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Melbourne PDC Design
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

It is standard format, in the PDC curriculum, that students are given an exercise to design a landscape with a design brief so they can make the move into design while being mentored by their Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) teacher. This is not a test but an exercise, enabling students to make the first step into design while still taking part in the PDC program.

During the 72-hour course students receive a body of diverse knowledge which, despite covering a number of disciplines and emphasising the connectivity between those disciplines, can seem surprisingly simplistic and easy to understand until students are put into design groups and given a challenge to design an area of landscape with a design brief. If the brief is likely to be a real life scenario then the possibilities expand and the design system complicates itself into innumerable choices of interactive complexity.


Zaytuna Farm PDC
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

This is a wonderful event during a course where students suddenly flower into the design process after a week of intense information assimilation. Student’s minds are expanding, not just through the knowledge that they are taught in the course but through the knowledge and the life experiences that they already have becoming relevant through the eyes of permaculture.

The hard drive, to use computer analogy, of the student’s mind is reformatted and re-filed so that the memories relevant to the design lessons become more important, more obvious as an example that you can use, so that when you go into the design exercise all these possibilities of your life experience change into relevance and the challenge is interesting and engaging.


Quail Springs PDC, California
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Really, this is one of the most important designs that a person is ever involved in during their permaculture career because it is the first time they will apply the design system with a brief just as one would get from a client. One also has to figure out how to work a landscape with its particular variations and restrictions — from then on all those basic parameters that you have to work around when designing are repeated over and over. There is virtually no obsolescence in permaculture because the principles of nature are eternal, infinite. Compost is compost, sun angles are sun angles — they will vary from site to site but they are more or less constant in the way you analyse them.

In design you are completing a picture so that the systems have total integrity and your approach to designing waste systems, energy systems and living systems must reflect this. Also local economy and the energy audit in relation to production and processing and end use efficiency have more or less the same fundamental approaches.


Marda PDC, West Bank
Photo © Craig Mackintosh


Melbourne PDC Design
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

A student’s first design exercise in their PDC is the most important in the sense of the realisation of true design experience. It is imperative that students are given a design project that reflects a real life situation incorporating what they are likely to encounter later in their careers as professional designers. When you give a presentation it becomes very easy to see what you know, what you don’t know and what you need to concentrate on to improve your particular deficiencies in design understanding and skills. The presentation is an exercise which indicates not only what you know now after the course but how much more you need to know.

More and more now we see student design presentations improving in content and quality and they continue to improve further, partly because we now have incredible information and presentation systems to use as aids — we have Google Earth, Sketch-up and Google maps for example. Most presentations today are done from a laptop to a digital projector and presented in extremely high quality and would be of great value in the professional world.


Hong Kong PDC
Photo © Geoff Lawton

When you randomly assemble a group of students, they have not chosen the people they work with. There can be up to 10 in a large course design group, and they are then given a design brief and have to work together. This tests their communication skills and their tolerance, so we find that at least 50% of the exercise is a people exercise where students have to find the balance between listening and being heard. We have to not only understand design but we have to understand each other, we have to be peace makers and team players and this is a very interesting social exercise which emphasises how we have to choose our teams carefully. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you will always have the same approaches to design and it would appear the same result.

What you gain out of a 72-hour design course is a new profession in design capability. You have been launched on the ocean of permaculture in a boat that leaks a little. Those leaks are your weaknesses in comprehension that point to areas you need to concentrate on, so that you can competently engage in this rapidly expanding permaculture design world as a professional Permaculture Designer.


Turkey PDC
Photo © Geoff Lawton

18 Responses to “Design Exercises in Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses”

  1. Jason Gerhardt

    Thanks Geoff,
    This is a great primer for students to read prior to fully delving into the design process. Your words are always appreciated!

    Reply
  2. Matthew Salkeld

    A PDC gives only a brief introduction to the design process, jammed into the last day and a half.
    A PDC is mainly the theory and foundation of permaculture, and many anecdotes, not an interactive exercise in design with significant training and feedback from a mentor (although it could be that). “What you gain out of a 72-hour design course is a new profession in design capability.” That is a patently inaccurate and very misleading statement. One’s capacity in design is built upon a broad knowledge of many disciplines.

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  3. Matthew Salkeld

    Just a note that the PRI has not carried out an energy audit on its own farm or operations, and does not teach its students HOW to perform one.

