, the decorations we employ, the
re cr ea tion al choices we make, the
places we live, and the stories we tell.
N at ur e co ntin ues to do m in ate the
forms, patterns, and language of every
day life, despite the impression that,
in a narrow technical sense, the natu
ral world often seems nejthet qecessary
nor germane to the functioning o f a
modem urban society.
Desp ite the evid ent connection s,
contemporary society still fails to rec
ognize and defend the importance of
healthy and diverse natural systems to
sustaining the quality of people’s lives,
especially in urban areas. Perhaps we
have taken for granted what has always
been readily available, like a fish fail
ing to recognize the virtues of its wa
ter realm. The presence of the natural
world has been an unquestioned con
stant for much of human history, gen
erally noticed only as an adversary or
appreciated only when no longer ac
cessib le. We have only recently en
countered nearly ubiquitous environ
mental damage and a feeling of alien
ation from nature produced by huge
human populations, consumption, ur
banization, resource depletion, waste
generation, pollution, and ch emical
contamination.6 Only during the past
fifty years has the scale o f our excesses
fundamentally altered the earth’s atmo
spheric chemistry, causing the wide
spread loss biological diversity and
even threatening the future of human
Thus, we confront two warring pre
mises in contemporary society regard
ing our relationship with the natural
world. On the one hand is the wide
spread belief that the successes of the
modem world depend on controlling
and converting nature. On th e other
hand rests the pe rsisten t impression
that human physical, mental, and even
spiritual well-being relies on exp eri
encing healthy and diverse natural sys
tems. I ascribe to and defend the latter
view, that nature—even in our modem
urban society—remains an indispens-
The prevailing
paradigm o f urban
development is neither
necessary nor
sustainable and
constitutes more a
design deficiency than
an intrinsic and
inevitable flaw o f
modem life.
able, irreplaceable basis for human ful
fillment. Degrading healthy connec
tions to the natural world impoverishes
our material moral capacity. Through
deliberate design, we may restore the
basis for a more compatible, and even
harmonious, relationship with nature.
The focus is thus on three major is
sues. First, em pirical ev idence from
diverse sources is marshaled to support
the contention that experiencing natu
ral process and diversity is critical to
human material and mental well-being.
Second, childhood is considered as the
time when experiencing nature is most
essential to human physical and men
tal maturation, even for a species ca
pable of lifelong learning. Unf ortu
nately, for both children and adults, an
impoverished natural environment has
become widely common, especially in
urban areas. Thus, I recommend con
sidering how a new paradigm of de
signed development can help reesta b
lish the beneficial experience o f nature
in the modem built environment.
Underlying much of the examination
of humans and nature is the concept o f
biophilia.7 Biophilia refers to humans
inherent affinity for the natural world,
which is revealed in nine basic envi
ronmen tal values. De veloping these
nine values can foster physical capac
ity, material comfort, intellectual d e
velopment, emotional maturation, cre
ative ability, mo ral convic tio n, and
spiritual meaning. The inherent in cli
nation to attach value to nature, how
ever, is a “weak” gene tic ten de nc y
whose full and functional development
de pe nd s on sufficien t e xpe rie nce ,
learning, and cultural support.
The adaptive interaction of cu lture
and nature is vital at any point in a
persons life. But, because this inte r
dependence is biologically based, it is
logical to assume that the most critical
period in this formative development
is likely c hi ldho od.8 Young p eop le
need to engage the natural world re
peatedly and in multiple ways to ma
ture effectively. Yet, for many children
as well as for. adults, modem society
has produced an increasingly compro
mised and degraded natural en viron
ment that offers far fewer opportuni
ties to experience satisfying contact
with nature as an integral part of ordi
nary life.9 The many symptoms of this
declining condition include extensive
air and water pollution, fragm ented
landscapes, widespread loss o f natural
habitats, destruction of biological di
versity, climate change, and resource
depletion. These trends have resulted
in threats not only to human physical
and m ateria l sec urit y b ut a ls o to
nature’s role as an essential medium
for peop les emotional, intellectual,
and moral development.
