Singapore has an innovative way of putting nature at the heart of construction that can make us happier, healthier and closer to the natural world.

It’s called biophilic design, and it replaces walls, windows, columns, signs and neon, with leaves, bark, birds and insects. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is the most biophilic hospital in Asia with more than 700 species of native plants growing on the site. Users feel a greater sense of calm with lower stress levels, and patients take fewer strong doses of painkillers.

“As humans we evolved in nature, surrounded by the natural world,” says Richard Hassell, cofounder of WOHA, an architectural firm that focuses on the integration of the environment at every stage of design. If you feel helpless watching the destruction of natural resources on a grand scale, think of what you can change — properties and land that you control.