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Health as a holistic pattern and a qualitative indicator of regeneration

“Sustainability is a relationship between dynamic human economic systems and larger, dynamic, but normally slower-changing ecological systems, such that human life can continue indefinitely, human individuals can flourish, and human cultures can develop — but also a relationship in which the effects of human activities remain within bounds so as not to destroy the health and integrity of self-organizing systems that provide the environmental context for these activities.”

— Bryan Norton (in Costanza, Norton & Haskell edits., 1992, p.25)

“Because this whole system is in fact one system, only divided by our minds and by the myopia which is called education, there is another simple term which synthesizes the degree to which an invention is creative and accomplishes a creative fitting. And this is the presence of health”

— McHarg, 1970

“Health is a term for the aesthetic understanding of complexity. There is a thread connecting biodiversity, cultural diversity and economic diversity. This is the metaphorical understanding of the health of a complex dynamic system. This is an idea that few of us will ever be able to conceptualise in detail, but I think that many of us are beginning to sense in terms of aesthetic pattern. The relative health of a landscape, an organism, the health of a system, even the health of a technological construct, is a material problem of diverse complexity. … The perception of health is a relative term, it requires intimate knowledge over a period of time and a caring critical attention. In turn, a lack of health can be described in terms of emergent dominant systems that mitigate the constraint of diversity. Diversity is healthy expression and perception is an integrative, dialogic concept. This concept departs from the autonomous object of classical aesthetics, defined as unity, regularity, simplicity, proportion, balance, measure and definiteness. Within the aesthetic perception of diversity lie systemic relationship, dynamism, complexity, symbiosis, contradiction to measurement and indefinite and procreative vitality. I believe that an aesthetic of diversity is emergent but not yet cogent. It is a theoretical view with an experiential basis that must be identified and pursued by many. It will not be captured in terms of a singular theory, a definite practice or primary authorship.”

— Timothy Collins, 2004, p. 172

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures

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