These deficiencies of modern life
can be ameliorated through adopting
an innovative approach to the design
and development of the human built
env iron m ent. This new pa ra digm ,
called restorative environm ental de
sign, focuses on how we can avoid ex
cessively consuming energy, resources,
an d m ate rial; ge ner at in g m assive
amounts of waste and pollutants; and
separating and alienating people from
the natural world. As intimated earlier,
the current environmental crisis is con
sidered a design failure rather than, an
un av oidable aspect o f modern life.
Both the knowledge and the technol
ogy exist to better reconcile and even
harmonize the natural and human en
vironm ents. However, meeting this
enormous challenge will require two
conditions. First, we must minimize
and mitigate the adverse environmen
tal effects of modem construction and
development. Second, and ju st as im
portant, we must design the built envi
ronment to provide sufficient and sat
isfying con tact between people and
In recent years, alternative design
and development approaches—com
monly referred to as “sustainable” or
“green” design have emerged that
focus on minimizing the adverse ef
fec ts of the built environment on na
ture and on human health. The label
“restorative environmental design” is
used here instead of “green design”
becau se the fo rmer underscores the
need to also reestablish positive con
nections between nature and human
ity in the built environment. The dam
age caused to natural systems and hu
man health by modem construction can
be minimized and mitigated through
many strategies, including pursuing
energy efficiency, using renewable en
ergy, reducing resource consumption,
reusing and recycling products and
materials, lessening waste and pollu
tion, employ ing nontoxic substances
and materials, protecting indoor envi
ronmental quality, and avoiding habi
tat destruction and loss of biodiversity.
This overall objective is calle d low
environmental impact design, a neces
sary, but by itself insufficient, basis for
true sustainable design and develop
ment. Although essential and challeng
ing, low environmental impact design
ignores the equally important need to
resto re ben ef icial co ntact be tw een
people and nature in the built environ
ment. Unfortunately, low environmen-
Modem society
has produced an
and degraded
natural environment
that offers fa r fewer
opportunities to
experience satisfying
contact with nature as
an integral part o f
ordinary life.
tal impact design has become the pri
mary approach of sustainable design
and development today.
The additional objective of fo ste r
ing satisfying contact between people
and nature in the built environment is
called positive environmental impact,
or “biophilic” design. Biophilic design
includes two basic dimensions: organic
(or naturalistic) design and vernacular
(or place-based) design. Organic design
involves the use of shapes and forms
in buildings and landscapes that di
rectly, indirectly, or symbolically elicit
people’s inherent affinity for the natu
ral environment. This effect can be
ach ieved through the use of natu ral
lighting, ventilation, and materials; the
presence of water and vegetation; deco
ration and ornamentation that mim ics
natural forms and processes; and other
means. Ve rna cular design re fe rs to
buildings and landscapes that foster an
attachment to place by connecting cul
ture, history, and ecology within a geo
graphic context.
Thus, restorative environmental de
sign incorporates the com plementary
goals of minimizing harm and damage
to natural .systems and hum an health
as well as enriching the human body,
mind, and spirit by fostering positive
experiences of nature in the built envi
ron ment. Each of the m ajor design
emphases associated with restorative
environmental designlow env iro n
mental inipact design and the two as
pects of'biophilic design, organic and
vernacular design— is an outgrowth of
three theories that explain bow natural
systems affect human phy sical and
'mehtif v/feU-b&ng. Specifically (1) low
eriVironmentaPimpact design sustains
various ecosystem services on which
human existence re lies, (2) org anic
design fosters various benefits people
derive from their tendency to value
nature (biophilia), and (3) vernacular
design enables a satisfying connection
to the places where people live, also a
necessary condition of hum an w ell
The various scientific, theoretic al,
and practical considerations discussed
above should be considered com pre
hensively by addressing the ethics of
sustainable development. The connec
tion between human and natural sys
tems—particularly this connectio n’s
importance during childhood years and
the challenge of restoring beneficial
connections between the natural and
human built environments through de
liberate design—is fundamentally an
issue of values and, ultimately, of eth
ics. We must confront such basic con
siderations as how we think we fit into
the natural world and how the relation
ship between nature and humanity re
flects our basic conceptions of what is
good, right, fulfilling, and just.
