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About Regeneration

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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.

Substantive Terrain of Regenerative StudiesRecognizing 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.

Faculty Discourse on Regeneration (select)

Refer to faculty bios for full list of faculty publications.

Brown, Kyle D. 2008. "The Future of Regenerative Studies as a Field of Inquiry." An unpublished paper presented at the Lyle Center Faculty Seminar in Regenerative Studies.

Brown, Kyle D. 2009. "A Better World through Regenerative Studies?  Implications of this Hefty Obligation on Education, Research and Outreach." An unpublished paper presented at the Lyle Center Faculty Seminar in Regenerative Studies.

Young, Terence. 2009. "In Gaia’s Garden: Reflections on John Lyle’s Approach to Protected Areas." An unpublished paper presented at the Lyle Center Faculty Seminar in Regenerative Studies.

Literary Informants of Regenerative Studies

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.

Student Work in Substantive Areas of Regenerative Studies (select)

Cultural Ecology Terrain in RSCultural Ecology. Focuses on social, cultural and/or behavioral issues and emphasizes the role of collective human knowledge beliefs and practices involved in the adoption, creation and/or resistance to Regenerative living solutions


Jusay, Anthony. 2008. Cogs, hubs, and links : social bicycling in Los Angeles. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Rezvan, Azita. 2008. Regenerating semi-open spaces in Iranian house architecture. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Serra, Madalena. 2007. Characteristics of solid waste associated with land based tourism on Caribbean islands. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.


Sustainable Building Terrain in RSSustainable Shelter & Building Systems. Involves the investigation, development and testing of new or emerging technologies for the creation of a sustainable built environment.



Issertes-Carbonnier, Eric-Valentin. 2010. Autonomous Fluidized Building Envelopes. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Swick, Jonah. 2006. Comparisons of thermal comfort between a superadobe dome test cell and a wood-framed test cell using passive energy strategies. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

West, Matthew. 2008. Implementing papercrete in a low cost housing prototype for Tijuana, Mexico. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.


Environmental Modeling Terrain in RSEnvironmental Modeling & Analysis. Focuses on the investigation development and testing of models for Ecological Analysis, as well as the application of existing modeling techniques to new areas of interest in Regenerative Studies.


Kent, Douglas. 2006. The average residential landscape : a tool for determining four sustainability attributes of an average residential landscape within Southern California. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Meux, Brian. 2008. Emergy input analysis of Santa Monica BayKeeper's kelp restoration project. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Selwitz, Jason. 2007. Analysis of water treatment performed by selected strains of microalgae with characterization of oils yielded from the resulting biomass. Thesis (M.S.)--California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.