The Regenerative City

Regenerating self, society and place

What would the city look like as regenerative development zone? Amsterdam’s Wester Scheg bridges urban life and countryside and is home to some of the lowest polders in the Netherlands, the largest diversity of species and cultures, and the last fertile soil of the city. Many of the great challenges of the city come together in this place. The food transition, soil degradation, and climate adaptation, 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 goes hand in hand with the need to navigate the increasing pressures of the Anthropocene, the global market, 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 place and position do we have or take ourselves? During the course we will be weaving connections, deepening understanding, and strengthening our community & personal leadership.

The challenge

This summer school explores regenerative practices for self, society, and place in the Scheg van West – an ecological corridor into the city of Amsterdam.

You will work with local stakeholders, experts, and the land. Giving voice to this place, exploring its potential and helping to maintain, restore, and regenerate community, local economy, and nature. You will camp on site, in the Tuinen van West, a creative hotspot for urban farming and social enterprise on the border of Osdorp and the polders.

A place is a living whole and asks us to look beyond our disciplines at what makes it healthy. Regenerative development means creating the condition for all life to flourish in a place, and to unleash the potential of communities and existing sources of vitality.

You can expect a deep dive into regenerative practice and leadership. Nature, fire, food, and conversations that matter. Action research that sees the city as our curriculum, with learning journeys, meeting key players, different kinds of knowing, unlikely allies, creative and social interventions, dialogue, and reflection. The outcomes feed into a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder process between the governments, local farmers, companies, and civil society.

Practical Information

  • Preparatory meeting on June 29th, time: 18h (online)
  • Online meeting: July 3nd 16h
  • Camping (safari tents, or own tent):
    July 7th to July 14th at the Tuinen van West, Amsterdam
  • Presentations are on July 22nd at the Tuinen van West, Amsterdam
  • This course is for 3rd year Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD and Honours students from TU/e, WUR and UU.
  • The language of instruction is English.
  • The program provides dinner and accommodation for the week (glamping safari tents on site). Breakfast and lunch is on your own account.
  • Online preparation and offline course
  • Study load 6ECTS
  • Videos can be seen on

Teaching method

Fieldwork, challenges, workshops, teamwork, individual work, reflective practice, community building, and personal leadership work.

Final presentation

The final presentation involves sharing your findings with the stakeholders.


UU students can register via Osiris. TU/e and WUR students register via EduXchange.
Deadline for registration is extended until Monday 26th of June 2023


Thieu Besselink