Most “ut ilita rian ” ap proache s to
these ethical questions emphasize how
pr ot ec ting nature sustains peo ple’s
physical and material existence. Yet
many view this ethical point of view
as too narrow, advocating instead that
we protect and sustain the natural en
vironment for its intrinsic importance,
independent of its material benefit to
people. Positing that both o f these ethi
cal approaches are flawed and insuffi
cient, I instead advance a greatly ex
pa nd ed utilitarian ethic of sustain
ability that promotes the health and
integrity of natural systems not only
for their physical and,material rewards,
but also because they advance equally
important human emotional, intellec
tual, and spiritual needs. JTiis ethic of
sustainability embrace^-,a vastly ex
panded understanding orhtirrfan self-
interest that reaches far beyond the
cramped confines o f economic mate
rialism or the unrealistic idealism of
natures value independent of human
welfare. This broad utilitarian ethic
recognizes and affirms how the natu
ral world serves as an indispensable
basis for what it means to be not only
physically and materially secure, but
also emotionally and in tellectually
whole, endowed with a sense of love
and beauty, and reverent o f creation.
At times, the enormous environmen
tal challenges facing us today can eas
ily provoke great pessimism. Yet, my
overall outlook is fundamentally opti
mistic, confident in the human capac
ity to envision and create a world of a
compatible, and even harmonious, re
lationship with nature. De spite our
enormous capacity for consumption
and development, humans should not
be viewed as a kind of “weed” species
that inevitably impoverishes the natu
ral environment. Instead, people are
capable of existing in sustainable rela
tion to nature, even of enriching the
natural w orld^ productivity and health.
This choice reflects the extraordinary
free will of our species, a double-edged
sword that can result in life-affirming
creativity or self-destructive behavior.
Both theory and evidence to support
the view that human physical, mental,
and spiritual well-being remains de
pendent on the quality of our healthy
intera ction with the natura l env iron
ment. M odem society has clearly di
minished and compromised this possi
bility. Yet, the understanding and tech
nology needed to restore positive ties
between nature and humanity exist and
are ever expanding. The Pulitzer prize-
winning biologist Ren6 Dubos labeled
this potential that of “wooing of the
earth.” He suggested;
“Wooing of the earth suggests that
the relationship between hum ankind
and nature should be one of respect and
love rathe r than domination. Among
people the outcome of this wooing can
be rich, satisfying, and lastingly suc
cessful only if both partners are modi
fied by their association so as to be
com e better adapted to each other....
With our knowledge and a sense o f re
sponsibility for the welfare of human
kind and the earth, we can create new
en vironm ents that are ecolog ic ally
sound, aesthetically satisfy ing, eco
nomically rewarding, and favorable to
the con tinued growth of civilization.
But the wooing of the earth will have a
lastingly successful outcome only if we
create conditions in which both hum an
kind and the earth retain the essence
of their wildness. The symbiosis be
tween these two different but com ple
mentary expressions of wildness will
constantly engender unexpected values
and new hopes, in an endless process
of evolutionary creation.” 10
The objective of restorative environ
mental design depends on wooing the
earth in a deliberate, know ing, and
gentle fashion. Doing this will be im
mensely difficult given the current ex
tremes of human consumption, popu
lation, technology, urbanization, waste,
pollution, and environmental destruc
tion. Can people ever know enough to
fabricate effective solutions to complex
larg e- sc ale p ro blems? Perha p s w e
would do better to pursue a more mod
est, restricted, gradual process of re
solvin g the problem s of nature an d
humanity. Unfortunately, the enormity
and pace of the contemporary human
onslaught on natural systems dictate
otherwise, leaving us little choice but
to respond ambitiously. The uncer
tainty of the outcome represen ts the
particular morality play of our age.
