Edward O Wilson first defined the Biophilia Hypothesis in 1984, which has since become a driving force in the design field. Daylight and views figure prominently in most descriptions of biophilic design. However, biophilic elements remain poorly defined and verification of specific effects are mostly lacking. The most compelling evidence of positive effects come from recent epidemiological studies of the effect of outdoor ‘greenery’ on public health outcomes.
There is great research interest in studying health and well-being effects of daylight, views, and other biophilic elements via simulations, which have led to mixed results. Japanese studies of real-time ‘forest bathing’ are perhaps the most promising in terms of identifying physiological causal mechanisms. There is also great commercial interest in substituting ‘technological nature’ versions of daylight and views for authentic experience. While technological nature might constitute a new art form, similar to digital music, it also presents a number of concerning threats that deserve careful consideration, such as loss of intrinsic value of building and urban design; trends towards overstimulation and resulting desensitization; generational erosion of expectations for authentic experience; and the co-option by marketing interests.