Monday, 5 December 2011

The Charles Eames Design Diagram

The Eames Design Diagram, aka 'Statement of the Eames Design Process' as displayed in the 1969 Exhibition Qu'est-ce Que Le Design? (What is Design?) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. 

According to this diagram, the design process can only be successful when it identifies the overlapping needs of the designer, the client, and society "as a whole" and when it develops products that serve all three.

I've been thinking about this in terms of permaculture design, and ecological concerns (Carl Hastrich has thoughts in a parallel dimension in his piece Biomimicry and Design Definition). The first thing that stands out to me is that apparently innocent phrase "the concerns of society as a whole", how are we to understand this? It seems that there are two main ways we could interpret this. The first would be a political interpretation, following Otto Von Bismarck's description of politics as the "die Kunst des Möglichen" (the art of the possible). This interpretation recognises cultural limits around the type of design outputs that would be acceptable to wider society and accepts these as design parameters. The second interpretation would be an ethical accounting approach, one that might address society's concerns through techniques such as 'triple bottom line' criteria.

The second interpretation provides a meeting place for permaculture design, through the application of permaculture ethics as our accounting criteria. According to our permaculture thinking therefore, the concerns of society as a whole would be reflected by an area of activity in which care of the earth, care of people, and an equitable distribution of resources were recognised.

Permaculture Ethics: Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share

 Directly layering the permaculture ethics venn onto the Eames design diagram venn, is somewhat problematic, reflecting the true complication of the world. Finding a meeting point in which the intersections of both collections of sets overlap becomes more difficult.  There are surely instances for example that would fit within the interests and concerns of the designer, the interests of the client, and meet the criteria of earth care and people care, yet do not address the issue of fair share. 

In fact as we think about our situation as permaculture designers, this is obvious as we frequently find few opportunities to work with clients on projects which satisfy their expressed needs, realise permaculture and reflect our own interests and concerns (financial, intellectual, emotional etc.) in a way that allows us to work with conviction and enthusiasm. While we live in a 'destructoculture' world, design opportunities will tend to largely fall into business-as-usual frameworks that dictate the shape of acceptable outputs. This of course is the same factor discussed above as the political interpretation of "the concerns of society as a whole".

So we might divide "the concerns of society as a whole" into two sets: that which mainstream society deems as fitting its needs, and that which fits the ethical needs expressed within permaculture. This does not ease the difficulty of finding a meeting point in which the intersections of all sets overlap, but it does identify more clearly the nature of their misalignment. This is also a way in which we can identify projects in which we can be effective and those in which we cannot, and therefore concentrate our efforts in the former. A tool for recognising that sub-set of everything we are concerned about, that is amenable to our influence.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey describes the problems, challenges, and opportunities we face as falling into two areas: our 'Circle of Concern' and our 'Circle of Influence'. In concentrating on our circle of influence, where our energy is used most effectively, we tend to find that we expand our edge, widening our influence over more of the area of our concern.

The edge of our circle of influence in this design context, will often also be the place where the set of activities which mainstream society deems as fitting its needs rubs up against the set of activities which fit the ethical needs expressed within permaculture. So as we concentrate our energies on our circle of influence, we will tend to find our most productive activities happening right on the edge of that circle. Here where the forest of permaculture thinking keeps dropping its seeds into the surrounding fields is the creative interface with "the concerns of society as a whole".

What is Design?
Permaculture Principles
Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Permafutures: Continuation

Microsoft's Productivity Future Vision

Via John Robb's Global Guerillas blog, here's a couple of corporate future visions of the 'Continuation' scenario from Microsoft and Ericcson:

Robb notes that: "Here are two corporate visions of what the future will feel/look like.  They are visually slick.  Unfortunately, the futures these videos depict won't happen."

Microsoft's vision is explored more on the company's site here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Independent Scholarship

As the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design is self-directed, as an educational experience its similar to post-graduate education (although apparently its considered to be about an 'A Level' qualification). The handful of tutorials included in the cost are less contact time than the average masters degree, and the task of getting educated is largely left up to you in terms of both form and content, with the accreditation criteria a framework goal.

Some voices would like to pattern permaculture education into a more recognised tertiary education format, indeed this is something of what Gaia University has done, by creating degree programmes for eco-social education. I'm not so sure about the value of doing that however, especially in the more mundane context of meshing with the UK HE sector.

