Comfort

The role of plants in human comfort is inextricably linked to all of the other values we discuss and at the same time evidence of a role we are only beginning to understand. An increasing number of scientists and designers use the word "biophilia" to describe this phenomenon. Biophilia, literally "love of life" is a terrain that seeks to understand how and why we are comforted by the living world. More than half of the world's population now lives in cities and we continue to build environments that do not support "life".

One of our most urgent tasks is to make urban environments desirable and nourishing places that we feel inspired to belong to, and that we are moved to care for. Plants are a primary part of this picture. Not only are they necessary for our physical survival and psychological well-being, they bring a rich cultural history that at once celebrates our diversity and unites us all. For regardless of social or economic circumstance, everyone on some level feels the primal goodness of a climbing rose at the garden fence and a ripening tomato on the vine.

Guangzhou bonsai marketGuangzhou bonsai market, John Seitz © 2007