Building, Land, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad December 6, 2011
The problem is that we are adapting to the wrong things — to images, or to short-term greed, or to the clutter of mechanics. These maladaptations are known as “antipatterns” — a term coined not by Alexander, but by software engineers. An antipattern is something that does things wrong, yet is attractive for some reason (profitable or easy in the short term, but dysfunctional, wasteful of resources, unsustainable, unhealthy in the long term). It also keeps re-appearing. Sounds like our economy and wasteful lifestyle? — Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros
CC Gjøvik, an example of a multilayered antipattern
The permaculture focus is on tracking patterns in nature and design, to create pleasure for ourselves and to find good examples for the world. Patterns work in a multitude of connections with their surroundings, and the more connections there are, the richer are the pattern languages the patterns are part of.
Unfortunately, although our pattern languages might have a deep poetry, not all people feel attracted to their harmony (meaning "the quality without a name"). Today’s disconnected people are attracted by antipatterns, this is because they are profitable or easy in the short term, and human nature is greedy and lazy. We are short term thinkers — in a world of competition the winner takes it all, and today’s capitalism is all about materialism.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Land, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 17, 2011
Daniel Diškanec checks out his new edible friends
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
I should have shared these pictures back in August, when the pictures were taken, but was too tied up with preparations for the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (IPC10) in Jordan. Though late, I trust you’ll appreciate them anyway.
If you didn’t catch them already, be sure to read the previous two posts on this homeless camp in the mountainous north-central part of Slovakia (here and here). It’ll help you appreciate my personal satisfaction from seeing the magic of developing abundance with this project — one that can truly use the additional health-giving produce pictured and the increased economic resiliency it brings.Comments (1)
Building, Energy Systems, Urban Projects — by Jessica Ryall November 15, 2011
You don’t need a super-fantastic-amazing funny-looking low energy house to cut down your home energy use if you know what you’re looking for. Not every house in suburbia is a low energy house. You have probably noticed it yourself. Some homes are just naturally bright and sunny. They’re always nice to be in and mysteriously toasty warm in winter. During the summer, all the owner has to do is open the back door and a cool breeze magically flows through the house. Other homes are the exact opposite. In winter, the sun never seems to come into the windows. The cold breeze rattles the floorboards underfoot. And that state-of-the-art gas heater only seems to warm the few inches of air around it. In summer the heat is oppressive and no matter what you try, even with the air conditioning turned up all the way, it is always more comfortable under the tree outside.Comments (3)
Building, Consumerism, Economics, Society, Village Development — by Nikos A. Salingaros November 14, 2011
Interview by James Kalb of The Philidelphia Society, August 2011
Home sweet home?
Nikos Salingaros, the mathematician and architectural theorist, recently published a new book, Twelve Lectures on Architecture: Algorithmic Sustainable Design (ISI Distributed Titles, 2010). It’s a somewhat expanded set of notes for a series of lectures he gave a couple of years ago on architecture and urbanism. As such, it gives a clear if rather spare presentation of ideas he’s presented before.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Salination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Dan Lewin November 11, 2011
An aerial view of the site
Although the landscape here could be seen as a model for scarcity, what there is an abundance of is rocks. The baked dusty earth barely passes for soil and during the summer there isn’t rain here for over six months. With valuable agricultural resources seemingly at a minimum, rocks can be incredibly valuable in the design of a sustainable human settlement. In the case of the Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan’s site (PRIJ), rocks have formed the main building blocks of the swales that form the back bones of this small farm. They surround the heavily mulched planting pits for the many varieties of trees here and they also can be used for another useful function which litres of my sweat has been testament to! They make up the substrate of the grey water system into which reeds are planted that feed on the water flowing through from the sinks and showers in the washing block.Comments (3)
Building, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad November 9, 2011
Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros are running a series of essays in Metropolis Magazine at the moment, they are all published here. I’ve no idea how long the series will run — hopefully forever. Anyway, it’s time to introduce this series to permaculture people, and I’ll be concentrating on the first five essays about the technologies of Christopher Alexander.
The essays on Alexander’s technologies in chronological order:
- The Radical Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The Sustainable Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The Pattern Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The Living Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The “Wholeness-Generating” Technology of Christopher Alexander
Patterns in the sand caused by fresh water run-off. Photo: Martyn Gorman
The 20th century was the century of ideologies, but it all ended in mindless consumerism. So obviously, ideologies alone are not the answer, although they can hold many a truth and be a tool to unite people behind a common endeavour. Still, all this is pointless if the people do not have the right tools, or even worse, if they are using “the technologies of death”.Comments (3)
Building, Society, Village Development — by Nikos A. Salingaros October 20, 2011
Photo by داود on Flickr
We highlight a little-understood cognitive phenomenon that may play a key role in the maladaptive failures of the modern human environment. There are implications for our future ability to integrate built environments into sustainable ecosystems. By discussing vision we mean how architects interpret what they see in front of them, not the brave new world they envision populated with their own designs.
By Michael Mehaffy and Nikos A. Salingaros (originally published on shareable.net)
1. Seeing the World Differently.
Have you ever looked at a bizarre building design and wondered, “what were the architects thinking?” Have you looked at a supposedly “ecological” industrial-looking building, and questioned how it could be truly ecological? Or have you simply felt frustrated by a building that made you uncomfortable, or felt anger when a beautiful old building was razed and replaced with a contemporary eyesore? You might be forgiven for thinking “these architects must be blind!” New research shows that in a real sense, you might actually be right.Comments (4)
Building, Community Projects, Land, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 10, 2011
It seems there is a plant able to fill almost any niche. In this case Strangler Figs are painstakingly trained over generations to stop massive soil erosion in the rainiest place on earth, and, more, to create almost indestructible living pedestrian bridges which will last for centuries despite mega rain events.
