Unpacking Biophilic Design

Unpacking Biophilic Design

The days are gone when apartment-dwellers had to go outside of their buildings to experience nature. These days, living amongst greenery is becoming a growing priority for apartment purchasers.

We recently sat down with Khariza Abd Khalid, Head of Landscape Architecture at Gamuda Land to learn how biophilic building design is transforming the way residents can interact with nature every day.

  • By Gamuda Land
  • 14 October 2022

What is Biophilic Design?

At its very core, biophilic design is the concept of bringing nature to individuals and groups within an urban or residential setting. It is centred around immediate connectivity with the natural world. This is achieved through implementing direct nature, indirect nature, and experience of space and place.


Direct nature is better defined as what we may commonly associate with green space or green living. This is an abundance of natural light, air, plants, and even animals. Indirect nature is more of a conceptual way of looking at the natural world. This is in the form of artwork, colours, or simulations of natural air and light. Experience of space and place can be defined as the improvement of well-being through spatial layouts or variance, like the inclusion of balconies within living spaces.


While the name biophilic design may be relatively new, it is by no means a new concept for community living. Dating as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, connecting people with nature has been observed as beneficial. Our residents have experienced the benefits of biophilic designed living spaces, which remains central to how we design our communities.

Our Environmental Targets

Gamuda Land’s Head of Landscape Architecture, Khariza Abd Khalid, elaborates how we have implemented the Gamuda Green Plan, a comprehensive framework that improves the communities we develop and actively endeavours to reduce the carbon footprint our business creates.

“Our framework has tangible targets, especially towards reducing climate action. These targets are a part of the realistic ESG dimension set over the next five to ten years. By 2025 our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, and 40% by 2030” said Khariza.

The Gamuda Green Plan is underpinned by four pillars. These are sustainability planning and design, community creation, environmental and biodiversity conservation, and enhancing our sustainability by digitisation. All of which are heavily influenced by biophilic design.

Green plants in botanical garden indoor.

How we implement biophilic design

Wherever we establish communities throughout the world we make an effort to gain as much information and data about the local environment to ensure that our designs complement the local biodiversity.

“We complete a biodiversity audit, to understand what is available and appropriate for the site. We then collate the data and ensure that our designs are applicable and appropriate for the area,” explains Khariza.

“To apply biophilic design to different climates worldwide we also work with local landscape architects, local authorities, and Aboriginal and cultural consultants. This is to make sure the selection of materials, plants, and cultural and ecological attachments are sustainable and compatible with the respective climate.”

“We do not want to introduce something that does not relate to the design principle and special character of that place.”

Once the community has been completed and active for an allotted amount of time, we then assess the impact of our implementations based on the base data. We are able to get the engagement compared to the existing site and how it has enhanced the biodiversity and living quality.

The benefits of biophilic design

There are many short-term and long-term benefits to incorporating biophilic design within communities. From a short-term benefits perspective, it creates an immediate connection between people and nature, both of which have been shown to improve the physical and mental health of individuals. It also provides a space for the local wildlife to coexist peacefully with residents.

When it comes to long-term benefits, the implementation of biophilic design will assist in reducing the carbon offset of a community. With the creation of “urban forests” and our #OneMillionTrees initiatives, we are actively setting a foundation for sustainable communities for future generations.

“It is satisfying when you see that more people are concerned with the uniqueness of plants or any of the natural elements and seeing the awareness increasing and they understand how you are involved in protecting the earth and the natural elements,” said Khariza.

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