Biophilic Birmingham

For the Treeline project I became very interested in a quote from Human Spaces Report on ‘The Impact of Biophilia’;

“…there are proven links between work environments exhibiting biophilic design and lower staff turnover and sickness absence rates. Although these benefits have all been comprehensively proven in isolated studies, there are few if any cross-country studies that examine the preferences of individual employees in terms of biophilic design and the impact of meeting those preferences.”


This project then seemed the perfect opportunity to liaise and explore this idea of how green spaces and natural systems work across the three biophilic cities; Birmingham (UK), Oslo (Norway), and Vitora-Gastiez (Spain). To begin with I wanted to identify a specific tree which was emblematic of the country or city, find out if they can be found in Birmingham, and to take samples from each as initial research into creative outcomes. Through Internet searches his became; (although are subject to change as conversations begin with the countries in question)

  • England – English Oak (after the royal monarch who hid inside its trunk to evade capture) – Found at Cannon Hill Park: OFFICIAL
  • Birmingham – London Plane (oldest tree in the city at 140 years, now removed to renovate the city roads with bollards) – Found on the Pershore Road: UNOFFICIAL (bottom left photograph)
  • Norway – Norwegian Maple (not to be confused with Canadian Maple, which is what happened when Canada printed new currency with the Norwegian Maple leaf on it) – Found at Cannon Hill Park: UNOFFICIAL
  • Oslo – Norwegian Spruce (since 1947 one has been donated to the city of London each Christmas in honour of the countries close relationship through World War II): UNOFFICIAL
  • Spain – Encina (national tree of Spain): OFFICIAL
  • Vitora-Gastiez – Giant Sequoia (landmark of the city) – Found on Yardley Wood Road: OFFICIAL (bottom right photograph)


Once I had collected samples of the three cities respective trees found in Birmingham (London Plane, Norwegian Maple, Giant Sequoia) I took them to Birmingham Open Media to look at them under the microscope.

What I am most interested in is understanding how biophilia  affects the human body, whether it is psychological or physiological, which sense is predominantly responsible or affects the body the most, and whether there is a noticeable difference in biophilic effects from localised flora over non-local flora – for example will flora from Oslo have different  biophilic effects on inhabitants of Birmingham.



Starting with visual stimulus, I want to look at exploding out the constituent colours of each leaf to see the spectrum of colours associated with different species. I intend to gather data around different publics preferences of colour, and then possibly expand this into other sensory stimuli such as scent. Outcomes will be further developed from responses.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *