Positive Development Theory

Positive development (PD) sets net-positive, or beyond restoration, sustainability baselines and standards for ecological and social (including economic) design. PD shows how contemporary sustainable design approaches, such as circularity, regeneration, biophilic design and biomimicry, while positive, are limited by old paradigm legacies. They do not have analytical frameworks, methods or metrics to ensure net-positive outcomes. PD outlines directions for the redesign of institutional, social and physical systems that shape the built environment. Fundamental redesign is necessary on all levels. However, there are many things that any individual, organisation, business or government agency can be doing to advance genuine sustainability.

What is Positive Development?

It is not enough to reduce the impacts of construction, regenerate damaged environments, leave stakeholders better off, encourage better relationships between humans and nature, and so on. Sustainability requires demonstrably increasing nature and justice in ‘net’ or global terms. Positive Development (PD) contends that built environment design could reverse many causes of planetary overshoot and address most sustainability issues. To achieve this, however, cities and the systems of decision making that shape them must be redesigned on net-positive sustainability principles and criteria. This means going beyond:

  • Indirect actions: persuading people to adopt better values and behaviours, etc.
  • Regulations: making rules based on current green buildings and practices, etc.
  • Standards: setting goals that industry is willing to accept and comply with, etc.
  • Compensatory schemes: rewarding the offsetting of new negative impacts, etc.
  • Remedial actions: regenerating nature to make it more resilient to attacks, etc.
  • Declarations: making wish lists that are composed of toothless platitudes, etc.
  • Assessment tools: counting negative impact reduction as it that were positive, etc.

The examples above are useful mitigation measures but can delay substantive systems redesign. Current strategies and tools cannot meet the sustainability imperative. In the real-world context of mass extinctions and climate change, cities and buildings cannot simply ‘give back more’. To decrease escalating global human consumption and pollution while increasing universal life quality, the built environment must create net (global) socio-ecological gains. ‘Net’ in PD means whole-system sustainability gains, not merely relative improvements. PD proposes ways to redesign physical, intellectual, and institutional systems to enable net-positive sustainability outcomes.
Today, informed citizens understand that sustainable design can save society huge ecological and social costs over time, even at a financial profit. Because of the traditional emphasis on impact reduction alone, however, few even grasp the possibility of net-positive sustainability. Theory and practice in the planning, design and construction industries has not kept pace with real-world problems. In fact, most ‘new’ sustainable building principles and strategies for change have been continually reinvented over many decades. Hence PD began as a critique of green or regenerative design and sets higher, but nonetheless quite feasible standards.
PD aims to reverse global rates of both: environmental damage and depletion to increase nature in absolute terms; and social division and deprivation to increase democracy, dialogue and decency. These proposals were based on a systematic deconstruction of both: the paradigm underlying unsustainable policies in built environment governance, city planning, urban design and architecture; and the specific mindsets, models, methods and metrics that reinforce outdated, anti-ecological patterns and practices. The result was the opposite of the dominant paradigm or ‘DP’ in general and in detail.
Put most simply, PD aims to increase the ‘ecological base’ and ‘public estate’ in real terms, not just compared to current unsustainable conditions. The general standards are:

  • To achieve ecologically-sustainable development, global overshoot must be addressed (escalating consumption, pollution, biodiversity losses, etc.). A net-positive project would increase nature beyond that which existed before settlement occurred. A project is not net positive if it only achieves the equivalent of pre-urban ecological conditions. Merely offsetting its own added impacts is not enough. To assess ecological gains, the baseline (zero) is pre-industrial, pre-urban or pre-settlement conditions – depending on the bioregion.
  • To achieve socially-positive development, the built environment must provide net social benefits to the wider public (not just owners and occupants) and increase future options for universal security and wellbeing. A project is not net positive if it only provides gains for project stakeholders (health, safety, sense of community, equity, etc.). Sustainability concerns intra- and inter-generational equity. To assess social gains, the baseline (zero) is region-wide increases in environmental justice and equity in tangible, biophysical terms.

