[permaculture] Urban Permaculture

L.Santoyo Designs santoyo at earthflow.com
Fri Oct 14 23:55:28 EDT 2005

Robert Waldrop writes:

>I think about permaculturing cities a lot.  I
>think that this is the upcoming great frontier for
>permaculture.  A major emphasis in the written
>permaculture canon, the oral teachings of the
>various permaculture teaching lineages, the lived
>wisdom of the actual sites of permacultural
>activity, and the on-going conversation in
>teaching and discussion, is rural permaculture.
>Having developed its roots in the countryside, it
>seems to me that more needs to be done, lived,
>spoken of, and written about, in urban contexts.

A great misconception about Permaculture Design being promulgated is 
that it is a land-based system of sustainable design, and therefore, 
is most appropriate in undeveloped land-rich rural areas. Using 
permaculture to design a sustainable homestead is only part of the 
picture, and people do permaculture an injustice by limiting the 
vision to land practices only.

The land is a metaphor; it is the most common denominator we have as 
a global people to understanding the workings of Nature. Lest they 
forget, my husband Larry Santoyo reminds all his students -that we 
are part of Nature too!

The EarthFlow Design Works PDC course starts with 4 days of examining 
natural patterns and the approach to design-then 4 days of applying 
those patterns and principles to the design of  the natural landscape 
and the "home ecosystem" -and finally, 4 days of studying 
permaculture's applications to the larger world: the design of 
communities, businesses and beyond- the cultural landscape.

We can apply permaculture to the design of non-land based systems 
because it is a connecting science-we learn from Nature how to put 
things where they go and then we translate that understanding (based 
on caring for each other and the earth- the context of enlightened 
self-interest) to putting things (people, practices, etc.) where they 
go in other media as well.

Applying permaculture design to urban areas indeed holds great 
promise and great potential for rapid change- precisely because towns 
and cities are such resource-rich areas- both materially and socially.

We are beginning to see the rippling effects of permaculture become 
waves in Los Angeles since our first PDC course there in 2003.

See an article on urban permaculture appearing in HopeDance Magazine:
Kathryn Santoyo
EarthFlow Design Works
San Luis Obispo, CA

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