Regeneration is a call to action, an approach, and a mindset. Decades ago we realized that how we build our homes and how we live in them was damaging the environment and our health, so we worked towards improving sustainability—using safe, renewable materials and increasing energy efficiency. Now we see that sustainability measures alone are insufficient to address intensifying crises, not just environmental and health crises but also social crises.

Regenerative thinking allows us to consider all of these needs together, to imagine and design from a holistic perspective that takes into account whole systems, grounding the work in local projects and places.

It enables us to ask: What if we could not only fix problems, but grow a stronger socio-ecological fabric? What if the housing system was no longer a drain on the environment or a community, but a contributor?

Our Regenerative Insights – 100 Series starts to introduce why regenerative thinking is needed today and seven core principles of regenerative development and design, using case studies, real-world examples, and audience discussions to help teach and inspire. Additional readings and exercises allow for practice and exploration of concepts to help you begin to understand and explore the questions and possibilities offered by these ideas.


This course is delivered in partnership with Regenesis Group, a world leader in the field of regenerative development—which is an approach to land use, community development, and the built environment that requires humans to apply the complex working of natural systems to harmonize and evolve with nature.

Bill Reed

Bill Reed is Principal at Regenesis Group, a founding Board of Director of the US Green Building Council, and Co-Founder of the LEED Green Building Rating System. He works to lift green buildings into full integration and evolution with living systems.

Joel Glanzberg

Joel Glanzberg is Principal at Regenesis Group and Founder of Pattern Mind. Joel has 25 years of experience as an applied naturalist to land helps clients identify guidelines for appropriate and healthy development and ecological design.


Session 1

Introduction to Regenerative Development & Design

This session introduces the importance of regeneration, principles of regenerative development and design, and what makes “regenerative” distinct from “sustainable.”
Principles covered in this session:
  • Work with whole systems
  • Work with potential, not problems
  • Develop capability
  • Build a collaborative field

Session 2

Application of Regenerative Principles

This session demonstrates regenerative development in practice, how regenerative practitioners work using a living systems perspective, and what outcomes are newly possible.

Principles covered in this session:

  • Work with nested systems
  • Find nodal interventions
  • Work from the uniqueness of each place

Session 3

Regenerative Development at the Neighborhood Scale

This interactive session introduces regenerative approaches to project development to help unlock new potential within those projects, and offer new ways of experiencing the role of these projects in the world. It also introduces case studies that show the interactions between the following principles covered in the earlier sessions.

Principles covered in this session:

  • Work with whole systems
  • Work with potential, not problems
  • Work with nested systems
  • Find nodal interventions

Session 4

Applying Regenerative Principles in your Work

This interactive session invites participants to further develop and apply regenerative thinking at home, in work, and across other dimensions of daily life. Participants are asked to reflect on the difference between working with goals and working with potential, and revisit the regenerative development definition “Developing the capacity of human and non-human living systems to realize their innate potential.”

Principles covered in this session:

  • Work with whole systems
  • Work with potential, not problems
  • Work from the uniqueness of each place

Community Takeaways

“The integrated design process can be a powerful tool if the whole design team buys into it from the outset.”
- Jeff Aalfs, ArcturusHD, LLC
“The absolute NEED for us to move forward with regenerative concepts as the foundation of how we repair existing communities and design new ones.”
- Jeli Gavric, California Association of REALTORS
“I most appreciated the breakdown and examples of the four remaining (of the eight) regenerative principles.”
- Peter Coughlan, Hasten
“I see this as an ecosystem approach to enhance what already exists.”
- James Reid, Tycon Builders Inc.
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Alex Coba

Communications Associate

As a proud California native from Stockton, Alex brings a wealth of experience and a versatile skill set. He has a solid communication background with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Chico. Alex is adept at strategic communications and media relations, with experience gathering and sharing stories from his local communities that uplift the unique spirit and values of those places. He is excited to join Build It Green, where he can apply his talents to further BIG’s mission to help communities across California thrive.