PD suggests means to address the entrenched obstacles to creating cities and buildings that increase nature (the basic life-support system) as well as social equity and environmental justice. The book Positive Development (2008) explained how buildings could be truly sustainable 1. Some ways the built environment can achieve positive and even net-positive gains are also provided here. The STARfish app shows how to assess built environment design [download here]. Net Positive Design (2020) provides more explicit theory and examples of Positive Development and net-positive design 2:

  • Part I discusses the conceptual flaws and procedural failings in sustainable urban planning, design and assessment (including policy approaches, design strategies and technical tools) and suggests reforms. These proposals all flow logically from a fundamental paradigm shift from closed to open-system analyses.
  • Part II converts this analysis into specific new criteria, processes and tools for translating the net-positive design paradigm into practice. It explains why the net-positive STARfish computer app is necessary to achieve truly sustainable standards in built environment design, and how STARfish works in detail

What changes might PD lead to?

Physical change: There are many examples of how net-positive outcomes are already feasible. For instance, green buildings can absorb more carbon than they emit over their full lifespan merely through permanent, building-integrated vegetation – assuming good design 3 . New construction materials could replace destructive land uses such as forestry, mining and broadacre farming with, for example, products produced from mushrooms or algae in vertical sheds. Buildings can support natural systems and spaces that provide many ecological functions or ‘eco-services’ in addition to serving humans or ‘ecosystem services’ 456. Ultimately, however, the implementation of a new design paradigm will require reforms at all levels of decision making 789.
Institutional change: Conventional sustainable planning or design processes and assessment methods represent and reproduce the old industrial or mechanistic paradigm that is far from eco-logical. PD provides new governance and decision frameworks in addition to new design standards and practices 101112. One reason that systems change appears too hard is because few designers are conversant with governance (let alone eco-governance), and few decision makers are conversant with design (let alone sustainable design) 13. PD reforms aim to bridge the cultural divides, such as that between decision making and design thinking or qualitative and quantitative assessment, and so on.
Social change: Sustainable or regenerative design strategies tend to rely on social change: converting others so that they will demand better buildings. Changing the values of clients or their practitioners does not create the capacity to re-design systems 14. Likewise, expecting politicians make fundamental reforms is, evidently, futile. Even if policies changed, these could be subverted by real or manufactured economic crises. PD does not depend on converting others before taking action. It works to design and debate alternative institutional and physical structures that can shape better systems and relationships as well as behaviours 15.
Costs of change: The short-term economic costs of changing systems and practices, the lack of knowledge and capacity-building in sustainable design, and counterproductive design and assessment tools are ongoing obstacles to sustainability. Fortunately, changes in thinking and designing through the adoption of new models, mindsets, methods and metrics take little time or money. However, system biases and vested interests will continue to obstruct any new approaches. An alternative to surveys for meeting or manipulating public preferences is to have people consider competing planning and policy proposals in a jury-like process. In such contexts, most people put reasoning above prejudice.

How does PD theory differ from others?

