This idea for a literature review of the emerging theoretical and practice arena of what usefully can be called “regenerative urbanism,” is worth the larger effort involved. Until then, this short summary and list of key resources will have to suffice.
As 21st century planning and design accelerate out of the first decade, a variety of emerging ideas and practices in the planning-design-build professions with roots in the 1990s and beyond are coalescing around the theme of living – living cities, living buildings, cities alive, ecocities, biophilic cities—or more generally, living systems. The core concept of this theme and living systems is “regeneration.” Hence, the title regenerative urbanism, planning, design, etc.
These emerging, coalescing trends can be interpreted as laying the foundation for the next step in sustainability planning—a necessary sustainability ‘pivot‘ from a net-negative, “doing-less-harm” mitigation approach or “paradigm” to a net-positive, “doing-good,” regenerative city paradigm. This shift represents a fundamental change not only for the planning-design-build professions, but for society itself. William McDonough and others have been characterizing this shift as one from a 19th century physics model of society, the economy, etc., to a 21st century biology model. Although simplistic as stated, and needing further development, this simple brushstroke helps illuminate a new source of understanding, innovation, and solutions with real potential for resolving the daunting, some might say impossible challenges humanity faces.
The posts and resources below provide a quick view into a subset of this emerging new regenerative systems paradigm.
APA California 2015 Conference Sustainability Sessions — The Upcoming Sustainability “Pivot” From “Less Damage” to “Regenerative Urbanism,” https://norcalapa.org/?s=regenerative&post_type=sustainability-blog#sthash.I5FhCIR0.dpuf
Toward a Regenerative Sustainability Paradigm for the Built Environment?! http://www.sustainability2030.com/sustainabilityclips/2013/12/1/toward-a-regenerative-sustainability-paradigm-for-the-built.html
The Regenerative City 2030 Challenge, http://www.sustainability2030.com/state-of-sustainability-j/2015/1/25/the-regenerative-city-2030-challenge.html
Regenerative Planning & Design–Connecting to the Essence for Higher Value, http://www.sustainability2030.com/sustainabilityclips/2013/11/27/regenerative-planning-design-connecting-to-the-essence-for-h.html
A Talk with David Waldron — Regenerative Neighborhood Sustainability, http://www.sustainability2030.com/sustainabilityclips/2013/12/1/a-talk-with-david-waldron-regenerative-neighborhood-sustaina.html
Regenerative Design and Development – A Pioneer’s Perspective — http://www.sustainability2030.com/state-of-sustainability-j/2012/5/23/regenerative-design-and-development-a-pioneers-perspective.html
Living Future’s Living Cities – Explorations of a Positive End Game, https://norcalapa.org/sustainability-blog/plan-it-sustainably-august-2012/#sthash.xlg011MW.dpuf
Mobilizing APA State Chapter Sustainability & the New Sustainable Community Division, https://norcalapa.org/sustainability-blog/connecting-apas-state-chapters-on-sustainability/#sthash.w6dSe55D.dpuf
Plan-it sustainably Column (Dec2013)–“Biophilic Urbanism” On the Rise Excerpt, https://norcalapa.org/sustainability-blog/plan-it-sustainably-column-dec2013-biophilic-urbanism-on-the-rise-excerpt/#sthash.QuLjV1PM.dpuf
Planning meets biomimicry? https://norcalapa.org/sustainability-blog/planning-meets-biomimicry/
Living community patterns — bits and pieces of next-generation urban form? https://norcalapa.org/?s=regenerative&post_type=sustainability-blog#sthash.d83XSGbD.dpuf
SPUR – Regenerative Design 091311 6 pm, https://norcalapa.org/sustainability-blog/spur-regenerative-design-091311-6-pm/
Regenerative Neighborhoods – scaling up from net positive buildings, https://norcalapa.org/?s=regenerative&post_type=sustainability-blog#sthash.I5FhCIR0.dpu
Comprehensive Ecological Design for a Carbon Neutral World, http://www.sustainability2030.com/sustainabilityclips/2011/8/12/comprehensive-ecological-design-for-a-carbon-neutral-world.html
SSI2030’s New Year 2013 Challenge: Catalyze an “Educating the World for Regenerative Success” Campaign, http://www.sustainability2030.com/state-of-sustainability-j/2013/1/19/ssi2030s-new-year-2013-challenge-catalyze-an-educating-the-w.html
Whole Systems Methodology is Alive in 2013, http://www.sustainability2030.com/sustainabilityclips/2013/11/30/whole-systems-methodology-is-alive-in-2013.html
[Post prepared by Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, founder/past co-director and Research Program Lead of the Northern Section’s Sustainability Committee, one of the APA Sustainable Communities Division’s Sustainability Champions, and a strategic sustainability planner-economist at the SF Planning Department.]