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  4. David Stockhausen

    A PDC and deeper design courses can give you a great foundation of design concepts that involve the holistic picture. While no exercise or class can give you the full picture, a PDC can introduce you to the broader concepts of holistic design unshared in most other siloed design disciplines. To increase your own skills as a design professional, it always takes self-direction and a cumulative experience of practice to flourish. While no-one could drop a “profession” in your hands, a PDC gives you that solid start to view every aspect of life as a design exercise. It’s up to you to fill in the holes in your own knowledge to feel confident. My PDC quite literally changed my life.

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  5. Janet Millington

    The design at the end of a PDC draws together all that is learned during a very full and intense 2 weeks. Although not a “test” in the academic sense it does give both student and teachers the ability to see what was taken in and if there are any gaps in the learning showing through the design. It is the opportunity to apply the knowledge in the design. Many PDCs are held in places yet to have a PDC design done on them….sometimes that is the point. Other times a PDC is done right in the heart of ongoing, developing and working permaculture.

    In the former there is only talk and pictures but thousands of students each year, hungry for the information, get it. Very privileged student have the opportunity to learn with some or lots of permaculture around them. It is often hard to cover all aspects in theory and practice in 2 weeks. The original format and course was designed as talk as at the time there was very little on ground examples. Balancing a rich learning environment where the student can be immersed in the learning does create some tension for time – theory or practice. As the manual and the PDC design was theory based, often the practice is up to the student after classes or in some situations for internships. Providing the working example is a wonderful gift.
    Janet

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  6. rob avis

    The PDC is a framework to apply existing knowledge from different disciplines in a more productive and holistic way. It allows people to look through positive lenses and start acting. To my knowledge the PDC is one of the most effective educational platforms to create positive change – this is why it is growing so quickly. The efficacy of the PDC is a function of the teacher and his/her ability to empower students to become change-makers. Geoff, in my opinion, is one of the most effective teachers as he is producing many new teachers globally.

    Regarding energy auditing – I don’t know if it would be effective or useful to teach the nuts and bolts of completing an accurate energy audit during a PDC. To accomplish a realistic audit requires a strong understanding thermodynamics, math and material life-cycle analysis. Many engineers are not even be able to properly conduct one. However, the beauty of permaculture design is that, when the principles are understood and applied, one needn’t worry about calculations.

    When you start taking care of yourself you inherently improve your energy footprint – the goal, obviously, is to be net positive. Zaytuna is an experimental model of how things could work. It is not the the only way, and Geoff has challenged others to do better.

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  7. Shawn

    The PDC experience for me transformed the way I saw my relationship with the world around me and gave me new insights into how I could contribute to making positive changes. My initial design certainly would not have won any awards and I was not personally ready to become a professional permaculture designer. However, as Geoff says, it helped to show my weakness and gave me valuable ideas about what areas I needed to work on. You will most likely find more training or more experiences will be necessary. Additional mentoring opportunities would be awesome, but non-the-less, the experience may very likely set you in a direction that brings new passion, purpose and meaning to your life. Is a 72 hour design course enough to become a professional designer? I don’t think it is for most people. This will really depend on your aptitude and prior skills. I am not in this for a sprint, but the long-haul. I am working to make it a way of life. The PDC was enough for me to start on the road to become a professional designer. Whether it takes you 72 hours or a lifetime, the journey towards living sustainably out of abundance is the real experience.

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  8. Aaron

    I remember going through the design process on my PDC and really enjoying it… and am still working on fixing those leaks! The amazing thing is even while still feeling like I am paddling a leaky boat, there are many people who don’t have a boat at all, so to speak, or at least have different leaks. So my friends and neighbors and my first clients have been more than willing to learn with me as we design their properties.

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  9. David Power

    It has been said that learning permaculture is like learning a new language. It is not hard to do, but does take practice. First all you hear and learn are the words of this new language. Each word means something, but it is only useful to you when you structure them into a sentence. After you are able to say a sentence, you forget about the separate words and you begin to communicate with nature in a new way. Eventually you are just are able to fluently speak this new language of permaculture and you will never look back.

    Studying with Geoff over the years has really proven to me that Geoff not only understands the language of permaculture, but he is an encyclopaedia of knowledge on the subject.

    A Permaculture Design Course really does give you a framework to work from and it will give you the confidence to make a start. With Geoff’s international experience, you will no doubt learn so much and will want to start right away on your own permaculture project.

