A Permaculture City?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Marcus Busby, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Often when decision makers in cities consider design approaches, mitigation strategies, waste systems, etc they look for clear models, which have been implemented and proven successful before proposing or introducing these strategies into their own settlements. This can be limiting in terms of applying innovation, particularly if there is no model to simulate or demonstrate how a new system or method might work.

    It is understood that many, slow, small solutions are considered preferable over ones considered large-scale or widely disruptive. This principle of small, slow solutions is somewhat a matter of perspective and relative to the scales at which people are working.

    For instance, I have seen some people quaking in their boots upon the arrival of a mini digger, whilst others consider this small fry compared to a 50 ton excavator. And to some it may be inconceivable to employ either machine in the development of an intricate agriculturally productive ecosystem. People have decried the use of 2-stroke chainsaws, hedge trimmers, strimmers and the like. It is a question of relative tool for the relative scale. If you use a tool destructively it is going to cause a lot of ecological damage. If you use it consciously, it is going to actually enhance the system you are working on, this is equally true of a handsaw as it is of a 50 ton excavator.

    In the UK, France, US and other large economies, there is always talk of building new cities, in fact three are on the drawing board for the UK as we speak. Much is afoot about New Cities; SmartCities, LivingCities, FutureCities,Biophilic Cities, EcoCities, Garden Cities, Human Scale Cities, Food Cities, Enabling Cities, Engaging Cities, Pattern Cities, Thinking Cities, Sustainable Cities, Smart Growth, Biourbanism, Biotecture, Biomimicry, Biophilia, Bioneers...

    Top-down development and regional planning, (perhaps) vs Bottom-up organic growth is a key question for planners and designers. Strategists in the UK government's Department for Communities and Local Government, and perhaps other national governments, consider that many of the issues faced by urban areas can be designed out of the system, by planning and executing the whole system.

    "Unlocking large scale housing developments is critical to driving the supply of newhomes in the medium to long term. They can offer a more strategic and thoughtfulalternative to sequential development (or “sprawl”) around existing communities."

    See here for the British prospectus https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/locally-led-garden-cities-prospectus

    Having read the prospectus, I felt compelled to design a city using the Permaculture Design Principles. We all work for an ecologically balanced, peaceful future for humanity, for the planet and we all know it is possible. In many ways people are already achieving this in a modern way using our best understanding of how ecology works, what is best for each other, how important ancestral knowledge is, and how important modern science is in creating and maintaining beneficial conditions for life to prosper. The knowledge and approach of Permaculture allows people and communities to work with what they already have, and to make more of it through value adding and innovation, and by coming together on authentic grounds, and the beauty is that it does not have to be at the expense of what is already there - it's not gentrification, it is rejuvenation and employing innovation consciously - the conscious design and maintenance of existing systems.

    I figured, well, these people are going to build a city, or what they call a city, or a large scale housing development - whatever it is, or whatever it is called, so why not design a proper one? When settlements are successful they inevitably expand or grow.

    When people design and create communities if it is to expand successfully, then we have to consider past experiences of expansion and growth - some of the consequences of expansion - sprawl, environmental degradation, urbanization, pollution, along with many other effects which vary according to the type and level of development of the settlement - anything from urban heat island effect, sanitation issues, proliferation of disease, flooding, unemployment, crime - the list goes on!

    If people are going to design and build cities - then why not design and build a city using Permaculture Principles and Ethics? A city does not have to be a stain on the landscape - it can actually be beneficial to the natural systems of the earth - like a tree, instead of a concrete monstrosity !

    We can argue that due to the current densities and levels of population and the inexperience or disconnectedness with natural systems, we have to have cities - because at present they work, and they help people, and they provide stability and comfort, but they can be extremely resource dependent and create millions of tones of waste.

    But, would a Permaculture city be like that? I don't think so, so I apologize for taking the liberty to propose a design with the hope of highly critical assessment and indeed contributions from everybody interested - to refine a design and present it as a viable model.

