The Pixar pitch: How story moves the mind and changes how we see

The Pixar pitch: How story moves the mind and changes how we see

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It is almost becoming a cliché when discussing regenerative or living systems design that we need to stop seeing the world as discrete objects and start seeing, and working with it as dynamic and moving.  A central focus of the Regenerative Practitioner series is learning how to make that mental shift.  Dynamic systems frameworks are one instrument utilized by Regenesis to that end.  Another powerful instrument is story or narrative. Shifting how we see a project we’re working on from a cluster of objects to a dynamic living process moving through time is a powerful source of insight and creative energy. Shifting our way of seeing is just the first step however.  The next big challenge comes in engaging others in a way that they can see, and be equally energized by, what you are seeing. Daniel Pink’s latest book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, describes

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Degenerative Habits of Mind: Changing thinking patterns that block regenerative practices

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You want to integrate regenerative design into your practice. You know, from all you’ve read and heard, that it requires a “different way of thinking,” a new world-view, and you’ve read the lists of attributes for both. So now what? At Regenesis, we’ve spent a lot of time helping people shift the way they think, and we fully appreciate the challenges that involves. The way we think is shaped by patterns that we’ve been taught or picked up over the course of our lives, patterns that are deeply embedded in our culture and institutions. Over time, these patterns have become increasingly interdependent and self-reinforcing and, most problematic, increasingly habitual because they are invisible to us. If we want to change how we think, the first step must be to make visible the patterns that currently shape our thinking. Only then can we decide which are useful when, and which condemn

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Putting Regeneration to Work: the how of regenerative development

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There’s a lot of buzz about regeneration in the design, building and planning world these days. A special issue of the prestigious Building Research and Information journal (Regenerative Design and Development) is adding to that buzz, along with the 2013 Living Future unConference (Resilience & Regeneration). But in all that’s being written, talked about and presented, there’s a lot about the what of regeneration, but very little about the how. For working practitioners interested in the how, finding comprehensive, integrated learning opportunities designed to fit their work constraints is a major challenge. To address this growing void, Regenesis is launching a regenerative learning community for people who are passionate about pioneering the evolution of how we create and inhabit our built environment. The first offering is an invitational, hands-on, live distance-learning series—The Regenerative PractitionerTM. Ready to go beyond just talking about regeneration to putting it to work? You can find

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Welcome (back) to Edge::Regenerate

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New beginnings are such hopeful times, filled with the belief that somehow all those behaviors that defined the past have been transformed or, at minimum, will slink off into the shadows and leave space for the better self we promise to be.  So, with all the requisite hopes, this post marks a new beginning for Edge::Regenerate. Our first run lasted 12 months, and we came away with a healthy respect for the discipline required to post fresh new thinking week after week. Why the new beginning now? Edge::Regenerate is taking on new purpose with the new initiative we’ve just launched at Regenesis. We’re stepping into the distance-learning world–our first offering an invitational series titled The Regenerative PractitionerTM, with the ultimate aim of growing a regenerative learning community. We’ll be writing more about that soon.  In the meantime, our original welcome seems still relevant so we’ve re-posted it below. Welcome to Edge : : Regenerate.

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What is a regenerative development—really?

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The idea of regeneration has clearly caught hold in the building and community development world. It’s starting to show up everywhere. But how can we tell whether a project is or will be regenerative? In embracing the term, are we in danger of demeaning its power if we don’t fully understand it?  Is it just green building at its best—carbon neutrality; 100% renewable energy, all recycled materials? Or is it more, and if so what? At Regenesis, we see it as not just “more”, but actually a different order of working, one that strives for a different order of effect.  For example, a regenerative project, or community must, at minimum, manifest all four of these qualitative attributes. Inspirational — Regenerative projects inspire because they play meaningful, contributing roles within the larger human and natural communities in which they’re embedded.  Equally important, they  provide meaningful roles, creating opportunities for all participants

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Planning for Regenerative Communities Requires New Premises

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While we are hearing more and more about regenerative design, less attention has been paid to how community planning must shift.  Traditionally, community planning efforts have been organized around managing different societal functions—job creation, transportation, housing, habitat protection, etc. as a way of creating economic development, environmental protection or community revitalization. They have largely been conducted as if these facets of life were unrelated to each other.  Where more than one facet has been considered, the goals that were not the primary driver have normally been treated as background constraints, e.g., to advance economic development with minimum harm to the environment. The push to create “sustainable cities” has added goals around carbon emissions and energy efficiency without changing this pattern–a pattern that presents serious barriers to community sustainability, let alone regeneration. There is growing evidence that this fragmented approach to planning is failing. Urban centers are feeling overwhelmed by the

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When a conference is more than a conference

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I spent last week at Gaining Ground’s Resilient Cities conference in Vancouver, BC.  Four years ago, Gene Miller—founder of this remarkable conference series, drew Bill Reed and me into a series of conversations about his new vision for conferences, one that broke away from the talking heads phenomenon to actually foster dialogue and thinking. A radical thought! I’d long before given up on conferences, finding most to be about “thoughting not thinking”—promoting old thoughts vs. developing new thinking. Gene’s vision, and his passion for promoting urban sustainability when it was barely a blip on the horizon overcame my reluctance. So when asked to present at this year’s conference, the 6th in the series, I didn’t hesitate. Once again, the range of subject material was rich and deep.  But while most people will remember the content, it was the process design that really caught and captured my attention and admiration. Gene

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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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Guest Post: Paula Baker-LaPorte on CFLs

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The following is by Architect Paula Baker-LaPorte, a recognized authority on healthy homes.  She addresses the unanticipated consequences of the rapid and widespread adoption of CFLs.  It, along with the rush to corn-based ethanol, are perfect examples of the fallout–both the hazards and the loss of potential from failure to pursue more systemic solutions, of narrowly focusing on single target variables like fossil fuel consumption. Confessions of a CFL detractor To declare that I am against the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and still call myself an environmentalist seems, in today’s green world, to be an oxymoron. More than any other consumer item, the CFL has come to represent the green movement. The arguments in their favor are compelling. They use 1/3 to 1/5 the electricity of incandescent bulbs. Because they last from 6,000 to 15,000 hours, compared to the incandescent bulb’s 750 to 1,000 hours, the initial

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Getting Climate Change Programs Right…we’re not there yet.

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Climate Change is beginning to look like a real movement—front page news instead of weekend science columns; multiple new conferences and publications; new and newly converted organizations getting on the bandwagon. Stimulus programs have made it a resource magnet, sending local governments scurrying to find projects under its umbrella. Even the companies we loved to hate are putting out ads assuring us they too are on the job fighting climate change. This is finally beginning to look like an unstoppable train—which means it is even more important to make sure we’re on the right track. But early signs are raising some serious concerns that old patterns are pulling us in the wrong direction.