“For the first-time ever we’re an urban species. Over half the world’s population now live in a concrete jungle.
A reaction against the haste, pace and milieu of modern life, we are encouraged to ‘rewild’ to our barest, basest selves. The inextricable link between humanity and the natural landscape is vital and stressed as an alternative to robotic, autonomous technology and the cold, concrete city. Even in a world where most eco-systems have been devastated and wild animals are a rarity, there are many things we can do to reconnect with nature, find purpose and feel more alive.
Craft, independence and self-sustainability are key buzzwords as the potential of humanity and the land are united in a clear, lifestyle shift. Raw, almost rudimentary product, foraged food and natural, handcrafted interiors propose a return to the idealised ‘good life’ and encourage the emergence of small, independent communities. Primarily rural in location, the ability to translate or incorporate this ethos into a city or even corporate context is vital if it is to move from an idea to a reality.
It’s forming early. Forest kindergartens are on the rise. The urge to move your child from the iPad to the forest is a strong one in many parents. These parents don’t eschew technology but understand the balance that’s required for a healthy and holistic upbringing.
Research shows that there are important positive correlations between human health, intelligence and nature. Studies reveal that children are healthier, happier, and perhaps even smarter and more creative when they have a connection to nature. Nature has positive effects on children with attention deficit disorder, asthma, and obesity, and being in nature relieves stress and improves physical health. Adults who work in spaces incorporating nature into their design are more productive, healthy and creative; and hospital patients with a view of nature from their window heal faster.
The desire to rewild is prevalent in tourism, especially at the higher end. Eight years ago 40% of tourist boards had adventure tourism as a standalone sector, now it’s up to 80% (source: Travel Weekly). At the super high-end people are happy to depart with thousands of pounds for a few days away in the wilderness where they can’t get a mobile phone reception.
Take a look when you next go to a supermarket and see the amount of people that take herbs that aren’t cut but are in a pot. They’re alive. They take them home and it makes their kitchen feel closer to nature.
Ikea have taken this to the next stage for those unfortunate enough not to have any space to with their plants or harvest food with their Growroom.
Even from our own research we found that more people wanted their home to be connected to nature than technology. It’ not just in the home, it’s also happening in the office. Google’s new HQ in London has a huge garden planned on the roof.
Being close to nature is better for all of us and should be embraced at every opportunity. If not we’ll be surrounded by concrete and screens – Darwin would be appalled.”