    The thing here is, that as a model it can be assessed and evaluated, it can be modeled using computers, it's proposals and innovations can be implemented into existing cities and it can also be built as a whole new city - somewhere - creating the homes and employment we all seek - worthwhile employment and meaningful lives - fixing the planet and enjoying each others company without having any wars waged over resources, because all we need is generated within the city - leaving us to exchange innovations and refinements instead of bombs and bullets over what remains.

    I think this is possible, do you?

    The links to the article and images, where you can look, read, print off, scribble on, tear up, draw new versions etc are here:

    full proposal: https://www.scribd.com/doc/230228252/A-Garden-City-of-Today-v2-0

    selected images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/sets/

    [​IMG]
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Marcus and welcome,

    You've packed an amazing amount of Permaculture Design into your proposal, good work! I think you've answered the criteria in the prospectus ... what's next?

    I will read through it again so I can offer any suggestions that may come to mind, but I think you've done a stellar job of it so far!
     
  3. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Mural City - Collaborative City Design

    First-off see this article published 2008 "Generating Cities from the Bottum-Up"by Professor Michael Batty of CASA and UCL

    https://www.cluster.eu/generating-cities-from-the-bottom-upcreare-la-citta-dal-basso-in-alto/

    The next stage I had in mind was to propose to the Permaculture Community, and all other 'design' communities the idea of designing parts of the city - as modules, which can then be brought together as a coherent whole.

    For instance, it is possible for a person/group to design/define parameters of:

    GREEN SPACES:
    Zone 1: a Community Garden/Allotment, there are 294 x patches of 7 acres
    Zone 2: a Market Garden for commercial food production, there are 42 x patches of 43 acres
    Zone 3: a City Farm, there are 6 x patches of 600 acres
    Zone 4: Large-Scale Farm/Landscape, there are 6 x patches of 4,600 acres

    all the green spaces in the city share the same form (at this, conceptual, level) the form is the Koch Snowflake - this shape has a maximum edge, plus it integrates with the built environment, and tessellates within the entire landscape fabric.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15244563242/sizes/l
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15058372597/sizes/l

    BUILT SPACES:
    A single House plot; area = 0.17Ha/1,693m2 a circular plot (radius 23.21m, diameter 46.42m, Circumference 145.86m) to house 7+ people
    A Street; area = 1.18Ha comprised of 7 house plots in circular configuration, 49+ inhabitants.
    A Neighbourhood; area = 8.29Ha/3acres comprised of 49 house plots, 7 streets, 343+ inhabitants.
    A District/City Centre/Satellite Centre; area = 58.06Ha/20 acres, 343 house plots, 49 streets, 7 Neighbourhoods, 2,401+ inhabitants.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15058380008/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/14912862604/sizes/l

    ELEMENTS
    Vehicle Design/Transport Design proposals - can be completely new or existing vehicles/designs that are recognized as being the best according to ecological principles, e.g. low energy usage, zero emissions, solar powered etc
    Building designs, Community projects, school/educational practices etc etc

    The design parameters of each module/component of the city can be defined, the only constraint is the form of the site and its transport connectivity. Each location within the city has specific parameters, for instance Zone 0 sites are situated within one of 7 different types of district - city centre, outer central, intercity commercial, intercity route, inter-vale and rural.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15581733365/sizes/l

    Each district has unique characteristics in terms of access to greenspace (which is universally high, but even higher in some locations) access to different levels of transport infrastructure - such parameters will facilitate the design of specific activities, for instance if you love growing food, you are best off designing something right next to a greenspace, if you like growing for local community choose a plot next to a Zone 1, if you prefer Market garden scale Zone 2, Farm scale Zone 3, and Broadscale, e.g forestry choose a location next to Zone 4 patch.

    Location of Landscape Zones: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15347460438/sizes/l
    Transport network: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15509915396/sizes/l
    Materials flow: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15417845152/sizes/l

    Or, if you are more into software development or technology innovation you may prefer to be situated more centrally with access to a wider range of materials via the commercial supply routes - which can be beneficial in terms of delivering materials to your enterprise, or for exporting your products citywide - or national/international.

