Designing Green Spaces for Health : Using Plants to Reduce the Spread of Airborne Viruses book cover
1st Edition

Designing Green Spaces for Health
Using Plants to Reduce the Spread of Airborne Viruses

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 13, 2021
ISBN 9780367683139
December 13, 2021 Forthcoming by Productivity Press
128 Pages 209 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

This book focuses on using plants in spatial design to reduce the infectiousness of viruses in different working and living spaces. It presents strategies of interior and exterior green designs with plants that are likely effective for the flu virus tolerance and reduction of infectiousness. The designs are appealing for human interaction and healing as well as focusing on the reduction and removal of virus’ infectiousness.

The Famulari Theory requires examining plants that are likely effective for virus accumulation based on their leaves with stomata, trichomes, and dense leaf growth, and transpiration rate accumulation of airborne viruses. In addition, this research requires reviewing the quantity and specific type of plants (as well as electronic sources such as humidifiers and water features) needed to produce effective humidity for plants to decrease the infectiousness or transmission of viruses; effective distance people to plants; and light, water, soil and temperature needs.

The book addresses the various greening practices that can be applied to sites to reduce the infectiousness of the airborne flu virus -- especially in areas such as train stations, restaurants, rooftops, courtyards, office buildings and work spaces/conference rooms and the home office and the ways that businesses owners and residents can integrate to improve the air contaminants with a green solution.

Designing green spaces which accumulate, reduce, and remove infectiousness of viruses involves exploring multiple approaches from different directions to achieve the most effective and ideal design. The six basic approaches include:

1. Temperature minimum of 70° Fahrenheit

2. Plants with multiple stomata on the leaf surfaces

3. Plants with multiple clumps of dense leaves with a high transpiration rate

4. Plants with rough leaf surfaces or with trichomes (plant hairs) on the leaf

5. Relative humidity (RH) minimum of 43% or higher

6. Air circulation to direct air with the airborne flu virus to the planted areas

Stevie Famulari brings unique insights and inspires the development of green understanding and design solutions plan with both short term and long-term approaches. Illustrations of applied greening to locations help you understand your own design solutions to create them in your site. This book breaks down the misconceptions of the complexity of sustainability and green practices and provides illustrations and site appropriate solutions to how you can incorporate green solutions into your lifestyle for a healthier site. Greening is a lifestyle change, and this guide lets you know how easy it is to transition to the green side to improve your health.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


a. The green theory, what the book is about, terminology

Section 1- Applying the green design & sciences to six different sites

Chapter 1 The Famulari Theory overview & Understanding Green Design

1a. Introduction to The Famulari Theory

1b. The Six Elements of the Famulari Theory

1c. Introduction- Understanding Green Design, General Overview

1d. Function and Form in Design

1e. Function- Needs of the People, Needs of the Plants

1f. Form and Aesthetic Appeal

1g. Putting the Pieces Together in the Famulari Theory

Chapter 2 Train Station- interior urban area, public site

2a. Existing Site Information

2b. Green Design Solution

2c. Plants in the Site Design

2d. Green Design Summary

Chapter 3 Business Office with conference rooms- interior open space site

3a. Existing Site Information

3b. Green Design Solution

3c. Plants in the Site Design

3d. Green Design Summary

Chapter 4 Restaurant- interior, variety of sites

4a. Existing Site Information

4b. Green Design Solution

4c. Plants in the Site Design

4d. Green Design Summary

Chapter 5 House- interior entry, living room, dining room, kitchen,

office, bedroom-

5a. Existing Site Information

5b. Green Design Solution

5c. Plants in the Site Design

5d. Green Design Summary

Chapter 6 Rooftop Garden Design-exterior urban space

6a. Existing site information

6b. Green design solution 1

6c. Plants in site design

6d. Green Design Summary

Chapter 7 Urban Courtyard Design- exterior semi-pubic site

7a. Existing Site Information

7b. Green Design Solution

7c. Plants in the Site Design

7d. Green Design Summary

Section 2- The Famulari Theory, Breaking Down the Theory

Chapter 8 The Famulari Theory- Breaking Down the Theory, and the Influenza Virus

8a. Introduction

8b. The Six pieces of the Famulari Theory

8c. Germs, Viruses, and more

8d. The Flu Virus Structure

8e. Disturbing the Different Elements of the Flu Virus Structure

8f. What Coughs and Sneezes are Made of

8g. How Viruses Move Through a Space

8h. Airborne Flu virus Infectiousness on Different Surfaces

8i. Humidity & Temperature Effects on the Airborne Flu Virus - a Study

8j. Putting the Pieces Together in the Famulari Theory

Chapter 9 Plants Structure, Stomata, Transpiration and Humidity

9a. Plant Structure Overview

9b. Density of Plant Leaves

9c. Trichomes, Plant Hairs

9d. Plant Stomata and How They Work

9e. Transpiration- Plants Release Moisture into the Air

9f. Humidity Levels

9g. Putting the Pieces Together in the Famulari Theory

Chapter 10 Putting the Pieces Together for Living Green Design in

the Famulari Theory

10a. Circulating Air That has Viruses Through Plants

10b. MERV & HEPA Filters Explained

10c. The Famulari Theory and Filters- a Combination

10d. The Psychological Benefits of Using Living Green Plants in the Famulari Theory 10e. Putting the Pieces Together- the Totality of the Application of the Famulari Theory