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(Washington, DC; Islan d P ress,
5. Various studies indicate co nsider
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mental conservation and p ro te c
tion. See W. Kempton, J. Boster,
and J. Hartley, Environmenta l Val
ues in Am erican C ultur e (Wash
ington, DC: Island Press, 1996); R.
D un la p and R Scarce, The
polls—poll trends; Environmental
problems and protection,” P u b li c
Op inion Qu arte rly 55 (1991): 713-
34; R. M itche ll and R. C arson ,
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Goods: The C ontingent Valuation
M et ho d (Washington, DC: RFF,
1989); R. Inglehart, “Public sup
port for environmental protection:
Objective problems and subjective
values in forty-three socie ties,”
PS: P ol itical Scie nc e an d Po lit ics
28 (1995): 57-72; E. Ladd and K.
Bowman, At tit ude s Towa rd th e En
vironm ent: Twenty-Five Years Af
te r Ea rth Day (Washington, DC:
AEI Press, 1993).
6. These tren ds have been docu
mented in various publication s.
See publications of the World Re
sources Institute, United Nations
Environmental Program me, and
Worldwatch Institute as well as
J. Speth, R ed S ky a t M or nin g:
Am eric a an d the C risis o f the Glo
bal E nvironmen t (New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 2004).
Workshops &
See for additional meetings
7. E.O. Wilson, Biop hilia: The Hu
man B ond w ith O th er S p eci es
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univer
sity Press, 1984); S. Kellert and
E.O. Wilson, eds. The Bio phil ia
H yp o th es is (Washington, DC: Is
land Press, 1993); Kellert, Th e
Value o f Life, Kellert, K ins hip to
8. See S. Kellert, “Experiencing na
ture: A ff ectiv e, co gn itive, and
evaluativ e development in ch il
dren,” in P. Kahn Jr. and S. Kellert,
eds., C hildren a nd N atu re : P sy 
ch olo gical, So cio cultur al and E vo
lu ti ona ry Inv es tig atio ns , 117-52
(C ambr id ge, MA: M IT P ress,
2002); P. Kahn Jr., T he H um an
Rela tionsh ip with Natu re: Dev el
op m en t an d Culture (Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 1999).
9. See R. Pyle, “Eden in a vacant lot:
Special places, species, and kids
in the neighborhood of life,” in
Kahn and Kellert, eds. Ch ild re n
an d Nature, 305-28.
10. Dubos, Wooing o f the Earth, 68.
Society of Conservation Biology 20th
Annual Meeting. June 24-28, San Jose,
CA. Conservation Without Borders.
Contact: Website: http://
Society of Wood Science and
Technology Annual Conference. June
25, Newport Beach, CA. Website: http://
International Conference on Rivers
and Civilization. June 25-28, La
Crosse, WI. Multidisciplinary
Perspectives on Major River Basins.
Contact: James Wiener, (608) 785-6454.
American Water Resources
Association Summer Specialty
Conference. June 26-28, Missoula, MT.
Adaptive Management of Water
Resources. Contact: AWRA, 4 West
Federal Street, P.O. Box 1626,
Middleburg, VA 20118-1626. (540) 687-
8390. Fax: (540) 687-8395. E-mail: Website: http://
Climate and Health Colloquium. July
16-22, Boulder, CO. Contact: V. Wynne,
Institute for the Study of Society &
Environment, National Center for
Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 300,
Boulder, CO 80307. (303) 497-8117.
Fax: (303) 497-8125. E-mail: Website: http://
Universities Council on Water
Resources Annual Conference. July
18-20, Santa Fe, NM. Increasing
Freshwater Supplies. Contact: UCOWR,
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale,
IL 62901-4637. (618) 453-6020. Fax:
(618) 453-7346. Website: https://
Soil and Water Conservation Society
Internatiortaf/Conference. July 22-26,
keystone, C©.-;Contact: SWCS, 945 SW
Ankeny Rd., Ankeny, IA 50023. (515)
289-2311. Fax: (515) 289-1227. Website:
International Society for
Arboricultures 82nd Annual
Conference and TYade Show. July 31-
August 2, Minneapolis, MN. Contact:
ISA, 1400 West Anthony Drive,
Champaign, IL 61821. (217) 355-9411.