    The options are diverse.

    I see an opportunity for Permaculturists to design a forest garden and annual veg allotment 7acres, or a sustainable forest system, or a farm... designing for optimality.

    The city is designed to give learners access to all industries, so groups of school children/classes/course groups can visit any project, any site in any part of the city, have access to a building to work from and observe and participate in learning. This can be anything from visiting a computer lab to visiting a forest garden or a forestry set up, saw mill, a recycling centre, a hospital, fire station.... anything...


    If people design patches of the city, we can bring these together as a bottom-up designed city. Designs can be a single plot for a house or garden to an entire city centre, a shopping street, a farm etc etc etc - like a mural we all paint a bit and all together it creates an entire city - as diverse as any other, but using a structure which addresses all the problems associated with city/settlement expansion - urban sprawl, traffic jams, flooding, urban desertification, isolation, pockets of unemployment, derelict sites, air pollution etc - are all addressed by the overall design which is homogenous in its plan form, but extremely complex in function and physical form.

    See attached two images (please excuse all the pencil scribbles) from this album (Mural City Collaborative City Design)

    blank plan for a single 'House Plot' design 1,693m2 (this image has a scale, with a person, a car and a double bed drawn to scale - and a standard 4 bedroom house measuring 10x8m drawn in the bottom left segment - just so you can see the scale of the building plot)


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/14960879584/sizes/l

    And, an example of a single housing plot I did, which accommodates 10 people in 5 subdivisions/properties (the pathways/roads/tracks are drawn in black pen - its very rough, but to illustrate how a rough sketch might look)
    This sketch design includes the following housing:

    - A converted transhipment container - 2 inhabitants (blue),
    - A rammed Earth Mud and Straw building 1 inhabitant (red),
    - Wood and Straw-bale House - 2 inhabitants (Yellow),
    - Two 20' Yurts housing 3 persons (green),
    - A super high-tech type house housing 2 persons (Turquoise).

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15395994340/sizes/l

    To give you an idea of the complexity of the city - we can accommodate upto 10,872 unique residential designs and maintain a coherent city design. And in total there are 16,807 units open to design.

    It may be that particularly good designs become used multiple times - and can be built all over the city, there may be ten or so really effective designs that are re-used throughout the city, or they can all be unique - there are no limiting factors to the design.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  4. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Good to meet you Bill Kearns, thanks for your encouraging words. I am also perplexing whether or not it is a good idea as a whole - but the main idea being that we can build a city designed by everyone, and this city can :

    - Support a population indépendant of the corporate economy
    - increase a sites resilience to climate change and any other environmental challenges
    - become fossil free within a decade (less)
    - be waste free - and actually process waste from other cities as a resource
    - be carbon sequestering
    - be ecosystem enhancing
    - develop non-growth trading and a circular economy - with surplus

    i feel unsurprised that we can easily do this within the framework of the design ethics and principles - using them as a guiding foundation

    this city cares for the earth and natural systems
    cares for people giving them shelter, food, fuel and employment opportunities in a meaningful economy
    can create a surplus of materials and resources to facilitate other settlements

    i also believe it can be set up anywhere in the world and perform these function - making it a development model

    it can also expand to regional levels - such as with extant cities, but by using this development/growth pattern the human settlement can be beneficial and harmonious with the natural systems of the planet, instead of blighting it.

    i have extrapolated the design to regional level - approx 5.8million persons and it looks like a very efficient way to live, using much less land, whilst giving access to much more land and relieving pressure of land that is currently farmed intensively with industrial methods, at regional scale - the model also incorporates areas of Zone 5 - i think this is important if we consider somewhere like Mexico City which covers an immense area with mow density sprawl - imagine if planning principles had determined that it was necessary to leave e certain level of greenspace or wilderness - the impact of the natural environment would be far less, and problems such as flooding and food/fuel/resource deserts wouldn't exist..