    I really have appreciated Geoff’s training over the years and I could not speak more highly of his work. Thank you Geoff.

    My experience:
    Permaculture Design Course – Geoff Lawton – 2007
    Permaculture Practical Certificate – Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton – 2007
    Permaculture Project Aid Worker Course – Geoff and Nadia Lawton – 2009
    P.D.C. Teacher Training Course – Geoff and Nadia Lawton – 2009

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  10. David Mattinson

    We were told on the Central Victoria PDC that it will take 2000hrs of study and practise to become an efficient designer, which is what is asked for most Diploma level certification. But the PDC cousre is the best primer in starting an education pathway.
    I know Darren Doherty has been playing around with the format http://regenag.blogspot.com/2010/10/off-contour-4-permaculturalists.html as others are going into a more region specific course such as one for Transition Towns.

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  11. Rhamis

    The design exercises are invaluable in helping to get your head around how to begin designing and arranging functionally in a manner that is appropriate for where we live. It’s always a work in progress – constantly evolving and improving. We live in a world that is dynamic and alive. The designs need to accommodate that. The PDC design exercises are an important step in formulating a practical vision and a set a skills that permit you – that enable you – to do that.

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  12. Nick Huggins

    The process of permaculture design for me and my clients involves education infused with design. Its no good producing a design if the leaky part in the boat is being able to communicate how the system works and how it will be maintained.
    Shawn spoke of a mentoring system that could help him to be a better designer and to plug those leaks.
    There is no better place to have your designs tested then the WPN website. Link in with some of the older (senior) designers and test and measure your designs with fellow peers. Poke holes in it and see where it leaks.
    One other thing, don’t take the criticism about your designs personally. Its not about you, its about the design science of complex systems and pattern of landscape not your ego.
    I would love someone to test my designs. I keep putting up designs I have completed over the last 12 months and the only feed back I get ” Gee, its alright for some people who have a huge budget”.
    This is what Permaculture is all about. The re-designing of human landscapes for Permanent-culture. Get feed back, test and measure and grow with your experiences.
    Great article Geoff.

    Reply
  13. Mustafa F. Bakir

    When I landed in Brisbane airport in 2007 to take a PDC course with Geoff at PRI I was shocked to see it was cancelled. Talking to the office at PRI I found out that it was cancelled because Geoff and Nadia were going over to Bill and Lisa’s farm in Tasmania where they were going to co-teach a PPC (Permaculture Practical Certificate) course with them. When I asked them to sign me up for that course instead they told me I could not go and that only PDC holders could attend. When I insisted they told me I should speak to Geoff directly. So I did. I told him that I came half way around the world for the PDC and since that was cancelled could they at least allow me to attend the PPC. I told him that I owned and had been reading the “designers’ manual” since 1998 and I was not completely new to PC. He said it did not matter and that I would have difficulty grasping most of what was being done and would ask too many questions.

    I understood what he meant exactly, one year later while taking the PDC course that he co-teaches once a year with Bill at Melbourne Uni. I think it was something like 4 days into the course that I realised that the PDC was a wholesome, life changing experience and like one of my fellow students on that course and close friend Tashi elegantly put: “The PDC is not an information course, it is a transformation course!”. It is also worth quoting Bill here: “In PC we do not teach how to do things but how to think about doing things”… and it is not complete without the design exercise, the presentations and the party for that matter.

    After that PDC in Melbourne I had the chance to observe numerous other PDC courses as I assisted Geoff throughout my internship at the institute and when I assited Bill & Geoff in Istanbul for the course that we as PRI Turkey convened. I am an architect and can easily say that the PDC course the way it is structured as Bill & Geoff teach it is extremely well tuned especially for opening up minds which have gone through “the cartesian machine” as education. A redefinition of the word “design” is well overdue and in my experience you cannot do any better justice to this redefinition in two weeks than with a PDC course.

    I have not yet personally seen a better introduction to perceiving the world with a “pattern eye” and such elegant detailing of witfully condensed expressions such as “what you hate will haunt you forever” and “the problem is the solution”.

    Thank you Geoff for this article which describes accurately the design exercise process in all its facets and gives heart to people interested to dive deeper into PC.

    And thank you Bill & Geoff for everything and specially for being impeccable mentors.

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  14. Darren J. Doherty

    G’day,

    Thanks for the article Geoff.

