On The Roof With Biohphilic Researcher and Author Florence Williams

Sourced from the Living Architecture Monitor

Living Architecture Monitor (LAM): Hi Florence. You've been researching the connection between health and environments for more than five years now, and even using your own body to conduct experiments which is fascinating. What has surprised you the most during this journey?

Florence Williams (FW): I wasn’t surprised that being in nature makes us calmer and even more creative. I regularly get my best ideas while hiking or noodling around outside. I was surprised to learn that experiencing beauty or awe can make us feel more community-minded, kinder, more patient and more altruistic, according to science. I was also, on a personal level, surprised to learn how much noise pollution bothers me, which I think is one of the reasons why I (and many people) find city life stressful. There is a large and growing body of evidence on the detrimental health effects of both noise pollution and air pollution, but some of us are more sensitive to noise than others.

LAM: If you could name the top five biophilic things you'd like to see change in most buildings to enhance their ability to contribute to our well being, what would those five things be?


  1. Better air filtration and exchange, including windows that open.

  2. More circadian lighting and daylighting.

  3. Bigger windows so we can see what’s happening in the real world outside.

  4. More plants and greenery inside, including break rooms, courtyards and green roofs with spaces for rest or conversation.

  5. Variable temperature control and customizable seating so I’m not always freezing.

LAM: If you could change the way we plan our communities, what would be top of your list to change at this scale?

FW: More and higher quality green spaces in all parts of the city! That and noise-pollution controls, like banning gas-powered leaf blowers.

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