Free Thinking not Fee Thinking

With a bachelors degree and two masters behind me, I increasingly question exactly what is going on in universities, what value they provide and at what cost. Cost is obviously increasingly an issue in the UK, as tuition fees rise and government support retreats. Universities are cutting departments, students are getting into debt and as paying customers rightly demanding a different experience base don their actual needs. I doubt whether universities can ever meet some of those needs any more. The financial and resources crunch has implications for education as it does for everything else. Paying thousands of pounds for a course taught at some institution far from home for years as a prelude to a working life characterised by the need to pay that money back is going to be a less and less viable path of education.

The recognition of this is rising, with anarchist free schools making welcome reappearances, skill-shares and skill-swaps occurring elsewhere, the University Project, open source education, commentary from Kio Stark, James Marcus Bach (see videos below) etc.

There's a long history of independent scholarship of course, and a great resource to check out is Ronald Gross's work, especially his The Independent Scholar's Handbook, which is downloadable legitimately and for free from here, but would be worth paying for just for the bibliography.

Christopher Alexander: The Battle to Bring Life and Beauty to the Earth

Christopher Alexander

Last night I attended the Urban Design Group's 2011 Annual Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture, which this year featured Christopher Alexander as its guest speaker. The 2011 Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture, the highlight of the Urban Design Group's events calendar, welcomed Prof Christopher Alexander. Christopher was in conversation with the UDG’s patron John Worthington, discussing his career, his influential ‘pattern language’ and his forthcoming new book (with Hans Joachim Neis, and With Maggie Moore Alexander): The Battle to Bring Life and Beauty to the Earth; A Struggle Between Two World Systems.

Fundamental Aim: Wholeness

Key to his thinking here is the difference, and the titular struggle, between his vision of participative and place based design 'System A', and the way almost all mainstream, first world directed architecture occurs, 'System B'. System B, the business as usual approach favoured by governments, corporations and other large institutions is motivated by financial profit and observable all around us. In his lecture Alexander presented an example of the rarer System A approach, through an illustrated presentation of his work on the Eishin Higashino High School and College campus built near Tokyo, Japan between 1982 and 1985.

You Charm the Form out of the Configuration

Alexander was a gnomic presence on stage, evading containment within the discourse of contemporary architectural practice with Zen like turns of phrase, modesty and an idiosyncratic response to questions. He expressed the fundamental aim of his work as 'wholeness', and it seemed clear to me, though he never stated it explicitly, that his approach was essentially spiritually motivated. In appealing to essential harmonies, he presented his work not as conscious design, but as the act of 'dreaming the configuration' and then charming form from that configuration. In a challenge to his assembled professional colleagues, he proclaimed that 'Design is something that's going to get you in a mess'.

Do the Simplest Thing Always

As the lecture turned to a Q&A, the contrast between Alexander's method and those regularly used by architects was quickly reinforced. Repeatedly, the Ego of the architect was cited as a driving force that was both absent from Alexander's approach and a limiting factor preventing its wider application. This Egoic boundary was presented almost as if it were an unassailable condition, and it was clear that many of those present perceived their own professional identity to be synonymous with a heroic vision of the individual. A couple of questioners sought a middle path between their forms of practice and Alexander's; his reply noted simply the dangers arising 'the moment you touch a poisoned way'. Alexander's challenge was practical as well as psychological: he claimed to never use drawings and that in his work the construction phase was more important than the design one. He did not produce a 'finished plan' but adjusted buildings repeatedly during the building process, aligning them harmoniously with the site. He stated that this approach demanded the right kind of clients and the right kind of contractors, but never told how he harmonised his method with the requirements of planning and building control authorities...

Eishin Campus

While it was humorous to observe the challenge Alexander made to a room full of architects, I also felt a challenge to my own methods of permaculture design. The emphasis on the implementation phase, required me to think through the design frameworks I use again and recognise the importance of each stage. It was clear that Alexander saw construction as a time of observation and interaction, each step changing the site and providing new opportunities to creatively respond. This essentially is action learning, the 'praxis' that gives this site it's name.

I was left at the end of the lecture part inspired and part frustrated. I wanted to know more about Alexander's process than a short talk could provide, and so the book to follow (due early 2012) is excitedly anticipated. Tantalisingly, the pre-publication press indicates that the book outlines nine ways of working, "each one fully dedicated to wholeness, and able to support day-to-day activities that will make planning, design and construction possible in an entirely new way, and in more humane ways". Sounds like a great addition to any permaculturalist's bookshelf.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Video from the Permafutures workshop at the 2011 London Permaculture Festival:

Essex Permaculture

Essex Innit

Now I'm back in Essex, some of my thoughts are turning to permaculture in my home county, strengthening the network, building community and standing in the place where I live, so to speak.