    This is all good however I believe that only one design experience in a PDC is simply not enough and in the RegenAG® ‘Off the Contour’ article ‘A Permaculturalists Retrospective Version II’ (http://regenag.blogspot.com/2010/10/off-contour-4-permaculturalists.html) that David Mattison refers to, I discuss my reasons for coming to this conclusion.

    I find it difficult to reconcile having 10 people in a design group especially for a once off also. Those with smaller voices tend to get lost in groups this large. In order to build skills around group dynamics we always preface group exercises with a preamble around the following points:

    ‘True leadership is shown by being an effective listener’
    ‘You should all know your personalities by now and so if you are a natural extrovert then use this energy to engage those who are more introverted in your group, engaging them in the design process’
    ‘If you have a problem with your group then try to solve it: if you can’t then find another group’
    ‘Don’t do something in a group exercise that is one of your strengths: sure give your opinion but take the opportunity to work on your weak links’
    ‘Permaculture is not just about landscape design and so we don’t want to just have a landscape plan but also consider economy and society’

    The design course is rich with opportunities for design exercises and never has this been more the case now with our deep understandings and appreciation of learning styles concomitant with the means by which to express that great PC principle of ‘accelerate succession and evolution’ especially with the plethora of media and means now at our disposal. This effectively opens up room (i.e. time) in the PDC to have more design exercises. Chalk and Talk is relatively easy by comparison and whilst it works for some it doesn’t work for many others.

    As mentioned I think it is also important that Permaculture Design Course exercises are not just landscape designs as this undersells the concept. This is why we include discussion on Day 1 (Introduction) around a variety of concepts outside of Permaculture especially Holistic Management and its Decision Making matrix (see http://regenag.blogspot.com/2011/02/off-contour-11-permaculture-ecological.html). I see no point at all in just doing pretty plans if they aren’t realistically based in a holistic decision making process that includes consideration of economic and social viability. To this end one of our design exercises (for Chapter 14 – Strategies of an Alternative Nation) involves groups or individuals coming up with a ‘pitch’ for a Permaculture-related enterprise. We also expect that when it comes time to do the ‘Major Design Exercise’, the subject of this article, that economic and social strategies are included in the design.

    It is not unusual in my professional work to only work on single or a short number of terms of reference with regards design work and reporting as there are other players engaged. This is still a world of specialisation and in many instances it is worthwhile working this way, such that we acknowledge that ‘you have to know what you don’t know’. As such we do special one topic design exercises to cater for this real world reality outside of the ‘PDC Bubble’. The ‘Major Design Exercise’ in our case is when all the domains of Permaculture come together and in again in our case this is not your 1st go at it.

    Of course for some our way of doing things is not their preferred option and they would prefer to continue with the more traditional PDC processes including a single design at the end. This obviously works for many as its the model promoted by Geoff and Bill and others. My point is that there are other means of delivery out there that people should be aware of such that all learning styles are respected and catered for, and that questioning, revision and feedback forever continue.

    All the best and keep up the great work,

    Darren Doherty

    Reply
  15. Patrick Blampied

    In a ‘real world’ sense it’s important not to expect to get back out there and for someone to go “hey.. you’ve got a PDC, come work in permaculture with me.” You will need more experience, however as far as what the course and design process does for you, it’s the first step and a both very valuable and very necessary.

    It really is a rewiring of what you already know. I walked in to my PDC as a Communications guy and walked out a Permaculture Communications guy. It’s been a new profession for me as I could not have applied what I already knew in my profession in the way I now do and that has completely changed everything for me.

    Darren you touched on the importance of using the permaculture design process outside of landscape design. This has proven very powerful for me. There is a huge gap for this.

    For example I’ve just started an urban food security project focused on behavioural change in the mainstream – http://www.growit.org.au and sold over 60 raised garden beds & training packages in 6 weeks. The beauty of this is that there are now 60 new people in my region learning to grow vegetables in a hands-on environment. This is a permaculture business and part of the new economy.

    The main point if you’re considering a PDC is that it’s taught by a good teacher that can infuse passion. Then the dots will be connected and Permaculture will dominate every aspect of your thoughts. Geoff, I thank you for that.

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  16. Angelo Eliades

    One thing people seem to be overlooking here is personal responsibility in one’s development when it comes to design skills. In our modern, western culture of instant gratification, there is an expectation that we simply fork over our cash and get spoon fed.

