Planning to partner with nature: Regenerative development and design in North America
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A dividing worldview separating people from nature has resulted in development practices that degenerate life-supporting systems. Sustainable development paradigms to date have attempted to lessen the impact of human development, but have failed to gain the momentum needed to generate a new worldview and evolve into radically changing mainstream development practices. This research explores how the paradigm of Regenerative Development and Design (RD&D) can better enable human development to partner with living systems to co-create conditions for promoting healthy and thriving built environments for all forms of life. Particularly, the research examines what role professional planners can play as active participants of RD&D. Through a literature review and precedent case studies, the work identifies RD&D principles and how they are applied in practice. Key informant interviews with practitioners and theorists of RD&D contributed further knowledge about the benefits and challenges of RD&D, as well as the responsibility of planners for such projects. The research concludes that a new worldview, which considers people as members and participants of natural systems, is necessary in order to create successful RD&D projects. More specifically, there is a need to identify and document the influence of such a worldview in future built RD&D projects. It was further determined that planners are well positioned to contribute to the long-term and dynamic vision required in RD&D projects. Planners also have a key role to play as champions for the policy transformations required for RD&D to progress as a paradigm. Recommendations are offered to planning professionals as to how they may become more knowledgeable and involved participants in the RD&D process.