Coastal Zone Canada Conference.
August 12-18, Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest
Territories, Canada. Arctic Change and
Coastal Communities. Contact: Steve
Newton, (204) 984-5561. E-mail:
... On the one hand, it has in fact been considered as a potentially viable response to contemporary environmental issues aimed at reducing the impact of building construction on the natural world and at regulating the effects of human activities on natural environments. The number of studies and experimentations into the potential of "green" architecture has progressively increased, setting out to demonstrate and evaluate the benefits of vegetation at the building scale concerning comfort through the hygrothermal, acoustic and filter functions of the envelope, the air quality of interiors, the physiological and psychological advantages on health and human well-being, recently highlighted as biophilia (Kellert 1993(Kellert , 2018Beatley 2016). In addition, several research advancements underscore the significant environmental and ecological impact that can derive from greened buildings in the urban context through the Urban Heat Island mitigation, the water runoff control, the implementation of biodiversity, the restorative, healing effect on inhabitants, the pollutants absorption and soil consumption alleviation. ...
... It raises the awareness of the strong educational message of actively belonging to the wide ecology, thus awakening responsibilities and commitment to environmental protection, triggering a so-yearned behavioural change towards the environment, merging to a certain extent aesthetic appreciation with cognitive emotional responses such as awe and love (see Coburn et al. 2019, pp. 133-45;Kellert 2005;Ulrich 1983, pp. 85-125). ...
Full-text available
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, we have been witnessing a persistent presence of greenery in architecture, in its most extensive application, with diverse ranges of technological sophistication, fruition, maintenance, form, and expression. The article focuses on the current use of vegetation in architecture, examining its expressive, artistic, and spatial qualities beyond environmental performances. Accordingly, the innovative interpretation of greenery is addressed within the current resurfacing debate over ornament, its aesthetic and semantic outcome, and its interaction with the inhabitants. Attention is directed at identifying recent design approaches towards nature and artifice, from the building interior to its adjacent urban space, with the aim of highlighting novel paths towards the articulation of spatial and technological systems, opening up multidisciplinary research towards new concepts of symbiosis between the natural and the artificial.
... Ecologist Stephen Kellert (2005) has named "vicarious" or symbolic experiences of nature those encounters with natural kinds which do not come from direct experience but are rather the result of learning through representations, either realistic or unrealistic, of animals and plants. Such vicarious experiences -which usually take place through reading, story-telling or watching TV -comprise a great deal of what children (and adults) living in urban environments in industrialised countries know about animals. ...
... One only needs to go to any bookshop and pick a random book to get a sense of the pervasiveness of animals in the media. For instance, Kellert (2005) found that a strikingly high proportion of toddlers' books in English include images of animals and plants which are portrayed in highly anthropomorphic terms. In her ethnography of a preschool in an upper-class New York neighbourhood, anthropologist Adrie Kusserow (2004) writes how empathy -or more aptly, "sympathy" -towards all kinds of living beings is actively taught to children through the use of picture books or toys. ...
Full-text available
... 1. Having the form of the natural object and transferring it to design by imitating it due to formal considerations (Hagan, 2001;Kellert, 2005) 2. Inspiring from the form and function in nature (material, form and structure) and with experimental data, it changes into architectural form (Arslan Selçuk and Gönenç Sorguç, 2007). ...
... Biyofili üzerine yoğun çalışmalar yapan Stephen Kellert ise Wilson ve Fromm'un biyofili kavramına katılarak, doğuştan gelen biyofili içgüdüsünün kültür ve deneyimlerle desteklenmesi gerektiğini savunmuş ve biyofiliyi biyokültürel bir unsur olarak açıklamıştır. Kellert'e göre insanın zihinsel ve fiziksel olgunlaşması, doğa ile kurduğu ilişkiye bağlı olarak gelişmektedir (Kellert, 2005(Kellert, , 2008Kellert ve Wilson, 1993). ...
