BiodiverCity: An international call to action

BiodiverCity: An international call to action

Monday, April 16, 2018
/ By:
Kristen Coco

WELL Concepts

The International WELL Building Institute recently joined more than 50 signatories in a global call to action to develop biodiversity in cities. Leaders from the real estate industry, as well as city planners and developers, biodiversity specialists and urban ecologists, architects and landscapers and public institutions came together to highlight the value of green cities through the BiodiverCity Charter at MIPIM, the international real estate exhibition held annually in Cannes, France.

The erosion of biodiversity presents a serious challenge to humanity, in terms of both planetary and human health. More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, with the figure expected to rise to 66% by 2050.1 As humans, we strive for a sense of well-being. And as people move from rural areas to concentrated urban locales, it’s increasingly important to promote the relationship between humans and nature and to drive inclusive, resilient and sustainable development. 

New areas of research are starting to make the connection and support these global urbanization trends. The emerging field of biophilia – the idea that humans have an affinity towards the natural world – helps us to understand why access to nature and other natural elements is linked to a range of positive health outcomes, such as reduced cognitive fatigue, lowered stress and improved mood. Conversely, interior environments that are cold, sterile and devoid of life can diminish our experience, mood and happiness. Incorporating environmental elements, light, patterns and colors of nature, as well as connection to the outdoors from within our homes, schools and workplaces and across our communities are key to supporting positive mental health. 

As part of IWBI’s goal to transform our buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive, we understand the need to promote the human-nature relationship and integrate nature into urban design. The WELL Building Standard and WELL Community Standard recognize how vital our environment – both physical and social – is to supporting health and well-being. Whether drawing us toward natural elements, encouraging active lifestyles or supporting healthy nutrition, the connection between biodiversity and our well-being is clear. 

The BiodiverCity Charter is led by the International Biodiversity & Property Council (IBPC/ CIBI), a pioneering network for professionals working at the intersection of real estate and biodiversity. The charter comprises 10 key actions and commits signatories to integrate living organisms into any urban project, and marks the beginning of a major campaign to raise awareness of the importance of urban biodiversity.

To learn more about the research behind biophilia and ways to promote the human-nature relationship through design, explore the Mind features of the WELL Building Standard, or review our top five takeaways from the Mind WELLography.


1. United Nations. World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas. New York, NY: United Nations; 2014.