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Regenerative design in digital practice. A handbook for the built environment

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Book developed as the result of the work done in the Work Group 2 of RESTORE CA16114 COST Project.

Architectural design can no longer be only concerned with developing artefacts that produce reduced environmental impacts within a certain threshold of emissions. Conversely, buildings today must be developed to reverse the effects of climate change, enhance natural systems, the built environment and inhabitants’ life.


This book explores how the concept of regeneration can be – and is starting to be - explicitly applied to the design of cities and building. A ‘proactive’ design approach is proposed which seeks to integrate regenerative design principles into the concepts and workflows of practitioners, researchers and students. A regenerative design process considers the key positive interactions between the built, human and natural systems. By promoting these positive interactions, which range from supporting local ecosystems to employing construction techniques that promote a circular use of building components, the designer blends creativity and science.


Regenerative design necessitates an understanding of the local dynamics of a project and the interactions with the local climate and living natural systems. Which in turn necessitates an understanding of the layered network of (among others) climate, geology, ecology (mineral and other deposits, soil, vegetation, water and wildlife, etc.), and human health, and its complex interactions. Therefore, designers need to be able to operate beyond conventional construction practice; they have to be trained to adopt  interdisciplinary and multifaceted systems thinking. To achieve regenerative design, in addition to measuring numerous environmental, social and economic impacts, design practitioners of the built environment need to focus on understanding and mapping their relationships.


This book fills a gap in the existing literature by introducing fundamental design principles of regenerative design practice whilst acknowledging the potential and imperative of integrating science, big data and multi-discipline digital tools in the design process.