You have to admire the community thinking that goes into this beautiful work. These people, walking on centuries-old living bridges, realise the gift given them by their ancestors, and so they pay it forward by donating their labour to build more, even though they won’t benefit from it in their own lifetimes. Voices from the past, perhaps, urge them to follow their predecessors’ gracious example by investing a little energy into a wondrous gift to future generations. Imagine if we could spin our culture around to think like this.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Monika Goforth October 1, 2011
by Monika Goforth and Terry Leahy, University of Newcastle, Australia
To use permaculture lingo, Chikukwa can be described as a real edge, both in terms of ecology, culture and language, and the edge effect has certainly produced something rich. The community here has a sense of being both somewhat innocent and progressive at the same time. It is as if they skipped the industrialized phase and went straight into becoming a sustainable community. — Lindhagen 2010
This shot shows how the Chikukwa lands looked in the early nineties,
bare hillsides and soil erosion, with the consequence in poor nutrition.
This picture shows a small section of the Chikukwa clan lands as they are now.
The houses nestled among orchards, the bunds with vetiver grass in the
cropping fields and the extensive woodlots are all typical of this design strategy.
The Chikukwa Ecological Land Trust (CELUCT) is a unique community permaculture organisation in the Chimanimani district of Zimbabwe. Set in the highlands bordering Mozambique, the region is heavily populated and has suffered from deforestation, serious erosion and soil degradation since the area was named a Tribal Trust Land in the colonial era. In this setting, the Chikukwa community has developed a successful permaculture program involving around 8,000 farmers in what Chan (2010) calls “one of the largest and relatively unknown permaculture sites in the world.” So, how did a remote Zimbabwean farming community learn and implement permaculture techniques? What have been the effects?Comments (20)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Land, Medicinal Plants, Rehabilitation, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 29, 2011
What if global hunger, poverty and disease could be solved with resources already at our disposal?
A film directed by Steve Schrenzel
It was a pleasure to meet Tara Blasco and Lyn Hebenstreit at the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (IPC10) in Jordan this month. Tara and Lyn have been deeply involved in a Tanzanian success story that you’ll quickly become immersed in via the excellent new documentary above.Comments (7)
Building, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Terraces, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Perlot August 11, 2011
Sandot Sukkaew explains the difference between his own organic rice paddies
and the chemically-treated ones in the background.
As the forests were felled, the life-giving water disappeared – Thai farmer Sandot Sukkaew made that critical connection decades ago while laboring in the mud of his father’s rice paddies, and he’s spent the past 20 years trying to remedy the situation.Comments (4)
Biological Cleaning, Building, Conservation, Urban Projects, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Cecilia Macaulay August 3, 2011
Written a year ago by Cecilia Macaulay
Robot and charcoal-fired tea ceremony brazier
Roving, roving. I’m now staying in Central Tokyo, at my usual home with the Ota family.
This morning I reached for the broom, I got a surprise. Professor Ota came running out "No No!"
He bent down, fiddled with something on the floor, and out it sprang — the floor-sweeping robot.Comments (3)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Building, DVDs/Books, Livestock, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 1, 2011
The biggest problem with chicken houses in urban settings has got to be the hyper-vocal rooster. If you want to avoid having tired grumpy neighbours, what can you do? Even giving them a few eggs per week is unlikely to assuage their wrath. There are obvious options to deal with this situation, but they’re not pretty — like a shotgun, for instance. Some say that if you want to ensure a rooster doesn’t crow on Sunday morning, then you have to eat him Saturday night….
Once again, permaculture turns the problem into a solution. Featured in this excerpt from our soon-to-be-launched Urban Permaculture DVD, is a great chicken house by Penny Pyett, from the Sydney suburbs. The solution to sound also brings other benefits as well — that being improved conditions for the chickens themselves. Watch the clip to see it in action, and you’ll also be treated to an excellent rooster impersonation by our own Geoff Lawton!
Further listening:Comments (6)
Building, Society, Village Development — by Hillel Schocken July 12, 2011
Originally published on Biourbanism.org
Apple’s planned new donut-shaped campus….
Dear Mr Jobs,
Due to the wonders of the iPad, I came across your June 7th presentation to the Cupertino council of the plans for the new Apple campus. My excitement at the start of your presentation — expecting Apple’s cutting edge tradition to appear in the Architecture and Planning — soon turned to a profound disappointment. You were absolutely right to state that the intended capacity of 12,000 people in a single building is “rather odd”. It is certainly not unique. Each of the destroyed WTC “twin towers” had a larger capacity. However, the idea of a single circular building in the park and, indeed, a “campus” is odd in more than one aspect.Comments (8)
Building, Consumerism, Economics, Population, Society, Village Development — by George Monbiot July 1, 2011
As Sydney residents are being paid to leave the city, the case for compact, high-density settlement becomes clearer than ever.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom
For at least a century, governments have tried to urbanise their nations. Communist states sought to drag people out of what Marx and Engels called their “rural idiocy”. Capitalist governments – Mahatir Mohammed’s administration in Malaysia is a good example – tried to persuade and bully indigenous people into leaving the land (which then became available for exploitation) and move to the cities to join the consumer economy. Urbanisation was equated with progress and modernity.Comments (6)