Skip to content

Regeneration 101

Everybody asks… what is the definition of regeneration? That is not such an easy question to answer:

Regeneration represents a movement of people and a body of scholarly work drawing on how living systems work. In Latin, Regeneration means “to create again.” It can be applied to different scales (individual to a city), industries (agriculture, real estate, circular economy), and most importantly about the economy and society health as a whole. It even includes legal, finance, and philosophical discussions on how we hold power, wealth, and control in the management of ourselves and of planetary resources. Many say that regeneration is a way of being and we can already trace it’s principles and frameworks back to indigenous, religious, and scientific wisdom.

Regeneration is becoming the new term or meme gaining popularity as a rally cry for something more and different than sustainability. A good example of the difference is a story about creating the most sustainable hotel in Mexico (LEED certified and all the bells and whistles). But as the regenerative practitioners came on to the project, they realized that the building plans were overlaid on top of a precious natural resource important to that ecological system – a natural estuary. Also, the narrative emerged about the historical culture and economic boom and bust in that same area. So instead of a copy and paste model hotel, they were able to integrate the past to create the future; building off of the place’s own unique features culturally, economically, ecologically to create something that could only have been done exactly where they were.

Regeneration simply defined…

“A living, evolving and naturally functioning organization where abundance and resilience are recurring outcomes of its underlying health (”

Regenerative Economics simply defined… 

“The application of nature’s laws and patterns of systemic health, self-organization, self-renewal, and regenerative vitality to socio-economic systems (”

Regenerative Development simply defined…

“Working on potential in a way that creates greater vitality, a new source for life that brings in an energy field within which the improvement of living systems can take place. It is about seizing the potential, born of crisis, for transforming our role in realizing the greatest systemic potential. Equally important—and this is what makes regenerative development unique—it works to create fields of caring and commitment among stakeholders and stewards. This requires finding ways to continually, consciously regenerate ourselves and our thinking, to continually see ourselves and our place in new ways, with new potential. (“

Yes we regenerative folks love to create fancy terminology that may be hard to make sense of. Fundamental to any regenerative conversation is the use of frameworks to better understand the content and process you are involved in (and how regenerative it is). For example, the three lines of work. Also, regenerative practitioners typically focus on their own place (neighborhood, city, bioregion) as a central focus. 

We sincerely want to help empower you to do that so make sure to reach out if you want to roll up your sleeves.

Here are some Regeneration 101 resources:

Papers & Books:


Community & Discussions: