Design for Sustainability & Regeneration: Full Programme

Programme Overview

Type: e-Learning
Start Date:
rotating year-round
Study Time: 5-
10 hours/ week
Facilitation: 
With experienced Facilitators
Level: 
Intermediate-advanced
Certificate: Yes (4 dimensions + DS)


Developed by:
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Gaia Education’s online programme, Design for Sustainability & Regeneration, provides participants with whole-systems design skills, analytical abilities and practical tools to support the redesign of the human presence on Earth, one local community and bioregion at a time.

The programme, also offered in Spanish and Portuguese, is divided in four interconnected dimensions: Social DesignEcological DesignEconomic Design and Worldview, each conducted in an eight-week period, which can be taken individually or as a whole course.

The course is completed with the Design Studio – providing an opportunity to work with a  design team and focussing on real-life design projects proposed by the participants.

Who can take the GEDS course?

The GEDS course is open to everyone! No prerequisites. All you need is access to a computer with a current browser, an Internet connection and a commitment to learn.

Gaia Education’s online programme, Design for Sustainability & Regeneration, provides participants with whole-systems design skills, analytical abilities and practical tools to support the redesign of the human presence on Earth, one local community and bioregion at a time.

The programme, also offered in Spanish and Portuguese, is divided in four interconnected dimensions: Social DesignEcological DesignEconomic Design and Worldview, each conducted in an eight-week period, which can be taken individually or as a whole course.

The course is completed with the Design Studio – providing an opportunity to work with a  design team and focussing on real-life design projects proposed by the participants.

Programme Overview

Type: e-Learning
Start Date: 
Anytime
Study Time: 
5 hours/ week
Facilitation: 
With Facilitators
Level: 
Intermediate

Certificate: Yes (4 dimensions + DS)


Developed by:
GE2021_BRAND_LOGOMARK_FICHA (1)

When does the programme start?

You can sign up for the full certificate at any of the dimensions and complete the programme within one to three years (GEDS start dates below). However, the Design Studio is only offered at a specific time and can only be taken after all 4 dimensions have been completed (more info on the start dates of the Design Studio here). You can also take one dimension at a time and complete the program within a maximum of three years.

Gaia Education Design for Sustainability start dates:

  • Social Design: 4 October 2021
    (Registrations are open until 11 October 2021)
  • Ecological Design: 10 January 2022
    (Registrations are open until 17 January 2022)
  • Worldview 21 March 2022
    (Registrations are open until 28 March 2022)
  • Economic Design: 30 May 2022
    (Registrations are open until 6 June 2022)
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Why does the world need sustainability designers?

We live in a rapidly changing world that is transforming before our very eyes. A multitude of deep and pressing concerns such as global inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, unrestrained urbanisation and destructive forms of economic growth are calling for our immediate attention. All of us are called to actively be part of this civilisation-wide effort to re-design and co-create a healthier and more fulfilling world for all.

Gaia Education’s online programme Design for Sustainability & Regeneration will provide you with a deeper understanding of integrative whole-systems design, analytical abilities, design thinking skills and practical tools to design our human presence on Earth, one local community and bioregion at a time. The overall aim is to transform our impact from a degenerative to a regenerative processes.

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Who can take the GEDS course?

The GEDS course is open to everyone! No prerequisites. All you need is access to a computer with a current browser, an Internet connection and a commitment to learn.

When does the programme start?

You can sign up for the full certificate at any of the dimensions and complete the programme within two years (GEDS start dates below). However, the Design Studio is only offered at a specific time and can only be taken after all 4 dimensions have been completed (more info on the start dates of the Design Studio here). You can also take one dimension at a time and complete the program within a maximum of three years.

Gaia Education Design for Sustainability start dates:

  • Social Design: 4 October 2021
    (Registrations are open until 11 October 2021)
  • Ecological Design: 10 January 2022
    (Registrations are open until 17 January 2022)
  • Worldview 21 March 2022
    (Registrations are open until 28 March 2022)
  • Economic Design: 30 May 2022
    (Registrations are open until 6 June 2022)

How the Certificate is Structured

The e-learning programme consists of four dimensions: Social DesignEcological DesignEconomic Design and Worldview., each contained in an eight-week period.  You will learn skills and effective methods to collaborate with others in regenerative design for social transformation and the creation of thriving communities within vibrant regional economies in harmony with nature. The course will explore case studies and best process examples that demonstrate how regenerative cultures use energy and materials with greater efficiency, distribute wealth more fairly and strive to eliminate the concept of waste, in order to regenerate the material, energy and social resources they depend upon as much as possible at the local and regional scale.

Once you have successfully completed the four dimensions you can sign up for the Design Studio – an exciting opportunity to work within a global design team composed of fellow participants from different countries and focused on real world design projects that will give you the perfect opportunity to revise and apply what you have learned in the course. Have a look at the kind of design projects created in previous years here.


