Biophilia is the hypothesis that a love of plants and nature is not a learned trait, but rather a genetically-based affinity that evolved over the course of human evolution (Kellert & Wilson, 1993). We seek out nature – hikes, pets, house plants, etc. – because of an inborn attraction to external life. Empirical studies suggests that spending time in nature, or even within sight of nature, can be placative, reducing the physiological indicators of stress and facilitating physical and emotional wellbeing (Ulrich et al., 1991; Hartig et al., 2003; Yin, J. et al, 2020). There is currently very little research exploring biophilia in relation to autism - a developmental disability impacting how an individual processes the information around them and how they interact with the world (World Health Organisation, 2020). Autistic individuals are at increased risk of mental health disorders, particularly anxiety (Hollocks et al., 2018). Little is currently known about how or why biophilia may benefit the autistic population who can struggle with urban environments; with sensory sensitivities and challenges being characteristic of an autistic profile. While there is a small amount of literature investigating autism in relation to building design, sensory rooms and/or spaces, the wider literature of autism in relation to nature and its potential to impact anxiety has not been extensively explored.
|Effective start/end date||1/10/23 → 30/09/26|