... A hallmark of EE field trip programs is that they often occur in natural settings and provide immersive hands-on experiences (e.g., McCrea, 2006;NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence, 2021;Simmons, 2018). Researchers suggest that this exposure to nature and natural settings during middle childhood and early adolescence (ages 10-14) can positively impact youths' learning, academic performance, and cognitive and moral development (e.g., Kuo et al., 2019;Kellert, 2005;Kahn & Kellert, 2002;White & Stoecklin, 2008). Thus, it is assumed that an important component of a successful EE field trip program is immersive and interactive experiences in natural environments. ...
Do more natural settings improve students’ learning? We collected surveys immediately following 283 U.S.-based environmental education (EE) field trip programs for youth and used land cover data to examine the relationship between levels of naturalness, defined as the percentage of natural land cover of the EE field trip site, and student learning outcomes. We also examined whether differences in levels of naturalness between students’ day-to-day environment and the field trip setting were related to student learning outcomes. When controlling for grade and race, both levels of naturalness and novel levels of naturalness accounted for approximately 4% of the variance in student outcomes suggesting that other field trip characteristics are more influential.
... 20. Yüzyılın ikinci yarısında yapılan araştırmalarda ise, doğa göz önüne alınarak yapılan iç mekan tasarlamanın, insan yaşam kalitesi üzerinde olumlu etkileri olduğu bildirilmiştir (Ulrich, 1984;Kellert, 2005;Husti vd., 2015). Diğer çalışmalarda, iç mekânların süs bitkilerinin bulunmasının hafızayı ve konsantrasyonu iyileştirmeye yardımcı olabileceğini ve daha iyi üretkenlik sağlayabileceğini destekleyici yöndedir. ...
Full-text available
Oggi, sempre più spesso, si sente parlare di sostenibilità: sostenibilità ambientale, economica, sociale. Il grande problema che la società ha di fronte è però come tradurre i principi teorici in pratiche reali e quotidiane. Le persone hanno spesso difficoltà a sviluppare una forte sensibilità verso le tematiche ambientali e ad adottare in modo convinto atteggiamenti sostenibili nei confronti della società e dell’ambiente. L’atteggiamento che ciascuno di noi ha nei confronti dell’ambiente nasce dal tipo di educazione che, fin dalla prima infanzia, ci viene impartita. La riduzione di spazi naturali, l’allontanamento fisico dalla natura, le esperienze e le sollecitazioni sempre più virtuali e meno reali, le attività di gioco eccessivamente strutturate e precostituite, i sempre più scarsi momenti di reale socializzazione con genitori, insegnanti e compagni di scuola, sono alcuni esempi di ciò che la nostra società impone ad una gioventù sempre meno autonoma e capace di affrontare situazioni nuove, di valutare opportunità e rischi. Tali condizioni odierne comportano diverse problematiche, come l’attuale condizione giovanile (con particolare riferimento ai ragazzi “urbanizzati”) caratterizzata dalla solitudine e dalla reale socializzazione negata; il rapporto sfavorevole tra esperienze reali ed esperienze virtuali; l’autonomia perduta (organizzazione altrui dei tempi e degli spazi) e l’inaccettabilità del rischio da parte dei genitori e parenti (iperprotezione e assenza di avventura); la riduzione effettiva di natura e la conseguente perdita di identità ecologica come cornice entro la quale ricondurre le diverse esperienze; la mancata possibilità di fare esperienze di natura come modalità per ricostruire la propria identità ecologica; in ultimo le carenze di conoscenze naturalistiche come modalità per riflettere sulla propria posizione nel Pianeta (Dodman, Camino, Barbiero, 2008). Non si può negare, quindi, l’evidenza di tali condizioni; ciò fa nascere, in ambito educativo, la necessità di formare le future generazioni ai nuovi scenari di sostenibilità. In particolare, per l’educazione alle geoscienze è ormai ampiamente riconosciuta l’importanza del fieldwork come uno dei metodi principali di apprendimento (Mondlane, Mapani 2002; Butler 2008), in grado anche di stabilire una connessione tra la parte emotiva degli studenti e quella cognitiva (Stokes, Boyle 2009).
