EoP 2: Designing for Place

Week two of the permaculture class has come and gone.  In case you missed it, here’s the slideshow:

The class for this coming Saturday will be a brief workshop on mapping.  Attendance is recommended, but not essential.  I reckon at least a few folks may have plans to be off setting things on fire in a patriotic fashion this coming weekend.  Whether you plan to be there or not, do check out the This American Life episode, Mapping which can be listened to, streaming, for free.  The first two stories, one about mapping a neighborhood by streetlamps and Halloween pumpkins, and the other on making sense of the ambient sounds in an office building, are particularly good.  Some of Denis Wood’s neighborhood maps can be found here.

Weekly Challenges

–  Continue visiting your sit spot.

–  Go for a walk in the woods.  Walk for about five minutes at your normal pace.  Stop.  Walk for ten minutes at half your normal walking speed.  Stop.  Walk for the next hour or so at one tenth your normal walking speed.  What do you observe?

–  Visit a place at the edge of a forest and a field.  Stand under the trees and look out at the field.  Walk out into the field, turn around, and look back at the forest.  Notice anything?

– Memorize three identifying characteristics for five unknown plants, then learn their names.

–  Strike up a conversation with someone about design.  It doesn’t have to be permaculture design per se- could be any sort.  What can you learn from this person?

Recommended Reading

From the Design section:

Permaculture Principles – Bill Mollison & Reny Mia Slay

Permaculture Design Process – Jude Hobbs

Design Methods – Rick Valley

Connection to the Earth – Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa & Murray Silverstein

From the Society section:

Peak Oil Survival – Aric McBay

Design Projects

–  Keep meeting with your design group both on site and off; begin brainstorming possibilities for the space

–  Create 10 questions to ask (human) stakeholders in your site to help refine your idea of what the space should look like and be used for.  Refer to Jude Hobbs’ & Max Lindeggar’s Client Questionnaire (in the Design section of the reader) for inspiration on these questions.

–  Interview at least 3 human stakeholders in your site and record their answers to your 10 questions.

–  Begin mapping your site.  11″x17″ drawing paper and tracing paper are available at the Infoshop.  You are welcome to use any other materials you’d like.

–  Make a scale map of your site as it currently appears.  Include topographical information, extant vegetation, roads, buildings, and any other relevant information.

–  Using the tracing paper, create an overlay or overlays showing the flows of energy and energetic materials through your site (i.e. water, sunlight, traffic).

–  Using the tracing paper, create an overlay showing at least 5 relevant sectors (i.e. fire wind, summer sun, views, etc.)

–  Optional: Using the tracing paper, create an overlay showing the zones of your site.

–  Begin compiling a list of design goals for your site.


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