To achieve sustainable development, PD has always focused on structural change. This is in contrast to most other sustainability paradigms since they rely on conversion: either changing other’s personal/spiritual values (social change) or changing public policies/principles (political change). These traditional approaches ultimately rely on changing people’s hearts and minds which, while important, does not change the systems that shape behaviour and life quality. PD instead aims to redesign systems of governance, planning, decision making and design to prevent the abuse of power and exploitation, and to increase environmental justice and nature on a whole-system level.
PD aligns with the fundamental precepts of ecofeminism, which addresses power relationships at the person and political level. Ecofeminists such as Carolyn Merchant’s The Death of Nature (1980), explored how the Dominant Paradigm (DP) arose and shaped ideas about progress and science over the centuries. The legacy of that linear, dualistic, closed-system worldview is gradually waning. However, the ‘hard’ qualities traditionally associated with masculinity by mainstream culture are still generally elevated (mechanistic, transactional, competitive, androcentric, quantitative, etc.) over their ‘soft’ counterparts (nurturing, relational, collaborative, ecological, qualitative, etc.). This divisive DP framework justified social hierarchy and the exploitation of so-called lesser beings: nature, women and disadvantaged classes of people.
PD (Positive Development) theory began in the early 1980s with an investigation of the legacy of this engrained cultural bias in the structure of ‘sustainable’ governance, planning, decision making and design. Although sustainability is a design problem, design was sidelined as belonging to the soft, subjective and unmeasurable side of the divide. Sustainable development therefore relied upon binary, reductive decision frameworks and tools, rather than design. Decision tools help to weigh up choices, not to redesign systems. Likewise, green building certification processes use decision-based tools. They focus on efficiency (cost reduction), and neglect design for multifunctional public benefits.
Efficiency usually means more output for less input and ignores the value of the project or outcome itself. Hence, a cigarette factory may appear more efficient in resource input-output ratios than a childcare center, simply because the multiple public values of the latter are not counted. The limited concept of efficiency in most building assessment tools is reinforced by accounting methods that score single-function design components. Single-function design is inefficient in producing positive outcomes. Natural and urban environments are interactive complex systems. Consequently, to increase their sustainability outcomes, net-positive design synergies are necessary. PD provides a completely different form of measurement to maximize benefits in all socio-ecological dimensions.
Meanwhile, goals in DP design and assessment concepts have been slowly shifting from reducing negatives (less damage) to offsetting them (‘net zero’). Net zero means ‘no added harm’ – not net-positive – since good impacts only need to (ostensibly) outweigh the bad. It is negative in the context of spiralling global socio-ecological crises. DP assessment tools do not yet recognize net-positive design. Some now aim for ‘more good than bad’, or regenerating what remains of nature after development. This does not increase whole-system sustainability in real terms. PD, in contrast, is about creating systems of decision making and design that can reverse the overshoot of global life-support systems.
Building assessment tools help people to choose among presently conceived options but fail to help conceive of new and better options 16. A basic PD principle is expanding positive and diverse future options – rather than making the best among current choices (which may also be irreversible). Further, most choices offered by building tools are based on old templates and past performance. Rules often replace design thinking with prescriptions of current ‘best practices’, despite being called ‘performance based’. Best practices usually only reduce negative impacts relative to ‘pre-construction’ conditions. They tend to lock in conventional (unsustainable) approaches.
DP building assessment tools cannot comprehend whole systems because they use closed-systems frameworks. They implicitly set ‘system boundaries’ to facilitate comparing and scoring things arithmetically. Such artificial boundaries create anomalies, such as counting water or energy as net positive when simply sent across a property line. Nature and society cannot really be understood within bounded and dualistic (in-out) models. For instance, bounded thinking has portrayed negative impacts as ‘externalities’ (outside a project or business boundary). Yet impacts are intrinsic to the design. Similarly, assessment tools exclude ‘external’ cumulative and remote impacts that are hard to measure, or outside the legal ‘duty of care’ and other convenient limits. Since environmental design affect everyone, PD instead aims to externalize maximum public benefits.
Closed-loop and usually even ‘upcycling’ strategies, although far better than terminal, linear systems, are only recycling – not net positive. They are only ‘better than before’. Although recycling activities that close resource loops are efficient, they cannot address the overshoot of planetary boundaries. Further, they can only achieve zero in theory, not in reality. Nature was once depicted as a recycling system. Now it is portrayed as a circle or doughnut. These closed-system metaphors reinforce old approaches. Nature, when left alone, is actually net positive: it increases in diversity, complexity, resilience and capacity. PD aims to increase natural life-support systems through ‘design for nature’ not just restore the leftovers.
Bounded thinking also makes zero-sum offsetting seem legitimate. Offsetting balances or trade-offs good and bad impacts (like a merchant’s scale). For instance, in most frameworks, financial benefits only need to exceed costs, resource outputs only need to exceed inputs, recycling rates only need to exceed waste to landfill, etc. But negative impacts are seldom erased in reality, and some even bioaccumulate. New projects add negative impacts that cannot be balanced or offset by merely regenerating degraded landscapes or revitalizing disadvantaged communities. PD aims to maximize ecological space to increase both ecosystem functions and services, and design public space to increase environmental justice.
The inability to comprehend the net positive concept may be because certain things like energy, water and waste cannot be net-positive in themselves, due to the laws of nature. Tools that use terms like ‘waste positive’ or ‘energy positive’ are not operating in a whole-system paradigm. Further, they are not transparent about how offsets are measured. Some simply add up positive and negative impacts – which is offsetting. Offsetting is a form of greenwashing. ‘Net-positive offsetting’ does not allow irreversible damage to ecosystems or species. The PD STARfish app is probably the only tool that can measure net-positive outcomes due to its unique metrics.
The PD STARfish app measures the distance to sustainability, not just the distance from unsustainability. That is, since sustainability is necessarily a whole-system concept, PD design principles and benchmarks are relative to sustainable conditions, rather than current standards or practices. PD provides concepts, tools and indicators to meet these genuine sustainability standards, whereas other criteria and indicators simply call for ‘more this or less that’. For example, see the (rubbery) indicators for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [here] or the (vague) policies produced in Habitat III: The New Urban Agenda [https://unhabitat.org].
If urban environments are to become sustainable, we must shift to a positive design thinking mode. Circular as well as linear models in planning analyses, design processes and assessment methods must be turned on their heads. To become net positive, urban areas must be retrofitted to increase nature and environmental justice, create symbiotic relationships between individuals, society and nature, and expand future options and opportunities. A PPT is provided that shows just a few of myriad common design concepts that, collectively, can address at least 27 fundamental sustainability issues [here].
Sustainability will be possible if we go beyond marketing outdated paradigms and metaphors and begin to focus on problem solving and opportunity creating by re-designing the underlying decision systems that shape the built environment. The STARfish app bridges the gap between ethics, accountability, ecology and efficiency. It synthesizes qualitative design or quantitative decision making and thus integrates reason, quantification and design thinking. Holding hands and dancing around the Maypole in circles may inspire hope but will not get us very far. PD could be a vehicle for what has been missing: getting previously segregated professional cultures to engage in informed deliberation, constructive critique and focused collaboration.

