The world needs regenerative design and the radical re-assessment of values it demands. Sustainable design is no longer enough. Regenerative design goes beyond conventional sustainable design. Sustainability is about reducing harmful negatives; regenerative design is a positive approach that restores ecosystems, builds resilient communities, generates more clean energy than we use, and makes buildings and products that instead of using less carbon, actually positively take carbon out of the atmosphere.
Chinese traditions, both in ancient beliefs about the unity of humanity and nature, and the building crafts for wooden construction which are undergoing a modern resurgence, have already laid the foundations for the new attitudes inherent in regenerative design.
We come to ‘redesigning design’. Having worked for a generation to respond to the sustainability imperative, designers are now grappling with a whole new mode of thought; regenerative design demands ‘systems thinking’, the new version of ‘design thinking’. It sees us humans as part of the natural system, and we design as part of nature, to create resilient and equitable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature. We don’t do things to nature, taking from it; we design with it, giving back what we take and balancing the system.
In 2021 the three editions of the Forum for the Design Shanghai family – in Shanghai in June, Beijing in September and Shenzhen in December – will explore different aspects of this huge cultural shift. The Design Shanghai Forum is proud to represent thought leadership – and present thought leaders – from both Chinese and global design. You cannot afford to miss it.
Aidan Walker, Forum Programme Director, Design Shanghai / Design China Beijing / Design Shenzhen