The course is structured in such a way that by dedicating from 5 to 10 hours a week of study and engagement with the material you will be able to follow the flow and benefit from a rich source of knowledge – enough to reach the level of understanding and quality of assignments to successfully complete the courses and earn your certification. We feel that 5-10 hours per week of engagement is about the norm and leads to exceptional results in the ensuing successful professional pathways we are so glad to observe in many of our participants. Some become consultants and teachers themselves after receiving their certificate.

The 14-month course is equivalent to 400 hours of study, leading to a Certificate of Completion. For those participants interested not only in applying what they have learned to their own practice as professionals and activists, but who would also like to become a certified Gaia Education trainer and share this curriculum with others, this programme is an important stepping stone towards that certification.

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Social Dimension

The aim is to give you a better understanding of the true meaning of social equity, inclusivity and justice as well as the need for widespread participation and collaborative action in a collectively envisioned and implemented transition towards resilient, nourishing and thriving social systems. In your journey through the Social Dimension of Design for Sustainability you will rediscover the importance of community cohesion and collaborative rather than competitive advantage, and reconnect with the beauty, compassionate nature and innate power of human beings to co-design the changes they wish to see in their communities and bioregions.


In the Social dimension we will address the following questions:

  • What is the vision that will support projects to be coherent and inspiring?
  • How will decisions be made and conflicts resolved?
  • How will we walk that delicate line between being an individual and growing our personal empowerment, while being part of a collective endeavour?
  • How will we celebrate our diversity in a just and inclusive manner when we are challenged by our differences?
  • What will we do to reconnect with the creative source in the web of life and bring a sense of beauty and artistic craftsmanship to everything we do?
  • How will our group, organisation, project or community reach out to other local and bioregional communities, to build bridges and facilitate learning from each other and more effective collaboration towards shared goals?

In the Social dimension you will learn:

  • To create a common vision for a collective project
  • To improve your communication skills and communicate in a more compassionate way
  • To use participatory processes to make decisions that everybody can accept
  • To navigate conflict and embrace diversity – of ideas, beliefs, roles, etc.
  • To map the network of connections needed for your projects
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Ecological Dimension

Ecological designers ensure that life-supporting natural functions are not only preserved but regenerated whenever possible. They work with Nature rather than against her to support the creation of life. They understand that sustainable settlement design is the creation of predominantly self-reliant, self-maintaining, self-regenerating ‘living systems’ that can support thriving communities and all their inhabitants (humans and non-humans). They know that ecological concerns are fundamental to the design and development of ecovillages and sustainable  communities while recognising that such initiatives need to collaborate regionally and globally to improve the whole system for all of humanity and the wider community of life.


In the Ecological dimension you will address the following questions:

  • Why is the current impact of humanity on the planet’s life support system degenerative and how can we change this through whole-systems design approaches?
  • How can we co-create elegant solutions carefully adapted to the biocultural uniqueness of place?
  • What is the wide range of water collection, management and ecological treatment technologies that can support us in the design of watershed stewardship systems?
  • How can we use the best of permaculture, regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and ecosystems regeneration to co-create thriving regional food systems?
  • Which renewable energy generation, energy efficiency and transport technologies can help us to create zero-carbon energy solutions while increasing community resilience and strengthening regional economies?
  • What range of ecological construction methods are appropriate for which kind of local conditions and how can they support regenerative development at the local and regional scale?

In the Ecological dimension you will learn:

  • To make a whole-systems design of your projects using permaculture principles
  • To use base maps and other designing techniques
  • To calculate your carbon footprint and design to be carbon neutral
  • To design a whole water system for your projects
  • To apply green building principles in your projects
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Worldview

The Worldview dimension invites you to become more conscious about how our own worldview and values system affects our perceived needs and how it informs the way we each might propose and design solutions in any given situation. By identifying a series of valid perspectives, worldviews and values systems and putting them into context with each other, rather than seeing them as mutually exclusive or contradictory, we are taking the important first step to being able to facilitate the complex multi-stakeholder dialogues upon which the personal, local, regional and global transition to sustainability and regenerative cultures will depend.

After completing the Worldview dimension, students will be able to:

  • summarise the main characteristics of the dominant worldview and explain how its spread was closely linked to the development of Western science with its focus on the mechanistic, quantifiable, measurable and predictable aspects of living systems.
  • explain how over the last century, first physics, then chaos and complexity theory, and more recently earth systems science and biology have revealed a fundamentally unpredictable complex reality in which we participate and intervene perpetually.
  • name a series of practices that have been used by effective change-agents to reconnect with the natural world and gain strength and insight from activities like meditation, council, vision fasts and/or solo-time in nature.
  • structure a multi-stakeholder engagement process in a way that integrates multiple perspectives into a shared whole systems understanding of any collaborative project they work with.
  • design for whole systems health using health as an integrative framework that helps us to foster systemic wellbeing and resilience at local, regional and global scale.

