Energy & Earth Sciences Environmental Studies Ethics
To deal with sets of environmental and social crises, we need a cultural and mental transformation. This MOOC is the first part of an interconnected series of four MOOCS which bring together science, design and transformative praxis as a fluid, intervention-based and synergistic process for addressing complex challenges. This is explored through broadening worldviews, reframing complexity, designing as nature, activating our minds through physical movement, and connecting with new communities. This self-study course is not actively moderated. You can view the course for free, but questions will not be answered and there is no guarantee that the content will be available or updated.

Course Details

Language English
Duration 3 weeks
Effort 2-4 hrs/week

Climate change, biodiversity loss and pan-syndemics are some of today’s most pressing complex challenges. Much of our economies and societies are exhaustive, vulnerable, and unfair. Instead, we need to actively restore and regenerate ecosystems and their services while transforming our economies to become more circular and just. We require new knowledge systems and cultures leading to transformative action as the human impact on earth needs to be fundamentally redesigned.

Scientific knowledge and reasoning are the fundamental tools to guide policy and management decisions, especially in times of crises. But the limitations of reductionist science are evident due to the lack of widespread action in addressing today's highly complex challenges, which are self-emergent, unpredictable, span across nested scales, depend on societal behavioral transitions, and lack data.

Design disciplines offer creative ways of prototyping solutions in an iterative way. Design responds to a current problem by proposing a future pathway, through a feedback exchange from praxis. Designerly praxis can benefit from science, for example by directing interventions and leveraging relationships based on quantitative data. Neither the analytical and descriptive tools of science, nor the iterative process of design alone are adequate for addressing complex challenges. Combining both cultures and methods of reasoning as a fluid, intervention-based and synergistic process is beneficial for fostering the regenerative, transformative action that is urgently required.

Therefore, this MOOC series entitled “Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems” offers four consecutive MOOCs that aim to address these urgent and complex challenges. Participants are invited on a learning journey that includes emphasis on new holistic worldviews, concepts like regeneration and resilience, befriending complexity and uncertainty, methods and hybrid practices of science and design, connecting more with our inner self, and becoming bio-regional weavers within communities of transformational learning and praxis.

This first MOOC places global crises in context with local and regional examples for planetary health. Here participants build consciousness by questioning the dominant reductionist worldviews that drive our global societies and learn ways of rethinking our relationship with nature as a holistic approach of “interbeing,” which places humans as part of the broader web of life.

What you will learn

This MOOC series is about creating positive impact in complex systems. It is about navigating complexity and uncertainty with new tools and practices, such as “organic emergence:” Complex systems are inherently dynamic and unpredictable: their properties are emergent. An organic way to engage with emergence is to trust in having the right tools and techniques to adaptively cope with sudden surprises or challenges, and to reveal hidden opportunities.

In this first MOOC "Worldviews - from sustainability to regeneration" you become conscious about dominant and alternative worldviews. You learn the roots of sustainability and the pathway to regeneration. You acquire tools to reframe complexity and befriend uncertainty. You learn to reconnect with nature and to design as nature. You gain awareness through practices of physical and mental activation via self-compassion techniques and flow experiences in nature.

Exciting real-world illustrations will take you to Hemsedal Norway, Annecy France, Ostana Italy, and Mallorca Spain. This offers a comparative understanding of communities and regions undergoing sustainability transitions across different contexts, cultures, climates and geographies.

The prominent methods you will learn are systemic design and systems-oriented design, social network analysis, resilience assessment, life cycle and footprint analysis, circularity mapping, visual dialogue, cross-scale design, “view from above” perspectives, biomimicry, transdisciplinary research, real-world elaboration, and more.

The MOOCs didactics are designed to combine time and place independent virtual learning through pre-recorded conversations, both accessible as movies and audio files, readings, and practical engagement in nature. Virtual content stimulates physical and social interaction in the bio-region of the participants. Systemic Cycles takes the participant on a conscious exploration of place and regional supply chain actors on their bicycle, to playfully learn systemic design methods, to weave together local and regional networks and to explore the inner self through physical activity. An accompanying visual mapping process called Gigamapping acts as a designerly way to co-create your own learning journey and connect across the MOOC series to your final transformative design project. Your personal QUEST guides you through your learning journey. Weekly live tutorials in an online forum offer opportunities to discuss and brainstorm with teachers.


You should

  • be curious to expand from your own expertise and life situation and open for new thinking, philosophical discourse, designerly practice, and real-world infusion.

  • come with interest and motivation to find your role in contributing to a more sustainable and regenerative world, in various ways.

  • be willing to enact within the region you live in, physically, and actively connect with various stakeholders.

  • be open to challenge yourself: mentally, physically, socially.

For MOOC 1 you need no specific further prerequisites; the didactics are designed to be accessible to a very diverse audience, for current science or engineering students in diverse disciplines, for design students, architects, landscape planners, urban planners, and also for people of praxis, for those of use who have been working for many years and who want to re-connect, expand and re-direct.


Week 1

Global crises and local solutions: The urgence for local action with regenerative cultures.

From sustainability to regeneration: Origins of sustainability. Regeneration as next societal goal.

Week 2:

Reframing complexity: Embrace and befriend complexity.

Ways of knowing and reasoning: Extended worldviews, critical science, warm data.

Week 3:

Design as nature: New design principles and practices.

Mind and movement: Physical and mental activation.

Course instructors

Tobias Luthe

Professor at ETH Zurich, AHO Oslo, MonViso Institute
Co-lead of the mountain resilience working group at the mountain research initiative MRI (University of Berne).
Co-founder of Grown, a design-as-nature lab and experience collective, winning industry awar…

Justyna Swat

Designer | Systems Oriented Architect at École nationale supérieure de création industrielle ENSCI–Les Ateliers Paris, Tiny Labs, MonViso Institute.
Systems oriented designer and trained architect. Founder of TinyLabs, design ass…

Daniel Christian Wahl

PhD, author, consultant, educator, activist, speaker, weaver, catalyst at International Futures Forum.
Book - Designing Regenerative Cultures.

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