    To achieve anything in life you need to put your own effort in to grow, learn and develop. A teacher is a facilitator in the learning process, the teacher can show the student the way, but the student’s own effort, conviction and most importantly, practice, practice and more practice is what will yield results. As a qualified trainer, I know this from experience.

    For those that have completed a PDC, you would be well aware that the most important part of the course is learning to look at the world through a new, holistic perspective. You are taught a design framework, to which you have to bring your own skills to be able to use. Permaculture teaches the broad principles of how nature works, and how we design using the same principles. If you want to learn to grow plants, you have to learn the horticultural techniques yourself. Ditto for any other design aspect.

    I studied my PDC with Bill and Geoff and found the course to be truly transformational. I’ve met many PDC graduates in my travels, and I’ve come to realise that the real value of the course is realised when you put it into action. The more you use what you’ve learned, the more you end up learning, and the more experienced you become.

    If anyone has wondered why PRI will only give you a Diploma after you submit 2+ years of practical work, it’s for this very reason. It demonstrates that you’ve done something with your PDC, applied it and achieved significant outcomes through your efforts. Thank heavens that PRI doesn’t authorise teachers with just a PDC, this is a quality control measure that makes real sense!

    For those who want to “test” their designs, sorry to be critical about the idea of seeking peer approval via other designers, this is subjective, unscientific nonsense. Short of what Geoff terms a type 1 error, where there is something significantly wrong with a design, (in which case you shouldn’t have been awarded a PDC!) most designs look fine on paper and will work to some degree or other.

    What concerns me is the disconnection from nature here, the very essence of what Permaculture is trying to teach! I am appalled at what I call “hit and run Permaculture design” which I see a lot coming out of young PDC graduates who are more hell bent on competing with each other “to do designs” and brand themselves designers – without REAL testing of designs. There seems to be a quest to accumulate designs, where quantity has precedence over quality, and that the mantle of “designer” has some magical aura about it that lends someone supposed respect and credibility. What these neophytes don’t realise is that quality work speaks for itself, and one’s reputation as a designer naturally arises from outstanding work, not grandstanding.

    So, you’re wondering how we really test a design. well, we certainly don’t draw it up on paper, throw a few plants in, and abandon the project. This is “hit and run design”, really convenient when you can go to exotic overseas locations, make a token effort, and not follow up the results.

    The only way to test a design is to let nature test it, it will be the ultimate judge on the effectiveness of a design, period. Forgive my strict scientific methodology, but this is my background and training. To assess if a design works, it needs to be revisited periodically to monitor progress, and evaluate how well the design is working. If parts are not working, this is where re-adjustment or re-evaluation of aspects of the design are called for. This is where learning actually happens.

    Remember also, we are designing with living things here, soil, plants animals and people, not sterile inanimate “architectural features” as landscapers see things. There is a degree of nurturing involved in the design, you are creating a living system, and it has to survive the four seasons of the year. Only by being in touch with the design through the various annual cycles, and observing the system through each phase, can you OBSERVE (remember that key principle) and get a real feel for what works.

    To be quite strict here, if you’ve designed something on paper, but you haven’t closely followed the actual implementation through all four seasons, you can’t call yourself a designer by any stretch of the imagination. Why? Simply because there is no feedback loop back to the designer for them to evaluate their design efforts.

    Without having any feedback, which comes through careful observation and tending to the design as it grows, a fledgling designer will keep churning out the same sub-standard designs without any realisation that this is the case.

    The logical test which invalidates a lot of the “not enough design teaching” arguments is that from the same teachers, with the same syllabus, even within the same class, even further, from within the same design group at the end of the course, the students who put their PDCs into practical application will be much more experienced as designers than those who do very little with their PDCs.

    Speaking from experience, Bill and Geoff provided me with the necessary training to undertake a design task with a degree of confidence, and I’ve taken it from there, and have done as much as I can to put it into practice and continue the learning process.

    Do my designs work? – check out my website (with full facts, figures and statistics on how well the garden works), or visit on National Permaculture Day if you’re in Melbourne, were listed as the Urban Food Forest. Yes, it really is possibly Melbourne’s first demonstration Permaculture urban backyard food forest and it works. And it’s fully documented with yield stats, because numbers speak volumes…

    Do I run around calling myself a designer? No. I’ll earn my Diploma with PRI first, to show I really can do what I claim to do, when I have my work assessed formally, then I’ll concern myself with titles such as “designer”. Permaculture is not about promoting personal status folks, its about caring for the Earth, the people, and sharing the surplus (produce, knowledge, experience).