10f. Thinking Forward

b. References

c. Bibliography

d. Image Credits

e. Index

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Stevie Famulari, Gds, teaches and designs public art, phytoremediation, storm water management, landscape architecture itstory, and specialty green courses. Her research in design explores the relationship, extension, and application of green designs to other professional fields. Stevie’s PhD, ABD research is at RMIT. She received her Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a concentration in Fine Arts from Syracuse University. Her Bachelors of Fine Arts is from New York University. Ms. Famulari’s work focuses on greening designs and practices to create healthy spaces for living and working. With the science of phytoremediation applied to the art of landscape design, her works have aesthetic beauty as well as healing properties for both people and the environment. Stevie’s projects include: green walls; planted roofs; green remediation designs for interior and exterior applications; water remediation designed to benefit communities near oil fracking sites; designs for the Environmental Protection Agency in Colorado, North Dakota State University, and Ghost Ranch Visitor Center for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Abiquiu, New Mexico; development of green design and policies on the UNM campus; flood control design for the Red River in North Dakota and; as well as numerous residential sides nationally. Stevie Famulari’s phytoremeditation database of plants that clean the air, soil, and water of contaminants has been used by the EPA, landscape architecture and engineering firms, and government agencies. She has been an investigator for grants which explore remediation design for oil drilling processes, improvements of air quality, remediation design for communities, and interior green applications. Her work in greening designs, practices, research, and education can be seen nationally and internationally through awards, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Plains Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Natural History, UC Berkeley, International Phytotechnology Society, MECA, UNM, UMN, ASLA, and AIA. Stevie’s work has appeared in hundreds of books, magazines, newspapers, and television programs, including Food Network Challenges & Specials, NBC Evening News, Oakland Tribune, World Entertainment News Network, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Travel Channel, Good Morning America, CBS Early Morning News, Washington Post, The Post Standard, Trust for Public Land, Boston Herald, Berkeley Daily Planet, NY Village Voice, Santa Fe Reporter, and Star Tribune. Ms. Famulari has been a Professor of Landscape Architecture for a decade, as well as a director, a green artist, an author, and a researcher. She is currently a professor at Farmingdale State College, SUNY, in the Department of Urban Horticulture and Design. She has also worked as a Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at North Dakota State University.


I have seen and experienced the effects innovative green design can have on communities. The living green practices of the Famulari Theory in this book have small- and large-scale applications that help impact communities for improving their overall health. With the flu virus and other viruses in the air, as well as the environmental impact, using plants to help create healthy sites both indoors and outdoors is a benefit for all.

-- Henry Obispo, Founder, Born Juice and ReBorn Farms, a 10,000 square-foot urban farm in the Bronx, NY;  Food Justice Activist, urban farmer, Eco-Gastronomer, and a powerful voice for sustainability.


As a scientist who has been on the frontline of the battle against this century pandemics, from diabetes to COVID-19, I have been working on cell therapies for the most severe cases, but also on natural, plant-based solutions that could prevent them, modulating inflammation and the immune system. It is refreshing to see a more simple, effective and potentially synergistic tool that could be easily implemented by all. The Famulari Theory is an excellent addition to our strategies for mitigation of viruses within a natural, environmentally healthy approach.

This book introduces an exceptional, effective strategy to combine multiple sciences and arts within an integrated green theory. The Famulari Theory to reduce the infectiousness of influenza viruses through plants and greening strategies, is presented in this book, and can be read, understood and globally utilized. Its applications go well beyond sciences and arts, including business owners, school administrators, students, landscape architects, interior designers, planners and homeowners, to name a few. With the increasing threats imposed by viral pandemics, the green approach of the Famulari Theory could significantly benefit us all.

-- Camillo Ricordi, MD, Professor of Surgery and Director, Diabetes Research Institute and Cell Transplant Center, University of Miami; Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, USA; Member, Italian Supreme Council of Health


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized the disruptive strength of a microscopio virus, the fragility of the human species, and the relevance of nature, of trees, and plants in maintaining equilibrium, one that we have broken. This book proposes and searches, as I have tried to do in the field of architecture for decades, to re-balance our relationship with nature, to protect our health using plants as our main means shield, by breaking the boundaries of our common living spaces and allowing the instalment of nature as an essential element.

-- Stefano Boeri, architect and urban planner; Founding Partner of Stefano Boeri Architetti; Projects include the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) -- the metropolitan reforestation design that regenerates the environment and the urban biodiversity, the Vertical Forest is a model of vertical densification
of nature within the city; Professor of Urban Planning at Polytechnic University of Milan; Author of Urbania