What qualifies as net positive?

A net-positive design would meet the ‘PD Test’. This test asks whether a development increases future options by meeting the basic PD social and ecological standards. Ideally, it would score above zero (sustainability) on the STARfish app’s specific criteria. Although sustainability requires whole-system gains, typical assessment schemes, again, measure impacts relative to existing buildings, normal practices, or current site conditions. Often measuring incremental improvements upon conventional design and construction practices leads to the wrong direction. For instance, using more timber than necessary to score more points for using recycled or certified timber does not increase sustainability.

The PD social standard

Contemporary urban and regional development generally transfers wealth vertically while spreading the costs of biodiversity, resource and land depletion beyond project boundaries. PD, in contrast, focuses on creating public benefits and spreading the wealth while eliminating adverse impact by design. To be socially sustainable, construction must increase universal, direct, physical access to basic needs, increase environmental justice, correct social deficits/inequities and improve life quality for everyone as well as neighbours and project stakeholders. 
In PD, economic considerations are a subset of social factors. This is because economics is a means to social sustainability, not an end in itself. Social sustainability refers to inter- and intra-generational equity, which mainstream economics ignores. Monetary indicators are inherently reductionist and usually led by price or energy efficiency instead of whole-system gains. In a PD framework, biophysical and social benefits per unit of resource and total resource stocks would count, not just reductions in material and energy.
In contrast to economic levers and pullies, which often have unintended consequences, multifunctional design can often provide social gains at no extra cost. The provision of resource/environmental equity and security through sustainable built environments provides far more reliable measures of social wellbeing and equity than ‘continuous improvement’ upon various conventions or conditions. Physical outcomes (ends) are better indicators of equity, security and wellbeing than monetary transactions (means).

