What's a sector?

Vint Lawrence vlawrence at nets.com
Wed Aug 12 11:37:03 EDT 1998

Martha R. Hills wrote:

> I thought I knew what it was, but in developing a one-day intro course
> with another member of Permaculture Melbourne (Australia), we found we
> had different understandings.
> On Permaculture One, we found [if memory from last night serves me]
>      external sources of energy (wind, sun, rain)
> According to Jono, wind, rain and sun are the sectors, so the bracketed
> information defines the term.  To me the bracketed words are examples
> and that sectors can include other forms of energy more important in
> suburban and urban situations, chiefly money.
> To complicate things, we found in a PDC handout from a course here that
> sector refers to the physical environment responding to incoming energy,
> eg. a fire sector is that part of the land likely to be burned and
> therefore to be designed with that in mind.
> Any thoughts would be welcome.
> onward, Martha

The PDC Handbook outlines Sector Planning as "including a)zones, b)sector,
c)slope, and d) orientation."

"The aim of sector planning is to channel external energies(wind, sun,
fire) into or away from the system. The zone and sector factors together
regulate the placement of particular plant species and structures."

Thus, we are talking about "natural" forces (don't forget gravity and
moonlight) and their influences upon design decisions in developing a PC
system. I don't belive that this changes for an urban environment, other
than many of these forces are suppressed and/or overwhelmed by man-made
energy sources and influences (power line transmission, broadcast waves,
steel and concrete structures).

I think it is a mistake to be collapsing money (an invisible structure)
with primary natural energy systems as a component for sector design. What
you end upo with is a design NOT based upon natural energy exchange, but
rather, upon a self-referential (anthropocentric, econopocentric) system
which will ultimately not be balanced or whole in a natural sense.

I'd be interested in seeing what results from  designing with the "urban"
sector influences which you describe, - i.e. crime sector, noise sector,
sewage sector, elevator zone, wind focussing from high-rise buildings,
influence of debt, air pollution, etc. My reckoning is that these are
influences that you would be seeking to mitigate in an urban design rather
than using them as integral design "generators".

Thanks for raising the question.

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