Find the Essence: Regenerative Whole-Systems Planning Workshop Feb 19-21

Join us for the first in a trio of truly extraordinary workshops at Spillian, using the place itself as a living lab as we learn together how to thing in a deeply creative, connected, regenerative way about projects and places anywhere in the world as we imagine a master plan for the 33 acre historic estate. Led by two of the nation’s most visionary leaders in sustainability, architect John Boecker and film maker Tom Keiter of 7group, this series will blow open your imagination and give you powerful tools to imagine past what you think is possible.


Quick Details
• Friday through Sunday, February 19-21 2016
• Beginning Friday at 5 PM and ending at noon Sunday
• AFTER JAN 30, $365 includes all meals and materials
• $325 for lodging for Friday and Saturday at Spillian. Commuters also very welcome. Lodging space is limited.
• Call 800.811.3351 to make reservations or for more information.

Please note the special price of only $299 if you book before January 30. We've cut a hundred dollars off what we usually charge for events like this, trying to make it accessible to people in the area. Call us at 800-811-3351 for more information.


Developing Regenerative Thinking at Spillian

In order to realize its full potential, the regenerative planning process must build our ableness to think systemically and holistically about whole living systems and our role in serving the transformation of those systems. Therefore, as Spillian embarks on a master planning effort aimed at guiding its future evolution, all those interested in learning how to engage regenerative design and development are invited to participate. Accordingly, the regenerative planning process for this effort at Spillian is being conceived as an instrument for developing regenerative thinking among all of us as members of communities. This process is currently being designed around a series of workshops aimed at building the capacity and capability of all participants and stakeholders to think in an integrative whole-systems way. Three workshops are currently envisioned for the arc of this process:

• Workshop #1: Alignment . . . February 19 -12, 2016
• Workshop #2: Goal-Setting . . . dates to be determined
• Workshop #3: Concept . . . dates to be determined

As indicated above, the first of these workshops is planned for the weekend of beginning on Friday evening at 5:00 and concluding at 11:30 on Sunday morning. Here’s what we’ll be starting with!

Alignment Workshop Purpose:

To develop and align around the Purpose of creating a place-sourced Master Plan for Spillian and Principles for guiding its development,
In a way that fosters interconnectivity between active participants in a fulfilling co-creative process of regeneration that values the role of all stakeholders,
So that the work of Spillian energizes and empowers stakeholders to continually transform the quality of their lives, their unique communities, and beyond indefinitely.

Alignment Workshop Products: (Targeted Outcomes)


• Develop and align around the Purpose of developing a holistic Master Plan for Spillian
• Image and understand project potential for place-sourced regeneration
• Align around regenerative language and basic frameworks for working effectively
• Identify current conditions and restraints
• Develop and align around value-adding processes (VAPs) to be delivered to stakeholders
• Identify and develop an understanding of core stakeholders
• Develop Principles for delivering VAPs in balance to each core stakeholder group
• Invite the fluidity of fun, play, bliss, and a lightness of being


• Experience a regenerative and collaborative spirit that genuinely values each participant’s role.
• Engage transparent co-exploration and collective discovery of unrealized potential that is sourced from what is unique about this particular community and this particular place.
• Invite the fluidity of fun, play, bliss, and a lightness of being.


Experience that working on this project will help each of us manifest what we really care about in a meaningful way for ourselves, our community, and the larger world.

Project Aim:

To Develop a Master Plan for Spillian as an evolving place for regenerative restoration (across three lines of work) with the creation of a new Performing Arts Pavilion serving as an instrument for developing the next phase of Spillian’s development.


About Regenerative Whole-Systems Planning

Each particular place is alive, unique and evolving. If we want to flourish over time, we must understand that we are in mutually beneficial relationship with each particular place and that humans play a participatory role in the vitality of the living systems in which we are nested.

The basis of regenerative whole-systems planning lies in understanding that role through understanding the uniqueness of each place we live and work – and what created and continues to create that unique identity. The cultural environment we call a community is a living system composed of many complex cultural and natural systems that form a web of mutual support. The health of cultural (and economic) systems is ultimately dependent on the health of natural – or living – systems.

