Most of the ways we measure the economic and social health of a community today are flawed because they focus only on outcomes rather than the underlying processes that make or break local economic vitality.
Instead of merely measuring how much money is made (which is what the old measure, GDP, does), regenerative development strategies seek to capture the overall flow of human activities— economic, cultural, and social — within a community and its place in the larger network of these interactions outside its boundaries.
These instances of regenerative flow can be unearthed in communities like Tottenville, once home to a bustling marine economy. Woven into the stories of its past are clues to regenerating communities that have been damaged by unmanaged development. Once uncovered, they often reveal rich patterns of human collaboration that existed in their economic heydays — days long before the corrosive effects of extractive development were fully felt.
How can towns like Tottenville rediscover themselves and thrive in the 21st Century? Regenerating Tottenville is looking for answers to that question.