Biophilic Design, Regenerative Design, and Equity An Intersection

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Anne Debertin


This research studies how equity can exist at the intersection of regenerative and biophilic design strategies within an affordable housing model. Regenerative and biophilic design are both human and planet centered models of ethical architectural practice, promoting equity for both. In the three case studies presented, design strategies were examined through the context of Terrapin’s Fourteen Patterns of Biophilic Design as well as the Living Building Challenge design guide for regenerative design. The analysis revealed that equity can operate through place, a Living Building Challenge imperative, as well as through connection to natural systems, a Terrapin pattern. The case studies were selected from three contrasting climates: cold Minneapolis, MN; temperate Santa Monica, CA; and hot El Paso, TX, and each was analyzed in the context of the Living Building Challenge Imperatives ecology of the place, urban agriculture, and energy; as well as the Terrapin Patterns visual connection to nature, material connection to nature, and refuge. Each one proved intricately connected to place by its specific regenerative and biophilic design strategies, as well as honored its respective natural systems. Thus, place and connection to natural systems have the potential to act as conduits to human and planetary equity.

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Architecture and Design