Through necessity, many of us have learned of late that ‘work’ really is where ‘we’ are, not always the place we ‘go’ to. And, perhaps, many of us have discovered new kinds of productivity, new kinds of inspiration and even relaxation as a result.

All of this is combined with an obvious new appreciation of our outdoor spaces as vital resources for our mental and physical well-being. Combining our working hours and our leisure time in healthier and more conducive environments is not something we are going to want to turn away from.

A recent survey for Blind, the professionals’ network, discovered that a staggering 90% of their members expected flexible working away from any traditional office environment to continue after the pandemic.

Opening Up

None of this is news to social psychologists and health professionals. As Harvard physician Eva Selhub and co-author of Your Brain On Nature states ‘a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine.’

‘Being outside stimulates reward neurons in your brain. It turns off the stress response which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure and improved immune response.’

Nor does it seem that we have to be outside for long, as little as 30 minutes can make all the difference. We all just need the opportunity and the amenities to get out there.

Open Planning

As more architects and developers are understanding the social importance of ‘green assets’ within their overall thinking, so they are turning to landscape experts to realise their potential.

At Valley Provincial we are always thinking about new and cost-effective ways of integrating conducive and manageable outdoor spaces into building and regeneration schemes of all sizes and scales.

Traditional garden spaces, patios and roof gardens, even ‘green-desking’ outdoor workspaces can be worked into a building or planning scheme. The world might have been in ‘lockdown’ but that only means we will continue to value our open spaces more than ever.

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