Utrecht, Netherlands

The Regenerative City

when 20 July 2024 - 27 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 800

Regeneration is quickly becoming a trend in farming, finance, ecology, urban development and social change. For cities and living (eco)systems to thrive they require the capacity to regenerate, and adapt to change. But how do we ‘do’ regeneration at the scale of landscapes, place, communities and systems? This course brings together pioneers of this way of working and offers expertise on supporting disciplines in ecology, finance, governance, economy, and community.

This program is offered by the Honours College, EWUU Alliance, and Academy of Place

How would we develop our cities and countryside such that they support all life? That question guides our action research in the ecological corridor of the Amsterdam Wester Scheg that bridges urban life and countryside between Amsterdam and the North sea. It is home to some of the lowest polders in the Netherlands, has the largest diversity of species and cultures, and has the last fertile soil of the city. Many of the great challenges of the city come together in this place. The food transition, land enclosure, climate adaptation, disadvantaged communities, to name but a few. Meanwhile the city densifies, data- and distributions centres sprawl through the land, and families and farmers are trying to find ways to make ends meet.

Building local capacity for renewal and vitality go hand in hand with the need to navigate the increasing pressures of the global market, climate change, or social inequality. What practices do we have at our disposal to navigate these pressures and develop life affirming interventions? How do we make sense of place in its different dimensions and dynamics? What is our role and place in such complex and large challenges?

This course gives you an approach to regenerative development, provides the tools and frameworks to navigate play based work, and offers a regenerative leadership approach for change.

We will be weaving connections between stakeholders, deepening our understanding of place, and strengthening our community & personal leadership.


You are invited to take a role in leading certain activities in the course. As a community of practice we share the space of learning, and this participatory form of learning creates immediate experience in the work of regenerative practice. Working in community allows the programme to embody principles and practices that are essential in Regenerative Development.
Experience-Based Learning

Our approach is rooted in hands-on, place and project-based learning. We will work on places, projects and initiatives brought in by you, the participants, allowing for an integration of theory and practice that resonates with your reality. This approach also creates a rich learning environment where insights from diverse projects illuminate universal principles of regenerative development.
Why Should You Attend?

The Regenerative City offers an opportunity to contribute to the creation of more resilient, sustainable, and vibrant regions and communities. This course not only offers the chance to network and collaborate with like-minded students and professionals but also provides valuable resources and tools to aid in your professional journey.

Course leader

Dr. Thieu Besselink

Target group

This is an intergenerational programme, blending master students and up with practitioners that work with place-based development in landscapes, communities, cities, and regions.

Master students
Practitioners: for instance government officials, consultants, Place-makers, ecosystem restoration workers, community builders, educators or other professionals that wish to work on the regeneration of place, society and self.

Course aim


Know what makes a place or region flourish and where to start;
Have a foundational understanding of frameworks and approaches to regenerative development;
Know how to identify the right scale for intervention and regeneration (site, community, place, (bio)region);
Know how to understand the complex social, economic, ecological and cultural dynamics of place as a whole
Use specific kinds of mapping to deal with the complexity of place
Know how to leverage the assets of place for its regeneration
Know how to build a field of multi-sector collaboration and build strong relationships and communities for change
Have developed practices for personal and community leadership in regenerative work
Learn to navigate the tensions caused by the large societal challenges and transitions (in energy, food, water, inequality, ecology etc), both in our own lives and in the unique context of a place
Have worked with experienced (bio)regional regeneration practitioners;
Have learned from the experience of a cooperative science, art, and urban farming community and its regional stakeholders in the Amsterdam polders;
Have become part of a living community of practice.

Fee info

EUR 800: Course fee: €800.00
Student fee: €350.00
Included: Course + course materials + lunch
Housing fee: €250
Housing provider: Utrecht Summer School