Restorative Development

Restorative development starts a path toward…

  • More resilient, healthy, and equitable communities
  • Built-in funding systems to replace restorative infrastructure and facilities
  • All waste streams seen as valuable material resources
  • Natural places that clean and cool our air
  • Locally sourced nutrients for organic food and fuel for our vehicles
  • Local water budget that provides for multiple uses
  • Leaving future generations with a win-win balance between public and private sector benefits


Restorative Development:  Distributed and integrated infrastructure and governance; circular resource management, characterized by synergistic values, integration and equity generation.

Sustainable Development:  Sustainable development is a neutral position. There are no negative or positive impacts measurable anywhere in the system.

Green Development: Produces net-negative outcomes. Characterized by incremental improvements. The goal is to reduce negative outcomes.

Conventional Development: Linear, take-make-waste model; centralized, single function, siloed city management, sunk costs, and depleting capital.

Redefining waste as materials, inputs

Now: Current concept is waste; we build infrastructure that gets rid of waste as cheaply as possible

New restorative economy

  • Keeps products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times
  • Uses infrastructure that maximizes their quality 
  • Focuses on equity
    • Marginalized populations as assets
    • Stormwater as asset
    • Wastewater as asset

Restorative development requirements

  • Utilizes all wastes as materials
  • Efficient output-to-input transfer of materials across production processes
  • Geographic proximity 
  • Outputs improve local community and city
  • Equitably optimizes social, economic, and environmental outcomes

Restorative Development Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes

Download handout: Restorative Development Summary (PDF)