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Permaculture as a Systemic Design practice: Contributions, challenges, and new developments

Cassel, John Benjamin (2015) Permaculture as a Systemic Design practice: Contributions, challenges, and new developments. In: Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD4) 2015 Symposium, 1-3 Sep 2015, Banff, Canada.


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The discourse on design has often situated it as a science of the artificial, but it has always
been necessary to design our interaction with natural systems as well. One tradition for doing
so is permaculture, a systemic design approach that aims to develop sustainable (permanent)
agriculture and settlements. This paper will present permaculture’s relationship to systemic
design, providing historical context to understand its ecological, agricultural, and design
origins. Permaculture has made many contributions to systemic design, including simple-toremember
lists of guiding ethics and principles, a clever vocabulary of categories that allow
the discussion of interactions, a toolbox of design methods for selecting and assembling
systems of elements, overall design processes, and some agroecological and social system
design insights. However, this exchange of ideas can go both ways, as there are current
challenges to permaculture in which systemic design can assist, including forming objectives,
assessing appropriate technology, stakeholder engagement, and launching viable projects.
From there, this paper highlights new developments that show progress in addressing these
challenges, and illustrates that systemic designers can join permaculture practitioners in
these efforts. Overall, agroecological design is an area of systemic design that shows much
need and promise.

Item Type: Conference/Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2017 14:47
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 18:16
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2042

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