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About Stuart

Dr. Stuart Cowan is the systems convener for the global Regenerative Communities Network, which is supporting 14 bioregional initiatives on four continents on their journey toward implementing regenerative economies. In this role, he supports shared infrastructure around leadership, education, systems mapping, regenerative design and planning, regenerative evaluation and metrics, and access to financial capital. He previously served as chief scientist and partner for the Smart Cities Council. He developed knowledge frameworks and tools supporting the integration of smart technologies with urban sustainability and resilience. 

Cowan is cofounder of Autopoiesis LLC, which applies complex living systems, models, and frameworks to regenerate communities, ecosystems, and organizations. He served as a transaction manager and founding team member with Portland Family of Funds, an innovative sustainable community investment fund. He played a key role in its successful effort to obtain multiple allocations of federal New Markets Tax Credits to deploy on green real estate development and ecological forestry projects. Cowan served as Conservation Economy Research director at Ecotrust, where he led the development of the Reliable Prosperity framework for a regenerative bioregion. 

He is the coauthor with Sim Van der Ryn of Ecological Design (Island Press, 1996/2007), addressing the whole systems integration of ecology and architecture, land-use planning, and product design. 

He received his doctorate in applied mathematics from UC Berkeley with a focus on complex systems modeling and ecological economics. He has taught at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, UC Berkeley, Portland State University, and Naropa University.

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