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Title: Application of Virtual Environments for Biophilic Design: A Critical Review
Biophilic design as a new design approach promotes the integration of natural elements into the built environment, leading to a significant impact on human health, well-being, and productivity. On the other hand, scholars have explored Virtual Environment (VE) to create virtual nature and provide a complex experience of exposure to natural elements virtually. However, there is a lack of understanding about such studies in general, which use VE as a reliable tool to support biophilic design. Thus, the authors conducted a literature review on the applications, capabilities, and limitations of VE for biophilic design. The literature review shows that VE is capable of supporting critical features of biophilic design studies such as representing combinations of biophilic patterns, providing multimodal sensory inputs, simulating stress induction tasks, supporting required exposure time to observe biophilic patterns, and measuring human’s biological responses to natural environment. However, factors affecting user’s experience of a virtual biophilic environment exist, such as VE experience dimensions, user-related factors, cybersickness, navigational issues, and possible limitations of VE sensory input. Overall, biophilic design studies in VEs are still limited. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities for further research in this field.
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