During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been going through a veritable global ‘vulnerability experience’, ultimately revealing the interconnectedness of both global and local challenges such as health, pollution and climate change, biodiversity, and food and energy supply. The pandemic has prompted us to rethink the way our cities are designed in order to promote future-proof models that are in harmony with the local conditions and our planet’s boundaries.
Any visionary role model of a city, however, is only as successful as it suggests clear transition pathways. This paper intends to show that the concept of a ‘regenerative city’ is such a model. Furthermore, it seeks to encourage to look at transitional trajectories ahead, be it in the food, energy, transport or health sector, from the implementational level of a city government. The regenerative city not only preserves the capacities and capabilities of ecosystems, but actively restores them by establishing closed, efficient and consistent material cycles between the city and the surrounding area.
At the same time, the regenerative city is not only aimed at the regeneration of resources and the efficiency of ecosystems, it also has to regenerate its public spaces and built environments in a human-centred fashion, rather than centred on individual car use. One of the determining factors of a regenerative city aiming for greater resilience will be whether or not it is able to establish a restorative relationship with its environment, its hinterlands, and build a circular metabolism of goods.
This article has been originally published in Henry Stewart Publications (Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal Volume 15 Number 2).