In the Worldview dimension, you will learn:

  • To select or create a regular spiritual practice (meditation, contemplation, prayer, etc.)
  • To observe and become aware of how worldviews permeate design and decisions we make
  • To create a deep connection with nature through personal experience
  • To create rituals for the most significant moments in your projects
  • To develop a healthy lifestyle: food, body, mind, others, etc.
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Economic Dimension

Our current economic system is no longer sustainable, yet few are aware of the alternatives. Our aim is to give you a better understanding of those alternatives and the true meaning of economy and wealth. Participants will learn about existing systems and tools that are useful to explore how to redesign those that have proven dysfunctional and harmful, and offer alternatives based on already tested alternatives.

In the Economic dimension you will address the following questions:

  • What are the root causes and design faults of our current dysfunctional economic and monetary systems?
  • How can we take local, regional and global action to shift the global economy towards sustainability and regeneration?
  • What kind of complementary currency systems, community banks and local investment vehicles can help us to strengthen local and regional economies in global collaboration?
  • Why is Gross Domestic Product an insufficient measure of wealth and wellbeing and what alternative indicators already exists?
  • What methods and models are currently emerging in the field of new economics and the sharing economy to support collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer collaboration?
  • How can we learn from successful experiments to revitalise local economies and promote social innovation and entrepreneurship?
  • What legal and financial considerations are important for the creation of successful regenerative enterprises and sustainable business models?

In the Economic dimension you will learn:

  • To assess the impact of the global economy in your projects
  • To find out economic opportunities in your projects and develop them within the model of a social enterprise
  • To understand how to create a complimentary currency
  • To create a business plan for your projects
  • To find ethical financial opportunities for your projects

Design Studio

The objective of the Design Studio is to practise the application of Gaia Education’s Design For Sustainability & Regeneratie Systems principles. You will collaborate as part of a design team to develop skills in applying what you have learned to real-world design projects. The design project serves as an integrative exercise where participants explore the relationships between personal, social, ecological and economic sustainability. Design teams will be created around a number of design proposals at the beginning of the Design Studio. These may, but do not necessarily need to be, drawn from initiatives that participants are currently involved in.

GEDS English Design Studio: August 2021
GEDS Spanish Design Studio: August 2021
GEDS Portuguese Design Studio: November 2021

For more information on the Design Studio continue here, or take a look at the design projects created in previous years.

Our participants make a change

At Gaia Education we are so proud of our participants. They are the ones who go out and make a change in the world, applying the skills and knowledge gained from the exploration of the four dimensions of Design for Sustainability & Regeneration. We are very happy to appreciate and say a big thank you to all our participants.

Thank you for all the great changes you create! We are grateful for what you do for Mother Earth.

  • Gaia Education

    “The content is very relevant to my professional life as an educator. I have integrated many ideas and a few of the videos into my courses. On a personal level the primary inspiration has been a shift in thinking from an obstacle and scarcity based mindset to a solution and abundance mindset. This is quite liberating.”

    Educator in ethics and research, Canada, Worldview dimension

  • Gaia Education

    “This course is helping me understand the challenges we are facing in the world today and what the root causes are. What I find most valuable is integrating systems thinking in my approach and finding personal relevance in the content of the course. I would like to share the new insights I have gained with other people and I’m considering a new career path where I can engage further with key issues around inequality, climate change and economics. ”

    Owner of guest houses, Spain, GEDS

Certificate of Completion

Upon certification you will have the background and confidence to take an active role in designing for sustainability, resilience and regeneration, both professionally and personally, working for small and large- scale community projects, eco-social enterprises or transition initiatives in civil society, the public sector or business.

You will feel ready to offer your contribution and facilitate others to contribute to the collaborative transformation of our existing communities, institutions and neighbourhoods towards more sustainable and regenerative patterns of being and doing in the world.

What is more, you will be able to support yourself and others in leading healthier, more joyful and more meaningful lives.

To receive a Certificate of Completion students need to engage in all four dimensions plus the Design Studio over a 14-month period. However, the dimensions do not need to be completed within the same year. For those who require more time it is also possible to complete within 36 months, once registered in the full programme. At the end of their participation students will have successfully completed the minimum required activities for each dimension and a satisfactory team-design project.

Read more about the Design Studio here

Registration

As a Scottish Registered Charity we are able to offer an exceptionally good price. The cost of this unique and exciting programme is £1300 GBP for the full course, instead of £1575 when buying each dimension separately. It may be the best investment you ever make for yourself.

Register early to enjoy one of our Early Bird discounts and get the full course for only £1040 GBP when registering by our 20% discount deadline. You can sign up for the full certificate by the start of any of the four dimensions whenever is being announced. However, the Design Studio is only offered in August and can only be taken after all 4 dimensions have been completed.

If you choose to take one dimension at a time, then the full price of each dimension is £350 GBP and £175 GBP for the Design Studio.

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