Living root bridges (LRBs) are functional load-bearing structures grown from Ficus elastica
by rural Khasi and Jaintia communities in Meghalaya (India). Formed without contemporary engineering design tools, they are a unique example of vernacular living architecture. The main objective of this study is to investigate to what extent LRBs can be seen as an example of regenerative design. The term "regenerative" describes processes that renew the resources necessary for their function. Whole systems thinking underpins regenerative design, in which the integration of human and non-human systems improves resilience. We adapted the living environments in natural, social, and economic systems (LENSES) framework (living environments in natural, social, and economic systems) to reflect the holistic, integrated systems present in LRBs. The regenerative / sustainable / degenerative scale provided by LENSES Rubrics is applied to 27 focal points in nine flow groups. Twenty-two of these points come from LENSES directly, while five were created by the authors, as advised by the LENSES framework. Our results show 10 focal points in which LRBs are unambiguously regenerative. One focal point is unambiguously sustainable, while 16 are ambiguous, showing regenerative, sustainable, and degenerative aspects. User perspective determines how some focal points are evaluated. The contrast between a local, indigenous perspective and a global, tourism-focused perspective is demonstrated by the results.
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