Jascha Rohr on the Field Process Model (E10)

In this episode Dan Palmer from Making Permaculture Stronger speaks with Jascha Rohr from the Institute for Participatory Design which is based in Oldenburg, Germany.

With his partner Sonja Hörster, Jascha has created a fascinating and powerful way of framing design process they call the Field Process Model. The Field Process Model brings together inspiration from Bill Mollison’s core model and Christopher Alexander’s generative process against the philosophical backdrop of field theory (rather than the systems thinking backdrop permaculture usually stems from). Here it is sketched at a high level in two dimensions (get your head around this first, where reading this article is highly recommended)…

…here in more detail in three dimensions (or of course four if you include the movement or dance through time):

Here are field process model originators Jascha and Sonja during the recording, which happened on February 20, 2018.

The red squiggle indicates a certain four-volume set of books, the second volume of which just happened to also be sitting just behind Dan…


  1. Wonderful! Thank you

    Springs to mind sympoiesis and sintropy – as Nature.

    I can see in the model internal and external, mind-like and matter-like emerging entities. I see culture and nature, and landscapes. Beautiful!

    Great! Aha 🙂

  2. Epic! I now find it useful to imagine this field process model in the form of a sweet round fruit when approaching a project. For example a couple upcoming projects, both suburban gardens with an already established gardens but with new owners wanting to make changes. The whole of the property as it is, the people that live there, myself employed to facilitate this evolution, the plants and animals already there; I can visualise as participateurs together in this evolving field, coming together for the tranformation that is required at that time. A node in a continuing process.

    That particular field (project) swells in significance in the lives of the participateurs for that time, linking & merging with the other fields of our lives also evolving at the same time (family, home, personal projects, other overlapping jobs!).

    Again these enquiries illuminate the value of working the the unique qualities of the place and the people, including myself employed as the ‘professional help’. Jascha’s point that there has not been a quality process unless all of the participateurs have been transformed is both empowering and freeing of conventional restraints that I impose on myself in an attempt to provide a ‘professional’ service. The best result will emerge through my participation being natural, honest and subjective. All great stuff to highlight and to work on.

    1. Nicely put Jason yeah doesn’t Jascha (in partnership with Sonja) bring such rich fertiliser and mulch to the whole conversation…

  3. Thanks to Ed Christwitz for permission to pass on this comment he made on the episode (originally in the Pattern Science Community facebook group):

    Thank you for this relevant inter-dynamic generative metaphysical genius. The crystal melts, opens to re-informing, and re-crystallizes more in tune with the environment.

  4. Heh, I recognise those books! How far have you gotten into them, Dan? How have you found them so far? I started on #4, The Luminous Ground (only because it was the only volume my library has), but I found it a bit dense, like the Silmarillion. I got through the Silmarillion… wasn’t so successful with The Luminous Ground. I’m happy people like you are distilling it for people like us.

    Looking forward to this interview; I’ve downloaded it into my podcast reader already!

    1. Hey Paul! I’ve read them all carefully and I’m a different designer and person for it. I would absolutely not recommend starting with The Luminous Ground – it really doesn’t make sense outside the context of the first three books. So I would say it is a good thing you didn’t get through it and hopefully you quit sooner rather than later :-). Volume Two, The Process of Creating Life was by far the biggest game changer for me, though Volumes One and Three were important also. But I agree that there needs to be more accessible introductions to them – something I’ll be putting more and more effort into in the coming years. Do let me know what you make of this episode by the way – is one of my favourites so far for sure…

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