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Santa Fe, NM, United States

Benne B.,Soma Integral Consulting | Mang P.,Regenesis Group
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

Regenerative design and development calls for a paradigm shift from a 'mechanistic' to the 'ecological' or living systems worldview that has emerged from living systems sciences over the last century. The challenge for design practitioners educated and now working in a field mainly shaped by a mechanistic worldview is two-fold: first, to develop an understanding of how life and living systems work and, second, to translate that understanding into application. The benefit of taking on this challenge is that understanding natural systems offers powerful insights into how to work across different scales of the built environment.This article looks at key and interrelated living systems' principles and discusses how they translate into design and development practices, using examples of how actual projects worked across multiple scales. Principles considered include the nested or holarchic nature of living systems and the fact that a living system is not separable from its environment. Mapping a design project as a socio-ecological system nested within its immediate and larger contexts shifts designers' attention to the unique and distinctive character of the project environment and the reciprocal influence project and environment exercise on each other.A second principle, that ecosystems' self-organizing and self-regenerating capacity depends on its members carrying out their systemic roles, provides the basis for defining and designing a distinctive and generative role for a project within its place. This role enables the project to be both more valuable and valued as a source of greater viability and vitality and, drawing on the first principle, to have a positive influence across different scales of nested wholes.The third principle relates to the webs of dynamic flows and metabolic exchanges that enable life to continuously produce, repair, and perpetuate itself. Using insights gained from the understanding of the essence of a place, design practitioners are able to identify transformative nodal points within those webs where targeted acupuncture interventions, sometimes small, can influence the health and renewal of the whole system.In conclusion, the article first summarizes how working from an understanding of living systems principles provides insights into working regeneratively across and within different scales. Second, it addresses the need for the role of designers to shift and for new capabilities to be developed in order to incorporate those insights into new development and design practices. Third, it highlights some of the challenges design practitioners might face when implementing a living systems approach within the complexity of multi-disciplinary design projects. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Mang P.,Regenesis Group | Reed B.,Regenesis Group
Building Research and Information | Year: 2014

The net-positive concept could serve as both a new direction and an aspiration for evolving sustainable design beyond minimizing human damage toward human habitation that is a source of life. This commentary posits that realizing that potential depends on how practitioners define positive. Describing net-positive as buildings that "add value" to ecological systems and generate more than they need to fulfil their own needs moves net-positive beyond simply a technical challenge of creating surpluses to one that requires confronting the widely different interpretations of value and value-adding held within the sustainability movement. Green building, like the building industry, generally defines and measures a building's value in terms of human benefit. Ecological sustainability defines value in terms of benefits to the systemic capability to generate, sustain and evolve the life of a particular place. Reconciling these different definitions could transform how society conceives of and designs the built environment. Building professionals seeking to translate net-positive into practice could play a leading role in that transformation. Practice will need to embrace ecological thinking to create design, construction and ongoing management processes that stimulate dialogue about what it means for humans to play a value-adding role in the ecological systems where they are constituents. © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

Mang P.,Regenesis Group | Reed B.,Regenesis Group
Building Research and Information | Year: 2012

The radical changes required for Earth to remain fit for human habitation require a change in worldviews from mechanistic to ecological. A key question is: how can those working on the built environment - a field with major impact on global resources and systems - best support a smooth and timely transition? It is proposed that design practitioners can facilitate that response in the built environment through the development, application and evolution of comprehensive new methodologies, explicitly shaped by a regenerative sustainability paradigm. It is further proposed that successfully evolving a regenerative practice requires going beyond just adopting new techniques to taking on a new role for humans and designers, and a new mind, and learning how to work developmentally. As an example of how a consciously held worldview shapes a practice, an actual regenerative methodology, developed and evolved over 16 years of practice, is explored in detail. A framework, adapted from accepted scientific methodology protocols, is used to structure this exploration, differentiating the different elements and levels, showing how they work as an integrated system and revealing the underlying premises and assumptions behind the choice of aims, strategies, methods and progress indicators. © 2012 Taylor & Francis. Source

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