This site is the home for the concept of Regenerative Settlement, something I have been working on for over a year now.
I am a geographer and a planner, who has tussled with the question of why new development, allowed by the planning system, often makes things worse not better. It is as if we are mainly concerned with apportioning a form of pain rather than creating opportunities for things to improve.
I have always specialised in rural planning and development - from single houses and farms through to villages and the largest towns. Of course the land on the edge of cities is also countryside, until it gets developed....
However hard we try to use up all of the spare pieces of land in cities and towns for new development we are still going to need to build on green fields. What we build there is therefore critical as it's a valuable chance to make a difference rather than just roll out more of the same. This issue needs more attention.
So does the planning assumption that big places are more sustainable (or have more potential to be regenerative if we move the debate on as seems necessary) than smaller places. Nearly 30 years of work on rural and urban planning has taught me that the real world is more varied and complex than this, and that opportunities to extract the greatest sustainability / regeneration from new development need to be based on place specifics and not generalisation. Putting it bluntly we need regeneration and therefore Regenerative Settlement everywhere.
In this context 'regeneration' has a much wider application than just reusing development sites - see this page for more.
The next post outlines the broad case for Regenerative Settlement. After that I intend to explore aspects of it in greater detail, how, with colleagues and partners, I am trying get Regenerative Settlement projects off the ground, and to share detail of those projects as they progress.
The components of Regenerative Settlement are not new - they are things which organisations, individuals and governments have been trying to make happen, with varying degrees of success, for many years. The value of Regenerative Settlement is that it is a unifying concept, which says 'let's bring all of that together and make it happen in this place, and this place, and this place...'. There are two benefits to this - regenerative environmental, community and economy activity can be more effective when it happens together, and it makes sure that we get the maximum regenerative benefit from new development, which is one of the most direct ways we can plan for and deliver our futures. Otherwise new development can be just the next layer of drift to further unsustainability.
Last we (professionals, individuals, organisations) need to work together to try and create as much Regenerative Settlement as possible as quickly as possible so this site is also intended to be a meeting and gathering point for that.