PD ecological standard

To be ecologically sustainable, construction must address and reverse planetary (whole-system) overshoot. PD aims to increase nature’s ‘positive ecological footprint’ beyond humanity’s negative ecological footprint (on a floor area or material basis). To simply reduce a typical project’s land coverage and substitute green roofs and balconies for lost land and ecosystems is a net loss. This is because this would contribute to the cumulative ecological damage of development. This is another reason why PD sets standards based on real, fixed, biophysical conditions (versus existing regulations, typical buildings, environmental conditions or best practices).
PD allows for ‘net-positive offsetting’ so it does not allow trading off nature or biodiversity for social or economic gains. Net-positive offsetting requires a net (global) gain in biodiversity. The misrepresentation of ‘net positive’ by others has caused confusion here as well. For instance, the term ‘net-positive biodiversity’ has been used to mean more biodiversity on site ‘than before construction’ or more ‘than required by law’. By such definitions, jurisdictions could call themselves net positive by simply lowering their standards even further.

What are some means of achieving PD?

The PPT found here provides dozens of examples of how built environment design can address if not reverse over 27 critical sustainability issues. In combination, these eco-solutions could conceivably be net positive. However, the STARfish app is the only tool that can measure many of these solutions collectively, let alone assess net-positive outcomes. Some everyday examples of means to achieve eco-positive outcomes are provided below.

Example 1: Nature playgardens were conceived and constructed by Birkeland in the 1980s. These ‘botanical exploratoriums’ include social play spaces like cubbies, gardening opportunities, and physical challenges – all both fully integrated with nature. Children negotiate challenging but low-scale support structures, instead of passively riding on dangerous metal contraptions. Playgardens support ecological functions, biodiversity and ecosystem services while exposing children and parents to ‘biophilic’ (nature loving) experiences.
Playgardens provide more developmental benefits, play value and landscaping at less cost than sterile, single-function equipment. They stimulate creativity, imagination and social interaction. They challenge children’s minds and bodies but are actually far safer than conventional equipment. For instance, vegetative groundcover provides soft landings, is renewable, and slows children down where they might collide or fall. Watering and weeding the plants could be a learning experience for the children,

Example 2: Retrofitting buildings has long been shown to be profitable for owners while saving substantial environmental and public health costs. In theory, retrofitting could take place everywhere at once to reduce the ongoing costs of existing development. However, it is usually done with only energy and resource savings (financial goals) in mind. It seldom supports biodiversity or ecosystems. The book Net-Positive Design gives examples of some original eco-positive retrofitting concepts that can provide multiple, socio-ecological benefits 17.
One among many such retrofitting concepts is to double the occupancy or suburbs while preserving existing communities and homes where appropriate. Usually ‘densification’ occurs by building in back yards or open spaces which is environmentally damaging. Instead, units can be built above homes that ‘solarize’ both dwellings, using passive and renewable energy, green roofs, and so on 18. Owners can house elderly parents, struggling adult children, or rent-paying tenants, while not losing their gardens or their sense of community, let alone having to move.

Example 3: Existing cities are responsible for a substantial portion of carbon emissions. Yet most efforts at reducing climate change are still focused on emissions reduction rather than sequestration. The author’s collaborators proved scientifically that buildings with substantial ‘permanent’ building-integrated vegetation could sequester more carbon than emitted throughout their lifecycle – within years 19.
Many green buildings use indoor plants to clean the air and improve worker productivity, but only tokenistically. Since these buildings are not really designed to support interior landscapes, dead plants must be regularly replaced, involving costs and transport emissions. Most buildings could instead be retrofitted for natural daylighting, green inner and outer walls, and so on, to support biodiversity habitats and native vegetation, especially those that are endangered in the region 20.