Permaculture's presence in Essex has been ably manifest for many years by my mate and teacher Graham Burnett, through his Spiralseed courses and engagement with a wide range of local projects including South-East Organic Gardeners, Southend-in-Transition and many more. Claire White and I had the privilege of teaching on a Permaculture Design Course alongside Graham earlier this year at Growing Together project in Westcliff-on-sea, which looks like it could become a hub for permaculture activity in the area. The course attendees included Growing Together staff, SEOG members, Southend-in-Transitioners, the venerable Ron Bates and many other worthy Essex folk. 

Water Butt at Growing Together Gardens

Ron and Graham have for many years run permaculture courses at the anarchist-pacifist open house 'Dial House', in North Weald in the West of the county.

Introduction to Permaculture course at Dial House

Rosie, one of the course participants, and her partner Chris are living the good life according to permaculture principles at their retro-fitted eco house in Clacton, recently awarded LAND status by the Permaculture Association. Their experiences in are recorded at their EcoDIY webite.

Graham Burnett & Ron Bates at Manchester Drive Allotments

Essex is fortunate to have a few other permaculture  LAND (Learning And Network Demonstration) centres in the county: the Apricot Centre set in a 4 acre organic and permaculture designed garden in Manningtree, and three sites in the Essex/London borderlands: Forest Farm Peace Garden a community garden in Hainault, the Lambourne End Outdoor Centre in Lambourne End, and the Hawkwood Nursery project of OrganicLea in Chingford.

Earth Oven at the Apricot Centre

Spencer Christie runs Lauriston Farm, a permaculture inspired, and biodynamic registered 125 acre farm situated on the Blackwater Estuary just outside Goldhanger.

No doubt there are many other permaculture practitioners and interested parties out there across Essex, there's certainly a range of Transition groups across the county and people with similar approaches. If you know of any, indeed if you are one! - leave a comment with some way of getting in touch (or mail me jamespierstaylor [the AT symbol] yahoo DOT co DOT uk ) and we'll build the network.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Green Building - October 2010

A short course in green building techniques, led by Adrian Leaman of Wholewoods, taking place at the Hawkwood Nursery in Chingford.

Woodland Weekend October 2007

A skillshare weekend in the Sussex woods, with assistance from Naturewise and Wholewoods.

The Living Landscape


Digging for Pignuts

In April 2011 I attended the course The Living Landscape aka Reading the Landscape taught by Patrick Whitefield and based around the observations he revealed in his book The Living Landscape; How to Read and Understand It.

These are my notes from the course: 

And here are some photographs:

London Permaculture Flickr Site

The  London Permaculture Flickr Site is one of my major engagements with permaculture. I have used it as a tool of record, communication and dissemination of permaculture and I have used permaculture theory and practice in its development and maintenance.

I consider this to be work in 'Art, Media, Culture and Communications', one of the areas in which the Diploma essential criteria presents as suitable for a demonstrable application of permaculture in work and projects. The Diploma Guidelines describe 'Art, Media, Culture and Communications' as:

"Creating or operating publications or audio-visual and mixed media aids to communication and education in the permaculture community. Written, creative, artistic or cultural work that develops the public's understanding of permaculture."

History of the London Permaculture Flickr Site

On 12th March 2007 I set up a free account on the photo sharing website Flickr, my aim in doing so was to share photos I had taken of of permaculture activity around London during and subsequent to my PDC in Autumn 2006.

It seemed to me that there was actually a lot going on but it was largely invisible to those outside the groups engaged in that activity. I thought that making visible this activity might do much to increase the interest in, and the acceptance of, permaculture approaches and manifestations.

Living Roofs & Ecosystem Services

On 30th September and 1st October 2011, I attended a course on Living Roofs & Ecosystem Services taught by Gary Grant, Dusty Gedge and John Little. The course was arranged by Reset Development and hosted at the Abbey Hive Community Centre in North West London.

RegenAG Advanced Design Course

The RegenAG Advanced Design Workshop (RAD), took place at Cowdray Hall in West Sussex between the 24th and 30th October 2011. 


Technical Tutorials

As part of the Diploma, alongside your design skills, you are required to develop appropriate 'technical skills'.

The PDC is really only the beginning of one's education in permaculture design and in all the useful skills that can support better design.

