Over 500+ article essays by Maria Lorena Lehman

The Nature of Design — Symbiosis between Architecture and Nature

building green


As a humanity, we strive to live in harmony with nature; but what happens when our very innovations use technology in ways that hinder nature’s beauty and systems? For example, certain urban infrastructure technological innovations heighten air pollution. As can be inferred from this latter example, many of our urban innovations do a lot to improve life in the short term, but then emit side-effects that hinder life in the long term.

As environmental designers, we stand in prime position to guide how architectural and urban innovations connect with nature, so we can guide a more positive relationship between the two.


The key to designing environments so nature supports us as a humanity, and so humanity in return supports nature, is to think in terms of symbiosis. In other words, if a two-way relationship between nature and the built environment can be designed so the two work together to support each other, then as a humanity we will experience greater benefits, both in the short and long term.

To accomplish such a symbiotic relationship between nature and the built environment, it is important to understand that we humans are the linchpin that can create, maintain, and evolve this synergy. Thus, by prioritizing the infrastructure of the built environment to develop a language that “speaks harmoniously” with nature, humanity can set new trajectories for our future that help us to evolve.


By actualizing all as described above, it becomes possible to do two things: (1) support the natural ecosystem, and (2) inspire greater human visionary action. This means that as environmental designers, we can become changemakers – by fusing this symbiotic vision into design that inspires even more beneficial human behavior and action.

Symbiotic environmental design compounds the positive effects that an environment can bring.

Image Credit © Bkrmadtya Karki | Pixabay

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