Example 4: PD Green Scaffolding 21 is an ecological envelope around buildings or parts thereof. It supports ecosystem services, passive solar energy and other natural systems that provide environmental and building benefits, such as urban air and water cleaning. This adaptable light skeletal frame can accommodate diverse micro-climates and create close-up views of biodiversity habitats and ecosystem incubators.

Green Scaffolding can form the wall structure itself of be added to a facade 22. It can be used to retrofit homes, buildings, infrastructure, or serve as free-standing park features, such as band stands or gazebos. In impoverished regions, it can fortify structurally-weak homes (perhaps with bamboo and wire) to reduce flood, hurricane or earthquake damage, support food production, water collection and purification, and other ecosystem services as well as ecosystem ‘functions’ (eco-services).

Will PD standards be accepted and implemented?

Most people did not begin to appreciate the huge lifecycle impacts of construction until the 1990s. As statistics on material flows and tools for assessing building impacts emerged, the focus was on measuring the adverse impacts of pollution, waste, and energy. Today there is still little awareness of how built environment design is destroying biodiversity and creating social inequities and insecurities – let alone a consensus on how to measure these crucial sustainability issues. Since assessment remains largely separate from the design process, it means costly changes after the fact, rather than a source of inspiration. For such reasons, sustainable design and assessment processes, in their current forms, are still resisted by many in the design and construction industries.
Only recently has the ‘nature positive’ slogan become a part of the sustainable construction industry vocabulary. It may or may not foster a paradigm shift. The term usually means just repairing the landscape left over after production or construction. Although the PD concept was introduced in 2002, many still use net positive to mean leaving the site better than it was found. The inability to think beyond such mental visors are partly because environmental remediation is not seen as a responsibility of developers, let alone designers. However, old-paradigm building rating tools have played a big part. They still bar the notion that the building projects could do more than regenerate damaged environments.
Both governments and the development industry remain largely unresponsive to systemic environmental problems or systems solutions. Many business leaders still engage in displacement activity or denial, while academics often just reframe problems in different ways. Fortunately, it is only a matter of time until a critical mass of people understand that development must increase nature and justice in whole-system terms. However, new policies and programs will make little difference unless managers, decision makers, planners and designers begin to think beyond traditional green or regenerative design.
Net-positive sustainability outcomes require critical thinking. For 2 decades, critiques have been invited of various PD physical, intellectual, and institutional reforms. No informed feedback has been received, although some PD concepts have been adopted elsewhere. There are many reasons for this. One is that the design fields are not academic in the traditional sense of reading past work and engaging in intellectual debate. Another is that sustainability professions and academics invest in partisan promotional campaigns. Engagement, reasoned debate or constructive collaboration between competing viewpoints are more productive.
In summary, urban-regional governance, planning and design must change as well as the underlying logic and philosophy behind them. Given the ongoing and escalating damage, restoring remnant natural environments cannot address the loss of ecological space, carrying capacity or species extinctions. Ultimately, world peace requires that urban environments support environmental justice and nature. PD would not end militarism, of course, but it could reduce some of the causes of conflict and increase chances of survival if wars occur. One of the quickest and surest ways to save the planet is to retrofit buildings so that they create net-positive social and ecological gains.

Questions and suggestions 

Questions and suggestions are always welcome. Use the Question Box or Contact [email protected]

The book: Net-Positive Design and Sustainable Urban Development, can be acquired from Routledge Publishers. Sustainable-Urban Development/Birkeland/p/book/9780367258566)
Paperback: ISBN 9780367258566
Hardback: ISBN 9780367258559

