MDes Open Project: Framing Regenerative Futures

Framing Regenerative Futures is a platform to critically examine contemporary challenges to settlement and society and then, in collective and individual work, to create imaginative concepts that look beyond today’s adaptive solutions to project new structures, strategies, and scenarios. In four one-week workshop-labs, student teams will pose questions and propose future models of landscape ecology, alternative economies, equitable forms of governance, and urban spatial pattern. This will be the basis for individuals or pairs of students to develop their own regenerative design and planning research projects. The work will be collaborative, yet each student will develop their individual voice. Rather than a fixed design project, the work will explore different forms of design research putting forward critical questions and scenarios.

Two overarching ideas are offered for students to challenge, affirm, or further develop: regenerative design and development which seeks to build the capacity of living and mineral systems, and co-evolution which gives equal status to the needs of both the environment and urban development.

In the workshop-labs of Part 1, student teams will produce a research question, a proposition, and an annotated bibliography. In Part 2, students working as individuals or pairs will first develop their own research through stages of Discovery and Framing in which the scope of the work is set out (2 weeks). In Focus, Definition, and Scenarios this work will be refined through the production of an abstract, methodology, and prospective scenarios (3 weeks). In Part 3, Evaluation, Dissemination, and Communication, students will provide critical input for each other, conceive of an effective presentation reflecting the aims of the cohort, and imagine further research (three weeks).

The work may take the form of new hybrid ecologies, experimental socio-economic models, propositions for governance and policy, and urban and landscape spatial design. Framing Regenerative Futures is devised so that the instructor and syllabus lead the first half of the semester. In the second half, course structure may adapt to the direction and needs of the student project work. The collaborative, critically supportive, and self-governing experience of the cohort will build the confidence to experiment.

Please see the MDes Open Project Website for more information.