Regenerating Place through Story

Regenerating Place through Story

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That we are seeing a rapidly expanding focus on sustainable cities is hardly surprising. Cities have become the principal engine of economic growth in a global economy—and they are having a disproportionate effect on the ecosystems of their regions and the biosphere as a whole. Currently, the pressing nature of climate change and peak oil, together with our long love affair with technology, have made efforts to reduce the impact of cities the central focus of the sustainable cities movement. While critical, meeting the challenge of a deteriorating planet requires more.  It demands that our cities become active contributors to the social and ecological regeneration of their regions. Cities at the forefront of sustainability are recognizing that they need to take up both halves of the sustainability challenge—reducing damage while growing connection to and among the living systems of their place. There is a growing understanding that even as we

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Solving for Pattern

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Recently, I sat down to read Nicholas Mang’s case study of Curitiba, Brazil, which is now available on the Regenesis Group website. As I read I was reminded of a powerful 1981 Wendell Berry essay, called Solving for Pattern.  In the essay, Berry describes three kinds of solutions to the “problems of our time.” The first, he writes, is the solution that causes “a ramifying series of new problems.” A modern example can be found in energy-efficient lightbulbs that attempt to solve the problem of carbon emissions, but leach mercury into landfills when disposed of. The second type of solution is “that which immediately worsens the problem it is intended to solve.” Berry gives the example of attempting to fix compacted soil with a tractor whose weight further compacts the soil. Bringing in a bigger tractor only makes the situation worse. The third type of solution, the type that Berry

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Balancing Needs and Potential

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Many, including the United Nations, have lauded the city of Curitiba, Brazil as being a leading model for ecological urban development and planning.  In addition, a multitude of Curitban civic planning policies are now being replicated in different cities around the world. What has received less attention in Curitiba’s storied success, however, is the unique place‐based visioning process that their civic leaders developed. Every morning, the mayor and his core team of planners would meet in a log cabin retreat in the middle of a forested city park. There, according to one of the planners, they worked only “on what (was) fundamental, on what would affect a large number of people and could create change for the better.” Then, in the afternoons, they would return to city hall to meet with their constituents and to deal with the city’s day‐to‐day needs.

Developmental Economies® Emerge from Story of Place®

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Carol Sanford and Joel Glanzberg on Chautauqua, KVNF, Public Radio. We explore the meaning of Story of Place® in creating Developmental Economies® and regenerating communities. “Developmental Economies®” (DE) involve the Business community in a different and more effective way. DE is a way of improving the vitality and viability of existing business and creating and incubator for new businesses that extend the uniqueness of the region and its “vocation”. Every PLACE has a uniqueness and out of that comes an opportunity to create unique value-adding (rather than value-added) offerings that cannot be copied and as a result become valued in the region and beyond for their uniqueness and distinctiveness that mirrors the PLACE itself. The cities where this has happened, for examples Portland OR, Curitiba, Brazil, have increased greatly the wealth and prosperity of a place and overcome the hazards that traditional economic development causes. It also makes a more

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