Regenerative Design and Development for a Sustainable Future: Definitions and Tool Evaluation

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Regenerative Design and Development for a Sustainable Future: Definitions and Tool Evaluation

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This thesis investigates the emerging field of regenerative design and development, its current theory and practice, and design support tools. The purpose is 1) to define ‘regenerative design’ and ‘regenerative development’ and clarify the distinction between them, 2) to propose an overall framework that offers a new understanding of success with both quantitative and qualitative patterns, and 3) to evaluate the emerging regenerative design support tools— REGEN, Eco-Balance, Perkins+Will Framework, Living Building Challenge, and LENSES. Regenerative design is an approach to shape and form a system that seeks to reverse environmental degradation by creating positive impacts, rather than merely causing less damage, to increase the health and wellbeing of humans, other living beings, and ecosystems as a co-evolutionary whole. Moreover, regenerative development is an approach for enabling human communities to co-evolve with natural living systems and building the field of caring for ongoing stewardship and self-renewing. Regenerative design and development, together, implies that these two approaches are interrelated and need to be discussed together. The proposed framework, Holistic Regenerative Design Framework, is an effort to visually represent the key attributes and principles of regenerative design and development. The framework has four Essences: Philosophy, Design Process, Indicators, and Emergence of Regeneration. Each Essence includes four main categories to identify the focal points. The Holistic Regenerative Design Framework can be used in design processes and evaluation of tools or case studies. This thesis aims to use the Framework to evaluate the regenerative design support tools listed above. The goal is to explore how the tools apply the concepts of regenerative design into design processes, what kind of methods and techniques they offer, and what their gaps and limitations are. This thesis concludes by providing recommendations for using the tools together instead of picking one and claiming it is the best.


University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. May 2016. Major: Architecture. Advisors: Richard Graves, William Weber. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 98 pages.

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Akturk, Aysegul. (2016). Regenerative Design and Development for a Sustainable Future: Definitions and Tool Evaluation. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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