Regenerative planning is rooted in the belief that healthy living systems have an inherent capacity to continually generate new sources of life for and within themselves and their environment – i.e., to re-generate. This work is grounded in a philosophy that humans (and human activities) are not apart from the development and ongoing evolution of such healthy living systems; rather, humans serve a participatory role in their continuing viability and vitality. Through the practice of developing how we are thinking in this way about whole living systems, any project can be leveraged as a highly effective acupuncture point for helping transform community vitality and regenerating life.

There are two interrelated dimensions in this regenerative planning work:

At its entry level, Regenerative Design is a practice for reversing the systemic decline in living systems and creating the basis for self-renewing socio-ecological vitality.
• Regenerative Development is a continual process that builds the capacity, capability, and will of stakeholders to serve as co-designers and active participants in the continual evolutionary transformation of their unique place.
• Regenerative Development and Design comprises a meta-discipline that combines the pattern thinking and practices of Ecological Design, Permaculture, Biophilia, Organizational Psychology, Neuroscience, and Integrative Design.

The purpose of regenerative planning is to facilitate and guide the evolution of a place toward its highest creative and productive potential in a way that explores its unique nature and capacities (essence), so that planning efforts improve the capability of all living systems (including the larger whole-system in which each place is nested) to evolve towards higher levels of vitality and viability indefinitely. Through a series of workshops, participants experience this work through highly interactive engagement and discussion around how building and development can be seen as an instrument for healing, sustaining, and regenerating the community of life in each unique place by re-membering that we play a participatory role in the vitality of the living systems in which we are nested.

The process of working on projects from this whole living-systems perspective shifts the focus of everyone’s attention from simply solving problems and working only on “things” (such as buildings) to seeing any such project as an instrument for working on realizing the highest creative potential of the larger systems in which the project is nested (and inter-dependent). This shift in focus builds an understanding of the particular nature of each unique community/place and the particular reciprocal interrelationships (between human and “natural” systems) that create that uniqueness.

Working in this way awakens a deep and caring sense of place that becomes transformational by serving as the source of new community spirit and individual will grounded in what people really care about. Communities all over the world currently engaged in this process are reconciling longstanding deep divisions, improving the quality of life for all inhabitants (all species), and delivering real value to all stakeholders by collaboratively co-creating processes of reciprocal exchange aimed at the health of the whole, not just the pieces.




About the Presenters


John Boecker serves as a founding partner in 7group (, an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary consulting firm focused on green and regenerative development. As an architect, his practice has focused exclusively on green buildings and integrative design since 1996. He served on the LEED Steering Committee from 2002-2009, and he Chaired the USGBC’s national LEED Curriculum Committee from 2002-2007. Along with his 7group partners and Bill Reed, he co-authored The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building, a seminal book published by Wiley in April, 2009. He also co-hosted with Bill Reed the national Voice America radio program, “Building Deeper Green: Reframing Sustainability.” As a highly sought keynote speaker, John has lectured on the benefits of integrative design and regenerative development in 35 states and 14 countries. He has served as LEED Faculty since 2002, and he was appointed a LEED Fellow in the inaugural class of 2011.


Tom Keiter has over 30 years of experience as a communications consultant, filmmaker and developer of multiple media communications tools. He is a founding partner in story shop llc (, a documentary production group and has been producing for public television and independently. He has produced numerous projects on green building and sustainability issues, including Pennsylvania’s Building Green in PA program, a series of DVD tools, including Lessons Learned, first utilized in USGBC’s LEED Training Workshops. A partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute produced a two-program High Performance Building series, Perspective & Practice and High Performance by Integrative Design. He originated the nationally distributed public television project Water Blues, Green Solutions, which was a follow-up to Liquid Assets, both focused on water. His work has received four Emmy Awards, as well as recognition in the International Film & Video Festival, CINE Golden Eagle, the Communicator Awards, and the Engineering Journalism Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies.