Select Your Strategies
Connection to Outdoors

Access and proximity to the outdoors or natural elements and motifs

People have an innate attraction to nature, an attraction known as biophilia.  However, we spend most of our time indoors, about 90% of it.1 Providing access to the outdoors through the built environment has been shown to improve health, well-being, and productivity. Examples of bringing nature inside buildings include:

  • access to daylight
  • views of the sky and weather
  • views of water features
  • views of and access to gardens
  • interior plantings
  • outdoor plazas
  • indoor atriums
  • natural materials and patterns

In a study of employees’ job satisfaction, findings indicated that individuals who worked in offices with plants and windows reported feeling better about their job and work. These same individuals also had higher quality of life ratings than those who did not work in environments that included views and plants.2 In another study, participants who were assigned to complete a complex computer task in a room with plants showed quicker responses and less stress than those who performed the same task in a room without plants.3 In addition to their psychological benefits, plants and trees can detoxify the environment and reduce air pollution.  Connection to the outdoors has also become an important part of Evidence-Based Design in healthcare settings. Research has shown that contact with the outdoors and natural elements can reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and lessen pain.4

Connection to the outdoors through various means have proven social, environmental, and economic benefits.