Crafting a Regenerative World, One Building at a Time

The ways in which we design our cities, public spaces, and buildings can reflect our overall attitudes about justice, accessibility, and environmental stewardship. Are these spaces designed, for example, to work with or in opposition to the natural world? Are they designed to foster community harmony and collaboration? Are they designed with all of the space’s stakeholders in mind? Forward-thinking designers and architects are fostering a movement that recognizes the built environment as so much more than siloed artistry.

This week, we celebrate the ideas of leaders — including Jason McLennan, Kongjian Yu, and Deanna Van Buren — who exemplify how the built environment, when thoughtfully created, can benefit people, communities, and ecosystems.

JUST A REMINDER! We released videos of all Bioneers keynote presentations this week. You can browse them all here. Don’t forget to share your favorites with your community.

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Jason McLennan – From Reconciliation to Regeneration

Sixteen years ago Jason F. McLennan launched the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most progressive and advanced green building program, to show that our buildings could serve as one of the key paths toward a regenerative future. Since then, numerous Living Buildings that demonstrate a better, more inspiring way of living and working have been built around the world. Although these projects create ripples of change and are living proof of regeneration in action, and in spite of these and other great models, we continue to build and live in ways that degrade the planet. Why? Jason McLennan explores why physical demonstrations of better solutions are not enough to create change when society has not grappled with its deeper systemic trauma. If we are to participate fully in regenerating the conditions for life on the planet, a deeper process of reconciliation is necessary. To heal the planet, Jason argues, we must fundamentally heal our culture.

Watch here.

Kongjian Yu – “Sponge Cities”: Visionary, Nature-Based Urban Design from China

What if cities were designed so that they could absorb excess rainfall, neutralize floods, and turn their streets green and beautiful in the process? Kongjian Yu is doing just that, as he will report from China. This award-winning leader in ecological urbanism and landscape architecture, and founder of the planning and design firm, Turenscape in Beijing, has become world-renowned for his “sponge cities” and other revolutionary nature-based solutions. These approaches are being implemented in well over 200 cities in China and beyond. Yu’s extraordinary city-wide systems of stormwater-retaining ponds, wetlands, and parks draw from both ancient Chinese hydrological wisdom and cutting-edge design to offer the whole world a model of inspired climate adaptation in an era of rising seas and extreme rainfall events.

Watch here.

Designing and Building a Regenerative, Restorative, and Just World, One Building at a Time

Our laughably inefficient buildings account for some 40% of all U. S. primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, our built environment also very often sickens, oppresses and alienates the humans who inhabit it. In this historic session, Bioneers is thrilled to be able to bring together for the first time two of the most visionary architects of our time, who, coming on very different career paths, are both at the forefront of radically expanding our sense of what a truly healthy, nature-honoring and socially equitable built environment could look like. Deanna Van Buren, the co-founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, is a leading figure in the movement to build “restorative” infrastructure that addresses in its very design the root causes of mass incarceration—poverty, racism, unequal access to resources, and the criminal justice system itself. Jason McLennan, arguably the most influential “green” architect of our era, has set a high bar, showing us what truly “living,” genuinely regenerative buildings can be. Can these two very different but equally imperative re-visionings of how we rethink the built environment be reconciled/synthesized?

Watch here.

We are gratified to share with you our program accomplishments in 2021. Over the past year, the Indigeneity Program continued to be flexible in light of the second year of the ongoing pandemic, shifting our areas of focus to respond to real time contexts and needs. We used this time as an opportunity to focus on creating accessible media, reaching more people than ever before, as well as provide COVID relief in the second year of the Indigiving mutual aid campaign.

Read the report.

NOW AVAILABLE! Nature, Culture & the Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership, 2nd Ed.

We are excited to announce that the second edition of Nina Simons’ book, Nature, Culture & the Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership, is now on sale! Nature, Culture & the Sacred offers practical guidance and inspiration for anyone who aspires to grow into their own unique form of leadership on behalf of positive change. Join Nina on an inspiring journey to shed self-limiting beliefs, lead from the heart and discover beloved community as you cultivate your own flourishing and liberation.

Get your copy.

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