Reverse Urbanization: A Sustainable Shift Towards Everyday Living with Nature

Reverse Urbanization: A Sustainable Shift Towards Everyday Living with Nature

Today, there’s a powerful universal need to reconnect with nature — to live in harmony, coexist, and thrive alongside it.  Many people are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental challenges we face, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and the depletion of natural resources. This awareness has led to a greater emphasis on sustainable living practices and a desire to foster a harmonious relationship with the natural world. As more people move to urban areas, there’s a growing disconnect from nature. Urban lifestyles can contribute to stress, mental health issues, and a sense of isolation. Reverse Urbanization Reconnecting with nature is seen as a way to address these challenges and improve overall well-being.

High population density and pressure on land have led to rapid urbanisation – the Earth’s natural recharging capacity has been rendered ineffective in most current urban settings that we inhabit today. In such urban environments, the basics of ‘living’ such as clean air, adequate water, waking up to birdsong, the joy of tasting fruit fresh off the tree, or even the ability to experience a quiet moment have started to become scarce. Even the birds and bees have begun to leave us. Slowly but steadily, this very urban-centric lifestyle has led most humans to have living experiences that are substandard not only for us but also for the natural world around us.

Efforts to reconnect with nature can take various forms, including sustainable living practices, conservation efforts, eco-friendly innovations, and a broader shift in societal values. As individuals and communities continue to prioritise living in balance with nature, these efforts are hoped to contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet.


With the advent of ultra-high-speed internet, the ability to work from anywhere in the world and easy access to convenience in remote locations, we can live and work from anywhere in the world as opposed to our current urban settings. Today, after the pandemic, we witness a drastic transformation in how we experience living – an uncompromising need for a balanced relationship between people, built space and Nature. We are questioning ourselves – Are we experiencing life in its abundance? Are we ‘living’ to the fullest?

The demand for experiencing ‘life in abundance’ in non-urban habitats is a clear indicator of metamorphosis in living and dwellings best explained. Earthitects have been rooted firmly with the core belief that ‘God is the greatest Architect and Nature, the greatest design to ever exist’ and has resulted in harnessing Nature to ‘facilitate life in its abundance by enabling the fullest enjoyment of God’s creations.’

The future of living is based on the ideology of ‘Reverse Urbanization’ or going back to Nature – a sensitive and sensible shift that will undeniably drive lifestyle and architectural design trends. Aligning with the trend, architecture and design can reestablish the experience of connecting with oneself and the natural environment – a relationship that our modern, urban-centric lifestyle has damaged.


Architecture aids ‘life in abundance’

Architecture steered by Nature can change how people live by bringing the essence of the wilderness into every square foot of the space inhabited. Dwellings designed to facilitate natural life focus on employing techniques that lead to a sustainable lifestyle – embracing the existing Nature of the site, context, native trees, organic vegetable gardens,  and endangered birds, design measures to absorb heat during the day and release it at night that cut down on heating and cooling costs, and usage of native and natural materials.

Also, a basic design and construction approach is to reduce the pressure on the land through rain-water harvesting and composting measures that lead to zero-waste homes. Here, the Earth’s natural recharging capacity is positive rather than equal. This way, we give back to the planet instead of taking from it. At Earthitects, designing around Nature rather than ‘on’ signifies pure luxury.

Is Nature a Luxury for humans?

One such Eco-luxury design story is of Stone Lodges in Wayanad, a cluster of 15 Private Residences inspired by ‘Reverse Urbanization’ and the native hilly architecture – to address the need for a strong balance between people, spaces and Nature. Wayanad, the context of Stone Lodges demonstrates slow living in harmony with native birds and trees, zero noise, light and air pollution, all while being in proximity to basic conveniences of a town, be it restaurants or the high-speed internet.

The Private Residences are designed in large parcels of land to enhance the land’s natural terrain, leaving existing boulders, trees and other natural features on the site completely undisturbed. In other words, when a building comes in the way of a tree or boulder, the design is altered to go around the existing structure and accommodate it to be a part of the natural design, hence the magical experience of a tree right within the residence.