A brochure for the book is available here

1. 1 Birkeland, J. (2008) Positive Development: From Vicious Circles to Virtuous Cycles through Built Environment Design, London, UK: Earthscan/Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/PositiveDevelopment-From-Vicious-Circles-to-Virtuous-Cycles-throughBuilt/Birkeland/p/book/9781844075799
2. Birkeland, J. (2020) Net-Positive Design and Sustainable Urban Development, London, UK: Earthscan/Routledge, Chapter 6 https://www.routledge.com/Net-Positive-Design-and-SustainableUrban-Development/Birkeland/p/book/9780367258566
3. Renger, C., Birkeland, J. and Midmore, D. (2015) Net Positive Building Carbon Sequestration: A Case Study in Brisbane’, in Building Research and Information: Special issue on net positive design, 43(1), pp.11-24. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09613218.2015.961001
4. Birkeland, Janis (2007) Positive Development: Designing for Net Positive Impacts, in Environment Design Guide (Gen 4), pp.1-9. https://acumen.architecture.com.au/globalassets/gen04_edited.pdf
5. Birkeland, J. (2009) Eco-Retrofitting with Building Integrated Living Systems, in Smart and Sustainable Built Environment Conference Proceedings. Delft, Netherlands. www.sasbe2009.com/ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/38184134_Ecoretrofitting_with_building_integrated_living_s ystems
6. Birkeland, J. (2008) Positive Development, Ibid.
7. Birkeland, J. (2018) Challenging Policy Barriers in Sustainable Development, in Dymitrow, M. and Halfacree, K. editors, Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series, No. 40, Toruń: Nicolaus Copernicus University, pp.41-56. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326014414_Challenging_policy_barriers_in_sustainable_ur ban_design
8. Birkeland, J. (2022) Nature Positive: Interrogating Sustainable Design Frameworks for Their Potential to Deliver Eco-Positive Outcomes, in Urban Science 6(35). https://www.mdpi.com/2413- 8851/6/2/35
9. Birkeland, J. (2022) Nature Positive: Interrogating Sustainable Design Frameworks for Their Potential to Deliver Eco-Positive Outcomes, in Urban Science 6(35). https://www.mdpi.com/2413- 8851/6/2/35
10. Birkeland, J. (1993) Towards a New System of Environmental Governance, in The Environmentalist 13(1) pp. 19-32. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01905500
11. Birkeland, J. (1996) Ecological Government: Redesigning Democratic Institutions, in Technology and Society 15(2), pp.21-28. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/507627
12. Birkeland, J. (2020) Net-Positive Design, Ibid,
13. Birkeland, J. (2012) Design blindness in Sustainable Development, Ibid,
14. 4 Birkeland, J. (2014a) Systems and Social Change for Sustainable and Resilient Cities, in L. Pearson, P. Newton and P. Roberts (Eds), Chapter 7, Resilient Sustainable Cities, Routledge, UK, pp.66-82.
15. Birkeland, J. (2017) Net-positive Design and Development, in Landscape Review 17:2, Special issue on integrated urban grey and green infrastructure, pp.83–87.
16. Birkeland, J. (2012) Design blindness in Sustainable Development: From Closed to Open Systems Design Thinking, in The Journal of Urban Design, 17(2), pp.163-187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13574809.2012.666209 https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjud20/current
17. Birkeland, J. (2020) Positive Development, Ibid’
18. Paten C., Birkeland, J. and Pears A. (2005) ‘Greening the Built Environment’, in C. Hargroves and M.H. Smith, The Natural Advantage of Nations, London, Earthscan. https://www.routledge.com/TheNatural-Advantage-of-Nations-Business-Opportunities-Innovations-and/HargrovesSmith/p/book/9781844073405
19. Renger, C., Birkeland, J. and Midmore, D. (2015) Net Positive Building Carbon Sequestration, Ibid.
20. Birkeland, J. (2009) Eco-Retrofitting with Building Integrated Living Systems, Ibid.
21. Birkeland, Janis (2007) Positive Development: Designing for Net Positive Impacts, Ibid.
22. Hes, D. and du Plessus, D. (2015) Designing for Hope: Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability, Taylor & Francis, New York. USA, Chapter 5. https://www.routledge.com/Designing-for-HopePathways-to-Regenerative-Sustainability/Hes-Plessis/p/book/978113880062