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November 22, 2021 - 12:00am EST


Regenaissance: Art Inspiring a Regenerative Future

Co-authored by Future of Cities and Design Science Studio

We have faced numerous pivotal events throughout history that have forced behavioral changes. The “Black Death” plague was one of these events: deadly sickness and the absence of advanced technology preceded the rebirth era. The Renaissance was an era of change. It led to the rise of inspiring ideas, flourishing art, and the reinvention of principles and social structures. 

Today, we can draw parallels with the “Black Death” Plague and Covid19: a deadly virus that has forced a global reawakening in all aspects of life. The virus caused us to re-evaluate how we interact, build, and relate to nature.  Covid19 has caused us to recognize that the status quo is not working. We have spiraled into a generation of over industrialization, othering, and environmental degradation. We need to re-evaluate our systemic relationships from our urban systems to our larger ecosystems and make these sustainable.

We are living with failing social, ecological, and economic systems that call for a sustainable rebirth. 

We need a movement that disrupts the failing status quo. A movement that nurtures the rethinking of our governance and energy sources, reinventing our built environment, and more importantly, recapturing the ethos of our civilization. We need a movement that recognizes the importance of life-centered design and how it is a necessity; a new era of rebirth, The Regenaissance, one that fosters systems of radical change. Visionaries, designers, artists, and people of all walks of life need to come together to fuel this new narrative, as no one is left behind.

The Regenaissance will inspire a collective effort towards regenerative design and systems thinking. This means understanding that everything in our world is interconnected and that we should design systems understanding how changes in one part affects the others. Our current apparatus encourages the survival of the fittest mentality that we need to rid ourselves of. We need to embrace a cross-system collaboration to improve the quality of life and regeneration of societal resources. The Regenaissance will use regenerative placemaking as a tool to foster self-sustaining ecological, social, and economic systems through local co-creation. 

Our society needs to abandon the practices of alienation of nature as we are seeing and feeling the consequences globally of climate change. Our resources are finite, and our generated waste is constant. The Regenaissance will feature the meaningful inclusion of nature based solutions, which means creating things inspired by nature’s design and incorporating nature into our buildings, using less concrete and more natural materials, rekindling ourselves to nature and using sustainable materials but not to greenwash our brands or institutions. It will rekindle our relationship with nature through learning from it and interweaving it into our life processes.

Design-led approaches, like art and storytelling, will present transformational and measurable change in our cities. We have witnessed the power of art in evoking action throughout history; art can inspire, unite, and reconstruct the world today. The art of the Regenaissance can help us rethink how we live, create sustainable cities, and drive collective action towards a better future.