No fully grown trees are cut on the site; trees used in construction are responsibly sourced from managed plantations/mills where replanting and conservation efforts are in place, along with reclaimed wood and wood from fallen trees. Wood is a renewable resource with a lower carbon footprint than other modern construction materials. In addition, renewable materials like clay roofing tiles and eucalyptus poles form the supports, native to Wayanadian architecture. Stone walls are more sustainable and last longer, when compared with concrete. The greenery and local materials used at the forest site maintain the interior temperature between 16°C-26°C, a stark difference from the sweltering central city of Wayanad.

Early Bird to ‘Reverse Urbanization’

Wayanad is home to more than 118 species of endemic birds. The introduction of prolific fruit trees and birdbaths – the lily ponds surrounding the deck, invite them to coexist with humans. With the break of dawn, the harmonies of chirping add vibrance and joy to the serenity that can turn anyone into a bird enthusiast!


Some birds that are spotted at Stone Lodges are crimson-fronted barbet, Malabar Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Orange Minivet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Grey Wagtail, White-browed Wagtail, etc.


Architects and designers, inspired by the principles of ‘Reverse Urbanization,’ are reshaping living spaces to harmonise with nature rather than encroach upon it. This approach involves sustainable practices, embracing local ecosystems, and incorporating natural elements into design. The result is a blend of luxury and responsibility, where architecture meets human needs and contributes positively to the environment.


In the future, the ideology of ‘Reverse Urbanization’ will lead to environmentally responsible investments – living in the wilderness with such nuance and pampering creates a new definition of luxury away from hectic city life. The future of living is going back to Nature!


ABOUT George E. Ramapuram

The Principal Architect & MD Earthitects – George E. Ramapuram is a pioneer in ‘reverse urbanization’ or going back to nature. He believes that architecture steered by nature re-establishes the revealing experience of connecting with both oneself and the environment. In today’s post-pandemic world, through his work, George addresses the demand for experiencing ‘life in abundance’ in non-urban habitats which is metamorphosis in residence-design best explained. With an uncompromising belief that ‘Nature is the greatest design to ever exist,’ his unique vision is inspired by nature’s magic and beauty in all ways.

Inspired by the abundance of nature between his family home at Coorg and his alma mater – The Lawrence School, Lovedale, George envisioned Earthitects as architectural practice that reimagines the experience of everyday living by allying with Mother Earth in designing and creating dwellings that are in harmony with oneself and the natural environment; dwellings that facilitate natural life.

Key projects include the design of the globally acclaimed Evolve Back Resorts in India. He envisioned and brought to life the three award-winning resorts Evolve back Chikkanahalli Estate, Coorg, Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge, Kabini, and Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi. Further, he ventured into designing and crafting exquisite Private Residences for Ownership in tranquil destinations, especially Stone lodges at Wayanad bespeak the native design aesthetic inspired by mountain lodges.

George has been recently acknowledged in Forbes India: 30 under 45 for his work on nature-oriented homes and ideology of ‘reverse urbanization.’ Some key publications and felicitations include the feature of Stone Lodges at Wayanad in Architectural Digest, Travel and Leisure India, Elle Décor, Stir World, Beautiful Homes, Architecture + Design, India Today Home, Platform Magazine, Trends magazine, Good Homes, the Hindu, Deccan Herald and many more. Shortlisted in Surface Design Awards 2022, George is a winner of the prestigious Grohe – Architectural Digest Bath and Space Awards in 2021.

Today, as the Principal Architect of Earthitects, he leads a diverse, pragmatic, and passionate team instilled with the core belief that ‘God is the Greatest Architect.’ This philosophy, ingrained in their visionary leader and consequently every member of Earthitects, has resulted in preserving the purity of nature to facilitate life in its abundance by enabling the enjoyment of God’s creations in its fullness.

The outcome is an ecologically conscious design philosophy that works closely with the environment along with an uncompromising need for innovation and perfection. This inbuilt sensitivity and attention of George E Ramapuram’s signature design style finds expression in every Earthitect’s creation in the form of Sustainability.


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