The emerging field of regenerative development and design marks a significant evolution in the concept and application of sustainability. Practices in sustainable or green design have focused primarily on minimizing damage to the environment and human health, and using resources more efficiently; in effect, slowing down the degradation of earth’s natural systems. Advocates of a regenerative approach to the built environment believe a much more deeply integrated, whole systems approach to the design and construction of buildings and human settlements (and nearly all other human activities) is needed. Regenerative approaches seek not only to reverse the degeneration of the earth’s natural systems but also to design human systems that can coevolve with natural systems—evolve in a way that generates mutual benefits and greater overall expression of life and resilience. The field of regenerative development and design, which draws inspiration from the self-healing and self-organizing capacities of natural living systems, is increasingly seen as a source for achieving this end. This field is redefining the way that proponents of sustainability are thinking about and designing for the built environment, and even the role of architecture as a field.
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