Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies

About Regeneration

Mapping the Territory of Regenerative Studies.  Social/Cultural Studies: Anthropology, Economics, Planning, Sociology, Psychology. Agro-Ecology.  Natural Processes: Ecology, Conservation Biology, Hydrology, Geomorphology, Chemistry. Bio-Mimicry/Industrial Ecology. Technology: Engineering, Architecture & Design, Physics. Science, Technology & Society(STS).  All overlap to Regenerative Studies
Mapping the territory of Regenerative Studies at the intersection of social/cultural studies, natural processes and technology


Regenerative studies is a unique descriptor for the interdisciplinary field of inquiry concerned with a sustainable future. While closely aligned with environmental, economic and social sustainability projects, regenerative studies places emphasis on the development of community support systems which are capable of being restored, renewed, revitalized or regenerated through the integration of natural processes, community action and human behavior. It is argued that the development of regenerative systems is the most promising method for ensuring a sustainable future - not merely conserving critical natural resources, but even enhancing them over time.

Recognizing our somewhat unique approach, faculty and students at the Lyle Center are continually debating substantive and methodological foundations, as well as realms of practice for regenerative studies. Faculty have explored foundational questions through recent seminar papers and research projects; students have lent definition to the field's boundaries and the potential for practice through their thesis work and various course projects; and several important texts contribute understanding about the foundation of regenerative studies. Brown (2008) has suggested that the substantive terrain of regenerative studies may be described as the region situated between three foci of investigation: Human behavior and community processes; natural processes, and technology.

This page is intended to shed light on the field of regenerative studies as understood by the faculty and students at the Lyle Center, and provide links to important works which contribute to our understanding of the field.

Substantive and methodological foundations of regenerative studies are the subject of ongoing discussions amongst faculty and students at the Lyle Center, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The following are a list of texts identified by some as being informants to the concepts and investigations related to regenerative studies. It is by no means intended to be exhaustive.

Dryzek, John. 1997.   The Politics of the Earth:  Environmental Discourses.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Forester, John. 1999.    The Deliberative Practitioner.  Cambridge: MIT Press

Forman, Richard T.T. 1997.    Land Mosaics:  The Ecology of Landscapes and Regions.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Gabel, M., Phal, E., Shegda, R. and R. Rodale. 1986.   Regenerating America: Opportunities to Build On. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. 

Gardner, Gerald and Paul Stern. 1996.   Environmental Problems and Human Behavior.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Gliessman, Stephen. 2006.   Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems. Boca Rotan: CRC Press.

Goodland, Robert. 1995.  “The Concept of Environmental Sustainability.”    Annual Review of Ecological Systems.  26:1-24.

Graedel, T.E., and B.R. Allenby. 1995.   Industrial Ecology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Lyle, John T. 1994.   Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. New York: Wiley.

Lyle, John T. 1999.   Design for Human Ecosystems. Washington: Island Press.

McDonough, William and Michael Braungart. 2002.   Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things. New York: North Point Press.

Odum, Howard T. 1996.   Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Environmental Decision Making. New York: Wiley.

Orr, David. 2004.   The Nature of Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rodale, Robert. 1987. "The Search for Systems that Regenerate Agricultural Potential" In   Research Issues Related to Strategic Planning for United States Agriculture in a Global Setting. Bethesda, MD: Agricultural Research Institute. pp. 67-85.