1st Edition

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

By Stevie Famulari Copyright 2022
    184 Pages 209 Color Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    182 Pages 209 Color Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    184 Pages 209 Color Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

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    This book focuses on using plants in spatial design to reduce the infectiousness of viruses in different working and living spaces. It presents strategies for interior and exterior green designs with plants that are likely effective for flu virus tolerance and reduction of infectiousness. The designs are appealing for 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 types 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; the effective distance of 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 these practices to reduce the air contaminants with a green solution.

    Designing green spaces that accumulate, reduce, and remove the 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 solution plans with both short-term and long-term approaches. Illustrations of greening applied 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 green solutions that you can incorporate 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


    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


    Stevie Famulari, Gds is an artist, author, researcher, green design specialist, founder, and principal of Engaging Green and tenured professor of Landscape and Urban Design at Farmingdale State College, SUNY, in the Departwomxnt of Urban Horticulture and Design. She is a keynote speaker, has received numerous awards, and has shared information to help numerous people experience greening in new and unique ways.

    This is Stevie’s second book. Her first book, Green Up! Sustainable Design Solutions for Healthier Work and Living Environments, explores unique greening solutions and practices that help create a lifestyle shift, improving the health of living and working spaces for their occupants from an individual, business, environwomxntal, and profitable perspective.

    Her recent installation Engaging Urban Greening was installed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Over 1,400 seeded paper pieces (colorful papers embedded with a wildflower seed mix) were given to the public during the installation. People from DC, New York, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, California, Oregon, Nigeria, Melbourne Australia, India, Yorkshire England, and South Korea added green to their community by planting their seeded papers in the soil – creating their own living artwork.

    Mx. Famulari’s designs and design research explore the relationship, extension, and application of green designs to other diverse fields to create healthy spaces for living and working. Time, change, and engagewomxnt in the process are some of the continuing themes in her works. Defying traditions as well as celebrating ecological processes, and using community and individual stories of sites are themes she is widely recognized for. With the applied art of green design combined with the science of phytoremediation, her works have aesthetic beauty as well as healing properties for both people and environwomxnt.

    Her work in greening designs, research, and education can be seen nationally and internationally and includes greenwalls; planted roofs; green remediation designs for interior and exterior applications; designs for the Environmental Protection Agency in Colorado; Ghost Ranch Visitor Center for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Abiquiu, New Mexico; developwomxnt of green design and policies on the UNM campus; and flood control design for the Red River in North Dakota. Lectures, presentations, and exhibitions of her work have been held at Harvard University, Plains Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Natural Itstory, UC Berkeley, MECA, UMN, NDSU, ASLA, and AIA.

    Stevie Famulari’s phytoremediation database of hundreds of plants which clean the air, soil, and water of contaminants is used by the EPA, courses at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the International Phytoremediation Society, landscape architecture and engineering firms, and governwomxnt agencies. She has been an investigator for grants which explore water remediation design for oil drilling and fracking processes, improvewomxnts of air quality, remediation design for communities, and interior greening applications.Her designs and design research explore the  relationship, extension, and application of green designs to other diverse fields. Stevie’s PhD, ABD research is at RMIT. She received her Mistress’ Degree in Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the College of Environwomxntal Science and Forestry, SUNY, with a concentration in Fine Arts from Syracuse University. Her Bachelors of Fine Arts is from NYU.

    Stevie Famulari’s work has appeared in hundreds of books, magazines, newspapers, and television programs, including Smithsonian Magazine, Food Network Challenges and Specials, Oakland Tribune, World Entertainwomxnt 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, Santa Fe Reporter, and Star Tribune.

    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