In the fourth article of our habitat planning series, habitat designer Ben Breedlove explains to Roelof Bezuidenhout how to cater for stressed-out but affluent visitors from the city. Issue date: 23 February 2007
Visitors are medium-sized mammals who also have habitat requirements, stresses habitat designer Ben Breedlove. As for all species, their habitat consists of feeding, breeding, nesting and resting. Expect to accommodate two of these four habitat functions. However, as this is about habitat optimisation, aim for at least three of the four. “How well visitors’ expectations are met has a lot to do with whether they accept your habitat or leave for better conditions elsewhere,” Breedlove says.
Freedom from stress, a place to lie and observe, good food nearby, low energy requirements, freedom from weather extremes and opportunities to socialise with members of the same species are indications of a good quality habitat. M ost of these medium-sized mammals have recently escaped from an urban environment and are maladapted to more natural circumstances.
Worse than that, there is a high likelihood that these animals that have recently moved onto your property are, in fact, pen-raised humans. They have a problem with awareness. Their visual and acoustic scans are limited to almost straight ahead. fit into small enclosures and their focus areas are a few metres – the distance from a TV screen or car windscreen. Side, rear and overhead awareness and perceptivity is low. Effectively, these diminished skills make them a prey species. They are also lumpy. These lumps are probably filled with a substance called money – the removal of which results in much sounder sleep both for them and for you, although for very different reasons.
There is, however, a more serious problem. In their own habitat these animals are extremely successful. They have excellent powers of discrimination and are well educated. In fact, in their core habitat they are super predators. have demands and know why they have those demands.
Removal of those money-filled lumps is closely related to delivering satisfaction, as they define it, of their knowledgeable clear expectations. Here’s how. “You are paid, in part, to provide them with animal behaviour,” Breedlove says. “The emphasis is on behaviour and not the mere sightings of animals. Yes, the animals must be seen to be there. But once seen, congratulate your visitors by saying ’well spotted’. This delivers an emotional boost of self-satisfaction for a new competency developed fast.
Their competitive natures and desires for success will love it.” The mix of species and behaviours available must offer a total, intriguing and different experience, resulting in a clean emotional break with their pressurised daily existence. Other important habitat features Do not provide a bed. Provide an excellent mattress with a wonderfully functional mix of covers that offers unbelievable sleep. “People are tired, they are overworked and are looking for respite, and they’ve come to you for that, “Breedlove says. “Notice that there is no mention of rose petals scattered lovingly on the floor or other superficial habitat additions.”
Next, ensure there is an excellent table suitable for writing. It must be capable of accommodating two laptops, some draft papers, a few books, three chairs that maintain proper posture and a very good light source that works well – for two people. These are essential elements of habitat where these people come from. They may not use them but they want them in sight and ready for use. Their minds work continually at a fast rate, and they are paid for products that go through a digital transformation. Once these essential habitat elements are in place, they may only serve as a touchstone of convenience and familiarity. Notice that almost immediately visitors begin to cast around for “the environment” – a city word for habitat. “Visitors don’t know that habitat exists, but you do,” Breedlove says. “You are fully prepared and you have lots of it to show. “In their rooms there are three ways you can and should deliver an entry point for them into your world and the experiences you are about to deliver,” Breedlove says.
“A breeze is a simple thing to supply. It requires open doors and open windows in more than one wall. A breeze is highly transformative. It’s clean, fresh, and it moves things about and brings smells that are different and evocative.” Sounds are next. Those birds in the immediately adjacent habitat that were part of your animal optimisation programme deliver sounds to the pen-raised humans. Hearing these sounds moves the mental focus of the humans beyond the room and begins their introduction to the property and to the types of experiences that will be made available to them over the next few days. The animals are also hard at work to deliver experiences to the visitors.
The last sensory introduction is via the eyes. The view through the open windows and doors leads directly into habitat – high functional density, animal-optimised habitat that delivers experiences to humans even before they have left their rooms. Converting pen-raised humans These pen-raised humans are already beginning to feel different and have experienced a shift in focus. They are about to become extremely bright, very knowledgeable, highly interested individuals that want to soak up every experience the property can deliver. The visitors are now becoming truly human for the first time. They are no longer pen-raised humans. The pressure has fallen away even though they are not yet field-adapted. They have had exposure to their immediately adjacent habitat and their expectations for more are building up. They are also slightly satiated but highly anticipatory. It’s a good time to finish converting them from visitors to repeat clients. They would like this if it’s done right. Doing it right is more than providing a game drive or good food.
Visitors also want to interact socially in the built environment. So consider a bar or dialogue. These are choices and they are in opposition to each other. “Dialogue is what should happen if you’re smart, are in an exciting location, have been stimulated, are in good company and need to bring your day to a conclusion,” Breedlove says.
Talking settles humans. Dialogue occurs in small groups with high affinity. Noise levels are low. Loud overrides are intrusive, unwanted and unnecessary. A conventional bar pattern is the antithesis of and is counterproductive to achieving any of these goals. However, very good alcohol of several different types offered some distance from a bar facilitates these ends. So move away from the standard, linear bar arrangement. Habitat also happens at night. Some nocturnal animals can be seen close to the built environment occupied by humans at night. Others can only be heard. Have these animals pull a night shift for these happy, changing humans in their habitat. They’re ready for it. Contact Ben Breedlove of BBreedlove (Pty) Ltd on (012) 343 5201, 083 457 4351 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. |FW
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