Dec 31

What is regenerative Design?

Today there is a lot of talk about sustainability, about climate neutrality, a circular and green economy … But perhaps you have asked yourself what is sustainability actually? Perhaps you already know the term, but you are wondering, is it enough to be sustainable or do we have to go one step further?

Well, that’s the goal of regenerative design. In reality, that doesn’t mean just one step forward, but several. But before we talk about regenerative design, let’s start with sustainability.


What is sustainability?

In 1972 the Club of Rome published the “Limits to Growth” report. This study is considered to be the cornerstone and basis of the current sustainability debate. In the report of the Brundtland Commission of 1987 “Our Common Future” it says specifically:

“Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In 1994 J. Elkington outlined the concept of the Triple Impact, also known as the three pillars concept. It includes the economic perspective (Proft), the ecological perspective (Planet) and the social perspective (People).

In 2015 in New York the United Nations adopted a global agenda for sustainable development: the 2030 Agenda. The challenge for the economies of the 21st century is to make them sustainable. The sustainable development goals, the SDGs, were also mentioned there.


A total of 17 goals that define the key areas for sustainable development. Many initiatives have emerged from this, many companies have committed themselves to achieving the SDGs and many instruments have emerged to tackle them, such as the SDG Compass.

Nevertheless, from a regenerative point of view, the SDGs are like a basis from which we start, but they cannot be the end. If we want regeneration, we have to reproduce natural processes and implement them in designs. Designs of companies, houses, organizations, cities and more.


How can we define regeneration?

“Reconstruction that a living organism itself makes from its lost or damaged parts.”

This means that our “sustainability” techniques should work like nature itself.

We can see it even more clearly in the graphic. If we assume sustainability (the middle), the next step is restoration. Here humans intervene to improve nature, e.g. an artificial nature reserve. But one step further is regeneration, in which people do things like nature or even let nature do its own thing through good desig



A recently developed economic model that is much discussed in this regard in order to create a regenerative economy and society is the “DOUGHNUT” economy.

The donut or donut economy is a visual framework for sustainable development in the form of a donut or lifebuoy that combines the concept of planetary boundaries with the complementary concept of social boundaries. The name is derived from the shape of the diagram, i.e. a disk with a hole in the middle.

The ecological problems and the importance of a social base become clear. Only in the donut do we have a regenerative and sustainable society for the future.

Permaculture design is also a regenerative technique, and perhaps the most important. The concept originally comes from agriculture, but can be applied to all aspects of human life. In this context, perhaps the most interesting are:

  • The regenerative house
  • The regenerative company
  • The regenerative farm
  • The regenerative city

A common case in permaculture is designing a house. We know that a poorly designed house can cause a lot of problems. This is called the sick house syndrome. From building materials like asbestos to very high energy consumption (like fever), these are just two examples of how a house can cause problems and disease. Now the sick house can be healed with a regenerative design. For example, we can use materials of biological origin such as hemp cement or use our infrastructures to set up solar panels and generate our own energy.

We also use a lot of water every day. They assume a family of 4. They shower every day, do the dishes, wash clothes, go to the bathroom, etc. Everything is used with water. Now, if we are left with gray wastewater, we can recycle it and use it for irrigation or to create productive aquaculture.

Another area where regenerative design is very effective is in forests and agricultural land. This technology could also be used in cities. Forest gardens in particular could play a decisive role in the fight against climate change in the future.

What is a food forest?

A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature.”

Through the use of permaculture and the acceleration of ecological succession, it is possible to create ecosystems in the succession stage in front of the primeval forest that represent real orchards with a very high production both of products of human interest and in the form of ecosystem services. They are, without a doubt, the type of agriculture that is best in harmony with nature.

Here are some of the many products that could be generated:


  • Food
  • Spices
  • Fuel
  • Medicine
  • Construction materials
  • Resins
  • Oils
  • Fibers
  • Bee products
  • Deseaster prevention
  • Co2 sequestration
  • Integrative livestock management

At Seeds For Sustainability, we are committed to regenerative design, both in business and with the earth. We want to sow the seeds that will enable people, societies and the planet to regenerate at the same time. Our mission is to provide regenerative solutions for a sustainable and healthy society.



If you would like to know more or would like to know how to implement a regenerative design in your home, project or company, do not hesitate to contact us.



Dr. Philipp B. Schuster

  • Founder For Sustainability
  • Consultant and Profesor

Connect with me on LINKEDIN


Would you like to learn regenerative techniques?

We have several courses that might interest you.

Online Course: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)  

Online Course   The Food Forest  


Would you like to find out how you can manage your company more sustainably or get certified as a Circular Economy Manager?

Then register for one of our courses on sustainable and regenerative economics.


Keywords: Permaculture, Regenerative Leadership, Regeneration, Sustainability, SDGs, Agenda2030, Circular Economy, Doughnut Economics,



  1. Salvador Mayorga (required)
    Monday January 3rd, 2022 at 02:05 PM ·

    Great Job! Thanks

  2. Franz callisaya poma
    Thursday January 13th, 2022 at 11:32 AM ·

    Interesante el.articulo. me gustaría recibir mayor informacion

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