Bringing nature in – biophilic and living design

Photo credit: Gary Grant

Hear from an expert panel and ask about integrating natural solutions into homes and workplaces and the future of living design

How can our architecture, refurbishment projects, gardens, homes and workspaces support the natural world as well as our own wellbeing? What could the future of building design look like, and how can we be inspired by nature in our daily lives?

Over 230 people joined us live for an exploration of the intersection of conservation and natural design. ‘Biophilic design’ integrates nature and natural elements, materials and forms into architecture and interiors. It aims to connect building users to the natural world and has been linked to increased wellbeing and productivity.

At this webinar, the panel of experts discussed examples from Cambridge and further afield, and considered what it’s possible for us to do ourselves as well as the bigger picture of natural solutions for climate resilience and the future of living design and communities. This panel discussion was then followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Meet the panel:

Chair: Elizabeth Allen is the Collaborations and Engagement Manager at Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). She works to catalyse collaborations across the Initiative’s partnership, as well as considering how CCI can best engage externally for the maximum benefit of biodiversity conservation.

Mike Maunder is Executive Director of Cambridge Conservation Initiative. With over 35 years’ experience in the conservation sector, Mike has held positions with Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Florida International University; Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK among others. Mike is deeply committed to the restoration of biodiversity and happiest working in the hybrid zones between culture, science, policy, business and conservation delivery.

Munish Datta is passionate about the crucial role every sector of society – government, business, civic, each individual – must play to create a truly inclusive, sustainable world. As Director at UK Green Building Council, he is responsible for leading the organisation’s membership strategy and enabling the delivery of its mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment. As a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, he empowers senior business leaders & organisations to tackle critical global challenges. He is a member of the UK Government (BEIS) Green Construction Board, Governor of the Stephen Perse Foundation of schools and trustee of Rama Foundation, a charity building the capacities and skills of disadvantaged communities. Formerly, Munish led cross-business teams to design and deliver Marks & Spencer’s multi award winning, globally renowned sustainability strategy (Plan A), for its 1000+ buildings property portfolio.

Roz Wade is the Senior Learning and Engagement Coordinator at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology. A zoologist by background, she has been working in museum learning for over 12 years and leads the learning and public programmes of the Museum of Zoology, including work with schools, families and communities. The Museum of Zoology aims to inspire and empower people to support and protect nature. Their programme also explores the role of nature in supporting wellbeing, something that has been of particular importance over the past 12 months. With their engagement programme moving online, the Museum has been working to provide opportunities, information and activities to engage with and encourage the wildlife on the doorstep. Find out more:

John Day is the RSPB’s Urban Adviser. His work covers many aspects of the built environment, promoting nature friendly design and landscaping of towns and cities to green space managers and developers and encouraging the provision of wildlife-beneficial features. He has a forthcoming National House Building Council (NHBC) guide for developers on the subject, has previously published guidance on topics such as sustainable drainage systems and has delivered corporate training on nature-friendly green space management.

Gary Grant is a Director of the Green Infrastructure Consultancy, working on urban greening. Projects include the David Attenborough Building, Greater London Authority Urban Greening Factor study, London Olympic Park Biodiversity Action Plan, various green infrastructure strategies (including Black Country, Thamesmead, Swansea, South Essex) and he has designed many green roofs, green walls and rain gardens. He is a Chartered Environmentalist, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, lecturer and author of ‘The Water Sensitive City’ (Wiley 2016), ‘Ecosystem Services Come to Town: Greening Cities by Working with Nature’ (Wiley 2012), and ‘Green Roofs and Facades’ (BRE Press 2006).

Further information

Bring nature into your home

Encourage your local swifts

Greening architecture

The bigger picture

Cambridge Conservation Initative

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine leading internationally focused biodiversity conservation organisations based in and around Cambridge, UK. The CCI partners work together to combine and integrate research, education, policy and practice. We aim to create innovative solutions for the problems facing biodiversity and society and to foster conservation learning and leadership.

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