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusbusby/15058382677/sizes/l
     
  5. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I just wrote a nice long response for you Marcus, but the internet swallowed it up. So I will summarise...

    I love your vision, but tell me about implementation.
     
  6. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Implementation

    Hi Grahame,

    pesky internet! happens a lot on the computer here too, so I sometimes write in word, then cut and paste. Can't seem to insert images but that may be because I only joined the forum recently.

    Implementation phases

    [video=dailymotion;x28c1hp]https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x28c1hp_growing-a-garden-city_tech[/video]

    Implementation phases are also summarized on page 50 of the proposal found here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/230228252/A-Garden-City-of-Today-v2-0

    For the design phase, if people would be interested in designing areas of the city then we can collate these in an online gallery, and begin bringing together designs into an online 'Mural-City'

    In terms of actual physical implementation;

    China, Dubai etc for a corporate version that has little chance of benefitting the type of people I would hope to benefit, but someone may want to do this, just so they can say they did it first and for the most amount of money... but then again it can be good for setting president and having sufficient funding to build one of sufficient scale.

    U.S.A. - I already accosted Michael Reynold in Berlin back in May 2014 - I ranted at him and his wife about "now you have created the perfect house - you need to think about creating the perfect city..." and I offered him this proposal, which he accepted. He had just finished a five hour lecture on Earthships and he had a quite a crowd of people around him so I didn't want to pester him too much. He's keen to build a city.... https://us.cnn.com/2014/09/26/living/earthships-new-mexico/index.html?sr=sharebar_facebook

    U.K. British governmn t planning unto 5 new cities each with c15,000 new homes - this is the reason the one in the proposal has a similar number of buildings - to to house 117,000 people. So new cities are on the cards there and I have been working HARD to get my proposal noticed by people.

    France - In France there are large areas well known for being under-populated and for lacking any form of sustainable economy, there is a band of land running from North East France to South West of France which is virtually empty - although personally I adore this landscape and the pace of living. However, it is not unknown for new settlements to be built and indeed there are even fiscal/financial incentives on the table for viable proposals.

    Scale

    This can start from a cluster of single houses, unto an entire continent - in fact because it's fractal it can expand to any size... one of the scary thoughts - in terms of homogenization, monoculturalism etc - that is why I am trying to emphasize the importance of bottom-up design - to ensure there is diversity and spontaneity in the approach and therefore magnified in the end result....

    So literally this pattern of implementation can start as a cluster of small homes on 0.17Ha,
    to a "street" >1.18Ha
    to a neighbourhood > 8.29Ha
    to a District > 17.1Ha
    to a Vale > 406.4Ha
    To a City > 2,845Ha and much more....

    It depends how many people are interested and how well it is communicated.

    Funding

    Originally I wrote the proposal imagining that the UK large infrastructure fund would cover the cost of the transport network, and different levels of investors would invest personally in the city, from individuals to businesses - its all summarized in the table on page 28 under Types of Ownership/Tenancy, also construction is covered briefly on page 63.

    I calculated that if people were to pay around about £12,000 GBP/15,000€/$22,000AUD per person, then after paying for the land at agricultural rates, and allocating all the land to everyone, there would be around £2bn left in the bank for infrastructure – I mean putting in the transport system – as i envisage all the housing to be autonomous following the Earthship Model.

    https://earthship.com/Systems/

    In the large part, this city is designed to be built from rubbish, scrap and grown materials - it is initiated by setting up non-food crop farms, together with food crop farms, and recycling centers. These then feed the build of the city...


    Ways Ahead...

    I have written to Geoff Lawton and Michael Reynolds suggesting that a collaboration between the field of Permaculture Landscape Design and Earthship Biotecture would be incredible.

    Village Homes 2
     
  7. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Implementation Processes Animation

    The video link has broken on the above post re Implementation, so here is a new link to the animation:



     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016

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