A. Broad Scale Site Design
Methodology of Design
Permaculture design emphasizes patterning of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It asks the question, “Where does this element go? How is best placed for maximum benefit in the system?”
Permaculture is made up of techniques and strategies:
· Techniques are how we do things (one-dimensional)
· Strategies are how and when (two-dimensional)
· Design is patterning (multi-dimensional)
Permaculture is all about the science and ethics of design patterning
Approaches to design:
-Maps: “where is everything?”
-Analysis of elements: “how do these things connect?”
-Sector planning: “where do we put things?”
Maps: A main tool of a designer, but “the map is never the territory”. Be careful not to design just from maps, no map tells the entire story that can be observed on the ground. A sequence of maps is valuable to see clearly where to place elements: Water, Access, Structures, Topology etc.
The analysis of elements: List the needs, products, and the intrinsic characteristics of each element. Lists are made to try and link the supply needs of elements to the production needs of others.
An example that is easy to understand is the lists needed to link a chicken into a system:
Experiment on paper, connecting and combining the elements (buildings, plants, animals, etc) to achieve no pollution (excess product), and minimum work. Try to have one element fulfill the needs of another.
Observational: Free thinking or thematic thinking (e.g. on weed species)
a) Note phenomenon
b) Infer (make guesses)
c) Investigate (research)
d) Devise a strategy
Experiential: Become conscious—of yourself, feelings, and environment. Can be free-conscious or thematically-conscious. Zazen-walking without thinking, unreflective.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER: Use all the methodologies of design
Select elements – pattern assembly
Place elements – pattern relationship
B. Applying Specific Methods, Laws and Principles to Design
Methodologies of Design
Permaculture design emphasizes patterning of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It asks
the question, “Where does this (element) go? How is it placed for maximum benefit in the system?
Permaculture is made up of techniques and strategies:
• Techniques: concerned with how to do things (one dimensional) e.g. organic gardening
• Strategies: concerned with how and when (two dimensional) e.g. Fukuoka system
• Design: concerned with patterning (multi-dimensional) e.g. permaculture
Approaches to Design:
1. Maps (“Where is everything?”)
2. Analysis of elements (“How do these things connect?”)
3. Sector planning (“Where do we put things?”)
Maps (be careful- the “map” is not the territory”) Must make observations.
Sequence of maps valuable to see clearly where to place many elements. Clear overlays to plan: Access,
Water, Buildings, Topology.
Analysis of Elements
An analytical approach: list the needs, products, and the intrinsic characteristics of each element. This is
done on paper. Lists are made to try to supply (by some other element in the system) the needs of any
Experiment on paper with connecting and combining the elements (buildings, plants, animals, etc) to
achieve no pollution (excess of product) and minimum work. Try to have one element fulfill the needs of
Free thinking or thematic thinking (e.g. on blackberry or bracken)
(a) Note phenomenon
(b) Infer (make guesses)
(c) Investigate (research)
(d) Devise a strategy
Become conscious of yourself, feelings, environment. Can be free-conscious or thematically-conscious.
Zazen- walking without thinking, unreflective.
Putting It Together: Use all the methodologies of design.
Select elements - pattern assembly
1. Analysis: design by listing characteristics of components
2. Observation: design by expanding on direct observations of a site
3. Deduction from nature: design by adopting lessons learned from nature
4. Options and decisions: design as a selection of options or pathways based on decisions
5. Data overlay: design by map overlays (see above)
6. Random assembly: design by assessing the results of random assemblies
7. Flow diagrams: design for work places
8. Zone and sector analysis: design by application of a master pattern
Sector planning includes (a) zones, (b) sector, (c) slope, and (d) orientation
Zones: It is useful to consider the site as a series of zones (which can be concentric rings) that form a single pathway through the system that moves outward from the home center. The placement of elements in each zone depends on importance, priorities, and number of visits needed for each element. E.g. a chicken house is visited every day, so it needs to be close (but not necessarily next to the house). An herb garden would be close to the kitchen.
· Home centre
· Herbs, vegetable garden
· Most built structures
· Very intensive
· Start at the backdoor
· Intensive cultivation, main crop
· Heavily mulched orchard
· Mainly grafted and selected species
· Dense planting
· Use of stacking and storey system design
· Some animals: chickens, ducks, pigeon
· Multi-purpose walks: collect eggs , milk, distribute greens and scraps
· Cut animal forage
· Connects to zone 1 and 2 for easy access
· May add goats, sheep, geese, bees, dairy cows
· Plant hardy trees and native species
· Un-grafted for later selection, later grafting
· Animal forage
· Self-forage systems: poultry forest etc
· Windbreaks, firebreaks
· Spot mulching, rough mulching
· Trees protected with cages, strip-fencing
· Nut tree forests
· Long term development
· Timber for building
· Timber for firewood
· Mixed forestry systems
· Watering minimal
· Feeding minimal
· Some introduced animals: cattle, deer, pigs
· Zone 5:
· Uncultivated wilderness
· Re-growth area
Species, elements, and strategies change in each zone.
SECTORS: the aim of sector planning is to channel external energies (wind, sun, fire) into or away from the system.
The zone and sector factors together regulate the placement of particular plant, animal species and structures.
SLOPE: placement of an element on slope so that gravity is used to maximum capacity:
-mulch and other materials (kick down)
-cold air falls, warm air rises
ORIENTATION: placement of an element so that it faces sun-side or shade-side, depending on its function and needs.
9. Zoning of information and ethics
10. Incremental design
11. Summary of design methods
12. The concepts of guilds in nature
13. Succession: evolution of a system
14. The establishment and maintenance of systems
15. General practical procedures in property design
C. Ideas and Applications
(give examples of some of these principles in your site)
1. Relative location
2. Each element performs many functions
3. Each important function is supported by many functions
4. Efficient energy planning
5. Using biological resources properly
6. Energy cycling
7. Small-scale intensive systems
8. Accelerating succession and evolution
9. Diversity (poly-cultures)
10. Edge effects
11. Water Conservation and the Keyline System (swales, dams, ponds, etc.)
12. Attitudinal principles in practice
D. Draw Basic Design based on initial observations of your site (use bubble diagrams and drafting tools)
Principle Summary: Definition of Permaculture design: Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms. It seeks to provide a sustainable and secure place for living things on this earth.
Functional design: Every component of a design should function in many ways. Every essential function should be supported by many components.
Principle of self-regulation: The purpose of a functional and self-regulating design is to place elements or components in such a way that each serves the needs, and accepts the products, of other elements.
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