The Regenesis blog

Building a Place-Sourced Regenerative Economy: Co-Evolving Relationships between a Regenerative Organization and its Socio-Ecological Environment

by Beatrice Benne

What Role Can Organizations Play in Regenerating their Communities?

What if every business, non-profit organization, or social entrepreneur was able to actively participate in the revitalization of the neighborhood, city, and even region within which it operates? What if through its activities, it could improve community members’ livelihood, increase the economic vitality and resilience of the place, and create healthy natural ecosystems, thereby facilitating the development of a local regenerative economy? This is precisely what the Brattleboro grocery co-op in Vermont, United States, was able to accomplish, transforming its role from a grocery store to being a catalyst for “creating a regenerative marketplace” that helped revitalize their region and foodshed.

A rendering of the Brattleboro Co-op Building

The Brattleboro co-op is one of several organizations that have embraced regenerative development—a whole systems approach developed by the Regenesis Group that “partners people and their places, working to make both people and nature stronger, more vibrant, and more resilient.” Regenerative development is grounded in an evolutionary perspective in which humans have a role to play in contributing to the co-evolution of the social and ecological systems within which they are embedded; by unleashing the potential of larger living systems humans can bring new life into those systems while producing an energy field that can carry out the regenerative transformation of the systems over time.  read more…

Regenerative Development and Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability – available now!

Regenerative Development and Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability – available now!

It is with much excitement that we announce that Regenerative Development and Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability by Pamela Mang, Ben Haggard, and Regenesis is available now from Wiley! From the book jacket:

Regenerative Development and Design takes sustainability to the next level, and provides a framework for incorporating regenerative design principles into your current process. The Regenesis Group is a coalition of experienced design, land-use, planning, business, and development professionals who represent the forefront of the movement; in this book, they explain what regenerative development is, how and why it works, and how you can incorporate the fundamental principles into your practice. A clear, focused framework shows you how to merge regenerative concepts with your existing work, backed by numerous examples that guide practical application while illustrating regenerative design and development in action. As the most comprehensive and systemic approach to regenerative development, this book is a must-have resource for architects, planners, and designers seeking the next step in sustainability.

Regenerative design and development positions humans as co-creative and mutually-evolving participants in an ecosystem—not just a built environment. This book describes how to bring that focus to your design from the earliest stages.

  • Understand the fundamentals of regenerative design and development
  • Learn how regenerative development contributes to sustainability
  • Integrate regenerative development concepts into practice
  • Examine sample designs that embody the regenerative concept

To create a design with true sustainability, considerations must extend far beyond siting, materials, and efficiency. Designers must look at the place, it’s inhabitants, and the purpose—the whole living ecosystem—and proceed with their work from that more humbling perspective. The finished product should itself be an ecosystem and sustainable economy, which is the root of the regenerative development approach. Sustainability has evolved, and the designer’s responsibility has increased in kind. Regenerative Development and Design provides an authoritative resource for those ready to take the next step forward.

You can purchase the book on Amazon or, if you are a teacher of higher education, you can  request a review copy from the publisher’s website.

If you’d like to help spread the word about this book, you can download a PDF flier here.



The invisible hierarchies of the living world

The invisible hierarchies of the living world

When we look back on the early decades of the 21st century, the development of the ecological movement from being a niche concern to a mainstream way of thinking will certainly stand out as being one of humanity’s most significant shifts. Over the last decade an a half, ecological advocacy has moved beyond the altruistic rhetoric of “helping the planet” to demonstrating that the activities of humans are inseparable from and dependent upon healthy ecosystems. The result has been an increasing number of pragmatic victories.

As part of this shift, a core frame of reference that’s become more and more widespread is the understanding that ecological systems are not simply equal to human systems, as the three-legged stool of economy, ecology, and culture would imply. Rather, ecological systems are foundational to human systems. In the grand scheme of life on this planet, economy and culture do not exist without healthy ecological systems. Therefore, ecological systems must be regenerated—and protected—at all costs. (more…)

The Nature of Positive

I wanted to share the link to “The Nature of Positive,” a new article by Pamela Mang and Bill Reed appearing in Building Research & Information. The article discusses the concept of net positive design through the lens of regenerative development and an ecological worldview:  read more…


At various times over the last twenty years, we at Regenesis have played with the idea of writing a book. Clearly this is the sort of thing that people can talk about for a long time but never do.

In recent years, as interest in regenerative design and development has become more widespread, the intention has become elevated to running-joke status  (“That goes in the book!”). Then, after launching The Regenerative Practitioner series last year and seeing just how powerful the interest in a regenerative approach truly is, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer.

We are pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with Wiley to write that book, to be published in 2016.  read more…

The Doomsday Fantasy

The Doomsday Fantasy

When James Lovelock’s remarks hit the news last week, I watched a familiar pattern unfold.

“Enjoy life while you can,” Lovelock told a Guardian reporter, referring to global warming. “Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

This sort of potent doomsaying packs up really well into a clickable, shareable headline. I watched the story zip around the world in a day via email lists and Facebook walls, powered not by earnest concern for the state of the world but by something more cynical—that special schadenfreude that we reserve for the human race as a whole.  read more…

Elizabeth Warren’s USPS Proposal: Stacking functions for community resilience

Elizabeth Warren’s USPS Proposal: Stacking functions for community resilience

The internet is abuzz with news of a proposal from the US Postal Service’s Inspector General, thrown into the spotlight by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Under the proposal, the USPS would use its extensive infrastructure to provide banking services in towns and neighborhoods that banks don’t bother with.

By providing banking services access to the 68 million Americans who do not have bank accounts, the USPS could in one fell swoop challenge the highly destructive payday loan / check cashing industry, save people a lot of money (Warren states that non-bank-account-holding American households spend an average of $2400 a year, or 10% of their income, on these services alone), and net a badly needed $9 billion / year.

A proposal like this provides a good illustration of an ecological principle well known to practitioners of permaculture and regenerative design. read more…


In nature, edge is where neighboring ecosystems meet. This is where the "edge effect" occurs—a place of diversity and abundance, adaptation and exchange.
The edge:REGENERATE blog is place to explore what's happening at the edge between human intention and nature's intelligence. It's about the future of sustainability, the relevance of ecological thinking, and the need to develop not only our environments, but also ourselves.

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