Regenerative design is a process-oriented, systems theory-based approach to design. The term "regenerative" describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Regenerative design is the bio-mimicry of ecosystems that provide for all human systems to function as a closed viable ecological and economics system for all industries. Such designs look at healthcare environments as buildings to be designed with inherent capability to become net resource generators rather than resource consumers. Moving from a built environment that “degenerates” natural capital to one that restores or “regenerates” is akin to moving beyond a hospital simply doing “no harm” to a ZOSLU building that “heals”— a perfect metaphor for the healthcare sector. Regenerative design offers a global vision for a resilient and restorative healthcare delivery system, one in which ZOSLUs situate themselves within the ecology of their communities and act as a force for healing that contributes to a stronger, fairer and cleaner economy. The health sector should not need to argue against the position that delivering high quality healthcare necessarily requires wastage and intense energy consumption, or that saving lives is somehow outside of broader ecosystems and ecological concerns. Indeed, the healthcare sector is in a pivotal position to lead the twenty-first century reintegration of environment, health, and economic prosperity. By critically reinventing the hospital as a regenerative place of healing, the healthcare sector can signal a new relationship to healing and health.