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Plants to the fore: Noticing plants in designed environments

Journal article
Authors Eva Nyberg
Anna Maria Hipkiss
Dawn Sanders
Published in Plants, People, Planet
Volume 00:
Pages 1-9
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 1-9
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.40
Keywords aesthetics, affordances, experiences, plant blindness, sensory-rich environments, botanic garden, science education
Subject categories

Abstract

Plants are not only essential for human health and well‐being, but are fundamental to life on Earth. Despite their central importance in sustaining life on this planet, many humans do not notice plants to the same extent as they do animals, a phenomenon described as “plant blindness”. Research indicates that multimodal and sensoric experiences might be significant tools for bringing about a shift away from plant blindness toward recognizing plants and their importance for life on Earth. This study seeks to explore the affordances of sensory‐rich indoor environments in two different settings; one where living animals are in the foreground (a science center), and one where living plants are in the fore (a greenhouse in a botanical garden). The participants in this study were elementary school student teachers. Data were collected through individual questionnaires that examined the student teachers' experiences visiting the two sites. The student teachers' answers are rich in aesthetic expressions, both regarding the animals and plants mentioned and regarding the environments studied. There is a dominance of animal references at the science center and a dominance of plant references from the botanical garden. In order for plants to be noticed in animal‐rich environments, they need to be foregrounded in the design of spaces and information about them clearly exposed to human view.

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