Islands as case studies for bioregional regeneration
The Planet Drum Foundation (1973) described a bioregion as
“a distinct area with coherent and interconnected plant and animal communities, and natural systems, often defined by a watershed. A bioregion is a whole “life-place” with unique requirements for human inhabitation so that it will not be disrupted and injured”.
There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for Salutogenic Cities within regenerative bioregional economies. If we aim to implement this vision we have to do so in deep connection to a place and its people. Regenerative practice aims to help manifest the unique essence of people and place and enable their contribution to improved health. To find this essence we need to pay attention to the ‘story of place’ (Regenesis Group) and work from the potential of people and place rather than fall into the habits of ‘problem solving’ in a piece meal fashion.
Regeneration starts with personal development, including individual and collective capacity building. This, in turn, creates a culturally creative field effect that reorientates our ‘doing’ and ‘being’ toward the process of ‘unveiling’ or ‘manifesting’ latent potential sourced out of the bio-cultural uniqueness of each place.
I believe, working with cities to transform them into Salutogenic processes and weaving the complex cross-sector, multi-stakeholder collaborations that are necessary for bioregional regeneration requires us to work patiently over the long term. Initially we need to pay less attention to the physical design decisions or infrastructural changes that are clearly required and focus instead on patiently nurturing the emergence of regenerative cultural expressions — isolated at first and then woven into an infectious story and evolving network of deep relationships between people and place.
Culturally creative work is rooted in co-creative practice. This includes: working with people, inviting them into dialogue, education and capacity building, awareness raising, creating public spaces where people can explore the questions they hold about their children’s future and the future of their place, listening deeply to their stories and how the place speaks through them, and paying close attention to what wants to emerge.
I moved to Mallorca in late 2010 to begin my own process of re-inhabitation: to grow roots, community connection and create a home for my family while aiming to be of service to this place and its people. I did so in part because of the unique opportunity that islands present to work on bioregional regeneration. It helps that their boundaries are so clearly defined. After 10 years, I feel positive that we have connected a sufficient diversity of locally committed people into an emerging culture of regeneration that the next decade will be marked by surprising systemic transformations stemming in part from these collective efforts.
Each place and each culture is different. Here on Mallorca, turning Palma into a Salutogenic city to enable regional regeneration also requires engaging the tourism industry that affects 80% of the island’s economy into a conversation about ‘regenerative tourism’ [This was written before a global pandemic destroyed the global tourism industry overnight].
An important part of working regeneratively — practicing Salutogenic design — is to re-perceive what is framed as a problem as a potential solution pathway. Every day there are more of us asking the central question:
How can we enable a culturally creative process of engagement — between people and with this place — in ways that manifest the potential of this city-region to become Salutogenic by enhancing the capacity of everyone to find and express their unique essence and contribute to systemic health and regeneration?
Note: this was the final sub-chapter of a longer book chapter I wrote for the edition of Urban Hub 20 (see page 37–45):
More on Mallorca as a test-field for long-term bioregional regeneration:
Regenerative culture and the future of Mallorca (Bioregional Regeneration)
Interview by David Holzer first published by Charles Marlow (link)
Designing for positive emergence (Majorca as a case study)
[…]The last three sections on ethics, aesthetics and complexity might seem theoretical, but, as we saw earlier, to…
Tourism as a catalyst for regional regeneration & climate resilience
Keynote at the Travel to Tomorrow Summit — Bruges, Sept. 2019
The Regenerative Practitioner comes to Europe
Daniel Wahl interviews Pamela Mang about a unique blended-learning opportunity offered by the Regenesis Group
Regionally focussed Circular Biomaterials Economies: An Idea whose time has come!
There is a lot of talk about the circular economy these days. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has done an excellent job…
The resurgence of a culture of makers: re-localizing production
One way to empower local communities and their regional economies to manifest their visions of a better future is to…
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Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures
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