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Mindful places: the psychology and design of healing environments

Porter, Nicole



How does the external physical environment interact with the internal environment of the mind, and our mind-body experience? In this paper, I will explore how the spaces and places of our increasingly urbanised world affect human well-being, drawing from ideas within environmental psychology, as well as theories within built environment design which inform the work of architects, landscape architects and urban designers. This exploration begins by identifying various ways in which contemporary cities have been shown to have a negative effect on well-being, namely; 1. loss of connection to nature, 2. loss of connection to other people, and 3. loss of connection to time. These will be contrasted with examples of healing environments which promote mindful practice and well-being. Healing environments are places that embody qualities of biophilia – meaning ‘love of life’ and the presence of nature. Such spaces offer refuge, and operate on a human scale. Whether indoors or outdoors, healing environments are readily accessible and provide options for people to interact with each other or to have their own personal space. Having identified the elements of healing environments, the paper concludes by reflecting on the relationship between healing environments and mindful practice, positing that the two can work together to heal our external world and the inner world of the individual at the same time.


Porter, N. (2019). Mindful places: the psychology and design of healing environments. In The Places of Mind Practice: From Mind to Environment [????? ?: ???? ???? ] (39-66). Iksan, South Korea: Knowledge Community

Publication Date Nov 8, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2021
Pages 39-66
Book Title The Places of Mind Practice: From Mind to Environment [????? ?: ???? ???? ]
ISBN 9791161054339
Public URL
Additional Information In Korean and in English