Cities are building their way to happiness with clever architecture and gorgeous greenery that keeps on giving...
Nature has been proven to make us feel happy; whether it’s the eerie silence of snow, an unexpected sunny day, or the joy of houseplants (the ones we manage to keep alive), nature gives us a connection to the present moment when urban life gets us feeling a bit lost. But with two thirds of us living in the city, how on earth do we go green?
Thankfully, greenery and city architecture is not a new pairing. Opened in 1982, the Barbican is a shining example of how our city lives can be invaded by nature. It’s been labelled ‘London’s Ugliest Building’ by Grey London, but we think it’s hard not to love the climbing plants and peaceful ponds. The Brutalist architecture, which forms the focus of criticism, provides the perfect backdrop for nature to flourish. It’s no surprise that the Barbican living complex is notoriously sort after – it’s a stunning marriage of man-made structures and greenery.
Luckily for city dwellers, and despite recent controversy around the proposed London Sky Bridge, architects around the world are becoming increasingly more creative about bringing nature into our urban spaces. In South Korea, an elevated highway next to Seoul’s Central Station is set to be transformed into a Sky Garden, with 254 different species of trees, plants and shrubs. It is an initiative that hopes to ‘inspire a process of change for the entire neighborhood’ and build on the city’s hopes to become greener and more environmentally friendly. You might say it’s how everything should be built; with societal and environmental benefits holistically expressed through design.
So, as society begins to talk more openly about wellbeing and mental health, maybe it’s time to consider how design can help us lead a happier life; after all, looking at nice things makes us feel good. Whether it’s a living wall to admire, a back garden to relax in or a window box to pour over, our affinity with nature can make busy city life that little bit less stressful.
If you want to take a look, we’ve put together some of our favourite outdoor furniture and plant pots below. They’ve certainly helped us inject a bit of nature into the Nest office. We’ll also be talking more about how happiness is related to design, so keep an eye out for more on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.