    So, in conclusion, I’d like to say to everyone with PDCs, stop thinking that there wasn’t enough “design training”, recognise what you have been taught as valuable, stop sitting on your hands and go out and take responsibility for your development. The teacher has shown you the way, but the journey is your personal journey of growth, and yours alone to walk.

    The design component of the PDC IS enough to get you started. It’s only by daring to do something different or new that you have the opportunity to gain experience, and gain competence as a designer. So, stop contemplating, get your hands dirty, and go out and plants some trees! If you can keep them alive for a year and they reward you with fruit (figurative speaking, we all know Permaculture is more than gardening!!!) then you can call yourself a “designer” if labels are that important to you.

    No more excuses, draw it up, grow it, tend to it, monitor it (for at least a year), and prove it works, that’s it! If it doesn’t work, revisit, redesign until it does work. You don’t need hand-holding!!! Most concerns are due to lack of confidence, and confidence comes with experience, I think I’ve said my part…

    My personal thanks to Geoff for some great teaching and heaps of inspiration to go out there and make it happen, and to encourage others to do the same!

    Reply
  17. Dwarakanath

    With the heavy weights speaking here, I might not be qualified enough to comment, but from experience in other fields (being an animator, animation teacher, teaching children, public speaking, teaching cricket, etc.) I think that the design exercise is more of a learning session than anything else. That is how I saw it when I took the PDC and that is how I see it when I teach the PDC. It is another module in the PDC along with the 14. I tend to get the students to start working on projects right from the third session, the ‘methods of design’ session. I get them to do some random assemblies and pitch them, I get them to do element analysis, I get them to do some life cycle analysis of elements (inherent energy, manufacture, maintenance time, cost, etc.) and it continues. I select maps for them from google earth, ask them to accumulate data on climate once the climate session hits, etc. I give them contour maps and soil profiles (real when available, fictional when not) and wind data and water data (salinity situations, etc.), and ask them to start designing as soon as the soils session is over. Generally three to five acre properties are what I give. From then on, each day they would add or revise their designs, and at the end, i give any where between three days to a week for them to work on presentation, pitch, etc. (not just a few hours on the last day.) I found that it gets the students into thinking holistically, although most of the times, the designs are way too ‘expensive’. I do give them the opportunity to suggest a low cost establishment plan as to where to start with a fairly low budget and build from then on. I share with them the average costs of various things while I do so. All of this, I feel, is an integral part of learning. They are not ‘professional designs’ but ‘learning exercises’ and there is a big difference! In these, I do not want my students to be stifled with lack of knowledge of costs, etc., and want them to soar free with pattern thinking. After that during the review, i suggest them ways in cutting costs as well as where to start with a reasonable (usually very small as it applies to conditions here in India) starting points.

    Rather than seeing whether students emerge as ‘complete designers’, I see that they leave the course with the positive attitude of approaching the world and to take the first step. I also enjoy seeing the creativity unfold in the students during design exercises, where they come up with these beautiful (although some times not completely realistic) ideas, and i see that as an integral part of being a designer. To have that vision, that depth of imagination, is essential, in my humble opinion. Most of the times, students do come up with quite cost effective ideas, for which i really commend them (cost effectiveness not just in money but in resources used in those ideas, etc.).

    Evolving a system from humble beginnings is certainly a necessary skill. Also to see ideas as those N-fixing sacrificial chop drop trees to shape the whole picture initially, but then ending up with decent climax situations is also a necessary skill. Marriage of those two skills along with practical realities (which students can learn ONLY in the real world, no way to achieve that completely in the classroom) ultimately is what shapes the student as a designer.

    Most of the times, I find that just taking out one or two expensive ideas from the designs of students, and replacing them with small and slow solutions that are inexpensive, really shows the students how they could look at it. Also, so far, most of the times, the main frame ideas still work great. It is these ideas like ‘ polyhouse aquaponic systems that get aerated because they are connected to that little fountain in the yard’ that really open up the design, although they are expensive (cheaper to just put in a solar aerator). That is what I find generally. Beautiful ideas, with small modifications, working designs. And I see all of that being an essential part of the PDC, even that part of students coming up with those grand (some times erroneous, some times expensive, some times exorbitant) ideas.

    My two cents.
    humbly
    DJ

    Reply

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