Australia is growing fast! In 2019 we added 381,619 to our national population. To put that into perspective that’s like adding a city the size of Canberra to our country. In saying this we are not building new cities. Instead we are turning towards higher density living to cater for our housing needs. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics “more Australians than ever are taking up apartment living”. The Australian suburban philosophy centres itself on connection to community and nature. How can we bring that same living philosophy to urban centres?\n \n\nPhoto by katie manning on Unsplash\n\n\n\n\n \nThere are many advantages to high density living. Getting around is generally a lot easier as most public transport infrastructure is located in urban centres. This also sees a reduction in cars. Not only are shopping centres and eateries only ever a short walk but the variety is immense.\nHowever there are disturbing trends. In 2010 Urban planning academic Professor Tony Hall highlighted a trend in his book The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard towards smaller or no backyards. Outdoor balconies are constructed to reduce maintenance costs; no longer enabling the capacity for an inner city urban garden.\nApartments have an abundance of underutilized space that traditionally are never thought of as areas for successful plant cultivation. Through advancements in horticultural technology we are able to think about these underutilized spaces in innovative and engaging ways. That poorly lit corner of an inner city apartment can now be turned into stimulating and energising environments.\n \n\nPlant Light by ample\n\n\n \n\n\nWe are only just beginning to understand the true benefits of a closer connection to nature. A recent collaborative study between scientists at RMIT University and the University of Melbourne found plants can improve air quality and mental wellbeing. One or two plants are great but once you start to create a “look” with multiple plants inside your space mental wellbeing significantly improves. A Japanese study found that simply having a plant on your desk reduces stress levels. After 3 minutes of gazing and caring for their plants, participants reported less anxious, with their heart rates slowing down.\n\n\n \nThe power of growing plants goes far beyond individual gains. Be it food, flowers or ferns; if you grow excess and then choose to share that excess to your neighbours you’ve also grown a community. You may not expect anything in return but don’t be surprised if you find yourself with some homemade jam or passata. All of a sudden, people next door to you that you didn’t know, are looking out for you.\n \nPlant Light by ample\n \nEvery person deserves the same beneficial lifestyle as the next. As higher density living becomes a reality we need more mechanisms, not less, that afford apartment dwellers with the advantages of a closer connection to nature. Aplantments; a new paradigm for high density living.