After a six-post review of an advanced design course, we now return to our current inquiry into the relation between designing and implementing in permaculture.
First, a quick recap of where this inquiry has taken us so far:
Part 1 shared nine clear, well-thought out permaculture design process break-downs:
Part 2 reviewed each of the nine in detail, concluding that:
A core idea integral to how permaculture design process is understood and communicated in the permaculture literature is that of completing a design to some satisfactory degree of detail and only then implementing it.
Part 3 interviewed an acorn who showed us that nature doesn’t roll this way – which is to say that permaculture design process doesn’t mimic the processes living systems use to create themselves, even thought it is supposedly about mimicking living systems.
Part 4 shared a taste of Christopher Alexander’s powerful critique of the conventional architectural practice of detailing a design before implementing it.
Part 5 introduced Alexander’s distinction between fabricating (detailed design up front, full of mistakes) and generating processes (details come out in the wash, relatively mistake-free):
Part 6 showed how Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Dave Jacke and Ben Falk have all shown or at least hinted at their preference or lived experience of design processes that consciously avoids premature detail, concluding that:
This a striking internal contradiction within permaculture. Evidently thousands of people are being taught an approach to permaculture design (based on what is in the books) that some of the most considerate permaculture design thinkers in the world reject on the grounds that it doesn’t work!
In at least one important respect,2 many modern software designers are using design processes that are more sophisticated, more throughly researched and crash tested, more adaptive, and in some ways even more nature mimicking than the processes used (or at least publicly taught and communicated) by permaculture designers, who ostensibly are all about mimicking nature!
Part 9 summarised our discoveries and got ready to try them out on the ground.
Part 10 took a moment to clarify the different ways designing can be related to implementing inside design process, the upshot being this diagram:
In the next post I’ll get on and start sharing a clear permaculture design example of a hybrid process. I hope to catch you again then.
- See Alex Bayley’s series on Agile permaculture here
- I stress I’m talking about just one important respect here.