Role of Regenerative Design for a Circular Economy and Beyond

Abstract: The goal of sustainability has become more than simply reducing harm to the environment and neutralizing the effects of climate change. It has broadened to include economic, social, and environmental impacts and create sustainable value for all stakeholders. The Circular Economy has been suggested as a model to utilize resources better, and move away from the take-make-dispose practices and as a pathway to enable more sustainable development. The Circular Economy also incorporates the ideas of restoration (taking the environment back to an acceptable or original state) and regeneration (improving the environment’s state beyond its original condition) in its approach. Regenerative design is another concept whose goal is adopting a whole systems approach to devise a design that allows all system components to flourish and improve, in harmony with the environment. Still, research in regenerative design has mainly focused on architecture and building design, with no emphasis on how the concept can be applied to product design. This paper first presents a review of the regenerative design concept, comparing and contrasting its principles with the Circular Economy concept. It will then explore how one can utilize regenerative design concepts for product design and examine its application to a few example consumer products. Areas for further research and development as well as using the regenerative design concept to move beyond the Circular Economy will also be presented.

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