Which approaches are associated with better student learning outcomes in environmental education (EE)? We observed a sample of 299 day-long EE field trip programs occurring across the U.S.A. for youth in grades 5–8 (ages 9 to 14). We tracked the extent of use and quality of implementation of 66 programmatic, educator, and setting characteristics and measured student outcomes immediately after the programs using a retrospective survey. A series of complementary tests identified 11 characteristics that were most powerfully and consistently associated with learning outcomes, accounting for 18% of variance in learning outcomes. These included group size, naturalness, novelty, place-based pedagogy, verbal engagement, quality questions, transitions, and staging, as well as the responsiveness, comfort and clarity, and emotional support provided by the educator. Some of the most commonly promoted practices in the EE field were rarely observed. Implications are discussed for both practice and research.
Full-text available
The Iranian garden can be considered one of the most prominent and best models of landscape design in Iran, which is the result of the interaction between humans in the face of nature, since the interaction formed between man and nature results in mutual effect of them on each other. The main aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between stimulation of the senses, perceptions and the geometry of the Iranian garden. In other words, the three basic factors of man, environment and the relationship between man and environment are examined to determine how each one acts and reacts, and influences the other. The methodology in the present study is qualitative with a comparative approach to present the general structure of a unique example, which is the Tajabad Natanz Garden. It expresses the general theoretical foundations arising from the perceptions of the environment and psychology related to it. Field observation and library documents were used to collect information. The obtained result indicate that the Iranian garden as a whole is the product of the connection of components, each of which alone does not convey a specific meaning and concept to the audience, and the coexistence of these elements and components together forms the concept of the Iranian garden. Thus, in recreating the Iranian garden in the physical environment of life, including in contemporary cities, increasing attention should be paid to its perceptual process by modern man to provide an appropriate response to the needs of contemporary man. It will improve the mental health of the society in the first step and leads to the connection in the areas of meaning and provides the conditions for individual self-fulfillment in the second step.
Contact: V. Wynne, Institute for the Study of Society & Environment
  • Health Climate
  • Colloquium
Climate and Health Colloquium. July 16-22, Boulder, CO. Contact: V. Wynne, Institute for the Study of Society & Environment, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 300, Boulder, CO 80307. (303) 497-8117.
Universities Council on Water Resources Annual Conference Increasing Freshwater Supplies Contact: UCOWR, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-4637. (618) 453-6020. Fax: (618) 453-7346 Website: https:// registration.php4
  • Nm Fax Santa Fe
Fax: (303) 497-8125. E-mail: Website: http:// Universities Council on Water Resources Annual Conference. July 18-20, Santa Fe, NM. Increasing Freshwater Supplies. Contact: UCOWR, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-4637. (618) 453-6020. Fax: (618) 453-7346. Website: https:// registration.php4. Soil and Water Conservation Society Internatiortaf/Conference. July 22-26, keystone, C©.-;Contact: SWCS, 945 SW Ankeny Rd., Ankeny, IA 50023. (515) 289-2311. Fax: (515) 289-1227. Website: swcs_international_conferences. International Society for Arboriculture's 82nd Annual Conference and TYade Show. July 31- August 2, Minneapolis, MN. Contact: ISA, 1400 West Anthony Drive, Champaign, IL 61821. (217) 355-9411.
Arctic Change and Coastal Communities
  • Website
Website: conference/default.aspx. Coastal Zone Canada Conference. August 12-18, Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. Arctic Change and Coastal Communities. Contact: Steve Newton, (204) 984-5561. E-mail:
The historical roots of our ecological crisis
  • See L While
See L. While Jr., "The historical roots of our ecological crisis," S ci ence 155 (March 10, 1967): 1203-7;
The Value o f Life, Kellert, Kinship to M astery
  • Kellert
Kellert, The Value o f Life, Kellert, Kinship to M astery.