Category: Design

Street Orchards for Community Security

Street Orchards for Community Security

© Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com Fig. 24.The heat island effect. An excessively wide, exposed, solar-oven-like residential street in Tucson, Arizona absorbs the sun’s heat during the day like a battery, then radiates it out at night. This local warming effect has raised summer temperatures in Tucson by 6°F (3°C) since the 1940s, which contributes to global warming since the higher temperatures result in people using air conditioners more, which are powered […]

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Vetiver Grass – A Hedge Against Erosion

PIJ #54, March – May 1995 Soil erosion is perhaps the world’s most chronic environmental problem that is literally costing the earth. The soil it carries off now totals 20 billion tons a year and this loss is not only severely degrading the environment, it is eroding the economic viability of countries. Despite enormous effort, standard soil conservation methods have been largely unsuccessful. However, a remarkable tropical grass may hold […]

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Building Biology – The Third Skin

Extracted from: ‘Third Skin’ A. Vasella, Dip Arch., P.I.J. #14. ‘Biotechture’ S.Lesiuk, P.I.J.#8. ‘Biotectual Systems’ R. Doernach P.I.J. #7. International Institute for Building Biology and Ecology PO Box 387 Clearwater FL 34615 USA. Edited by Alanna Moore In the western, urban world the average person spends around 90% of their time indoors. Evidence is mounting to show that such prolonged exposure to modern building materials and architecture can be detrimental […]

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Desert Ways

Mongongo Tree Whether it is an issue of conserving water of using suitable plant species, thriving in a desert environment is a masterful act of management. Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison has spent time in many of the world’s arid regions and here shares his observations on surviving in some of them. Building Abundance into Sandy Deserts Why should we garden, when there are so many mongongo trees in the world? […]

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Design with Energy in Mind

Permaculture designer, Robyn Francis (see also) looks at a variety of design strategies for using energy responsibly and sustainably. The practical ‘down-to-earth’ farmer, gardener and layperson will often find the theories surrounding ecology and energy very heavy going, if not downright confusing. What I would like to do is offer some practical perspectives on how we can use resources responsibly. Energy, in a holistic sense, involves much more than electricity […]

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Design for the Human Life Cycle

by Permaculture designer, Robyn Francis (see also). Photo: Craig Mackintosh It seems to be a common failing in a society that is so peer-oriented, that people rarely seem to design and plan for the changing needs of the full human life cycle. It is easy to relate to the here and now, and the needs of our immediate, short-term future. As permaculture designers we need to consciously develop our awareness […]

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What is ‘Zone Zero’?

llustration by Cecilia Macaulay Zone planning in permaculture design means placing elements according to how often we need to visit them. Areas that need to be visited every day (e.g. the glasshouse, chicken pen, herb garden) are located nearby, while places visited less frequently (grazing area, orchard, woodlot) are located further away. In Bill Mollison’s book ‘Introduction to Permaculture’, zone zero is defined as being the centre of activity in […]

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Letters from Vietnam – Ke Village

The trip to meet the Ma Lieng people at Ke Village, Vietnam, was a bit like a chapter out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. For starters, to reach the village I had to get ferried across a chocolate river in something resembling a dugout canoe. And, when I got there, I was met with a tribe of villagers who were almost supernaturally tiny. The river’s chocolate hue was due […]

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Transforming Landscapes, While Transforming Ourselves – Our Story in Jordan

This is a story of how permaculture transformed the lives of two young Canadians… At the beginning of November 2006, my partner Jesse left our home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on a three month journey to the homeland of permaculture – Australia. Inspired by the teaching styles of Geoff Lawton and Bill Mollison, Jesse returned home determined to make permaculture our full time occupation. During the next year we […]

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Vuon – Ao – Chuong – The Traditional Vietnamese Farm

by Nguyen Van Man VAC is an acronym formed from the three Vietnamese words Vuon, garden or orchard, Ao, fish pond, and Chuong, pigsty or poultry shed. It refers to a form of domestic agriculture in which food gardening, fish rearing and animal husbandry are wholly integrated, and stems from farming methods developed in the Red River delta of Vietnam. The VAC system is a highly intensive method of small […]

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Sites Unseen

Making use of resources from a building site The lifecycle of a building site can supply the observant designer with loads of resources. Be it your own site or one nearby, there are plenty of available materials otherwise destined for landfill. Before work starts, designate specific areas to stockpile materials choosing places where they won’t have to be moved until needed. After surveyors peg the site, collect seedlings, rocks and […]

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