Below are links to more information on the technical tutorials I have chosen to do as part of my diploma pathway and ongoing permaculture education:

Wild Craft course Aug '11

Woodcrafty April 2011

Training for Transition March 2011

Natural Navigation Feb 2011

Sustainable Woodland Management Course

PDC Jordan Oct/Nov 2010

Scything Workshop Sept '10

Wine Making - Oct '09

Training of Trainers - Sept '09

Forest Gardening - May '09

Grow Mushrooms - Dec '07

Herb Walk/Talk - Sept '07

Compost Bin Workshop - Apr '07

Rocket Stove Workshop - Mar '07

The Idler 37: Childish Things


Always a pleasure, never a chore. I think I read this one too quick though. Normally I wander in and out of an issue, sampling delights here and there over a period of weeks. But I was too up for it this time, I saw on the website it was out – I walked to Foyles, bought a copy, started reading it and ended up going straight from cover to cover in a couple of days of train journeys and bedside perusals. Bugger, six months to the next issue now probably. It really wasn’t very idle of me to read it so quickly, but I’m on a roll with the reading right now and nothing seems able to stop it.

Best bits, this time around: Billy Childish’s manifesto; the idling extracts from The Meaning of Tingo, Mark White’s piece on Kenko (no, not the coffee – the Japanese author) and the stuff on Summerhill.

I looked forward to another Graham Burnett piece on permaculture, but it turned out to be the same thing he had published in the last issue of the Permaculture Magazine, which was a bit disappointing.

Oh, the Michael Palin interview was good as well, but you felt only really touched the surface of what could have been a long and revealing chat about what the man thought. Have you see that Palin's just about to film a new travel series? This one's about the 'new Europe', basically the eastern bloc countries about to enter the EU I believe. Not going to be broadcast until Autumn 2007, so do not hold your breath. Doesn't sound as exciting as Himalaya though does it? That one's going to be hard to beat. Maybe Palin's Inferno would be a more ambitious next step, or Palin does the Astral Plane. Well, maybe in the next world heh?

[Originally published on the Yourmindfire blog:]


It’s a truism that speculative fiction tells the reader more about the present it was written in than about the future – a fact born out yet again by two pieces of this week’s reading.

If this fact is more evident in Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia than it is in the “Ecopolis” articles in this week’s New Scientist (17/06/2006) then that only reveals our blindness to the conventions of our own time.
In Ecotopia the pungent reek of the early Seventies issues from practically every page. The fashions, the sexual politics, the marijuana usage – all speak of a particular hippy moment and now tend to detract from the deeper intention of the book to present a vision of a sustainable society. It’s easy now to fault Callenbach for this, but equally easy to see how important it was for him to present some vision of how a change in social mores could parallel and allow a change in the wider society. For me personally a degree of uneasiness was brought on by the louche promiscuity of Callenbach’s utopia. I’m prepared to accept that this could just be my hang-up – but it also seemed wrapped up in a vision of liberated womanhood more to do with male fantasy than female emancipation. The admirable intention of presenting a more feminine society, female leadership and sexual equality felt somewhat tainted by the air of a free-wheeling Lothario who really ‘understands’ and ‘digs’ women. Again, perhaps these are just my hang-ups.
If I’ve gone on at length about these aspects of the book that didn’t gel with me, that’s only to precede my declaration that I felt pretty down with most of the rest of its vision. Ignoring the conceit of the Pacific North West seceding from the USA, much of the novel seemed to present a realistic vision of a future society.
What is interesting comparing Ecotopia and Ecopolis are the similarities of vision presented 31 years apart (that very little has been implemented across the span of most of my entire life thus far - which that 31 years also personally represents - is rather depressing.)
The proposed new Chinese suburb-city of Dongtan is pedestrianised with electric vehicles, trains, urban greenery, urban food production, mass recycling and alternative energy generation. Not at all dissimilar to Ecotopia’s San Francisco. Peer a little deeper however and the cracks appear – both in the divergence of Ecotopian and Ecopolitan visions – and in the sustainable vision of Dongtan per se.
Dongtan is a new build – an entirely new satellite city for Shanghai “20 minutes drive” away. It is thus a very different beast to the retro-fitted San Francisco in Ecotopia. In this way the city sized debate mirrors the eco-home debate. One can start from scratch and build a brand new eco-home to the highest standards possible – but not everyone can do this. Our existing buildings also represent decades if not centuries of embodied energy that we are likely to waste (which we can ill afford) if we reject them, demolish them to build anew. If we could do it all, we could only do so by exploiting even more excessive amounts of the global energy supply –and this vision is clearly not sustainable on a local or global scale. We must follow a more earthy path of converting our existing housing stock to greater sustainability – retro fitting.
To the great credit of New Scientist it makes a critical analysis of Dongtan’s eco-credibility. The Dongtan vision proposed as a possible model for China’s future cities aims for a per-resident carbon footprint of 2.2 ha. This both exceeds the current footprint of the rural Chinese population (1.6 ha) that are migrating to become the new city dwellers (thus increasing China’s total footprint) and the “idealised global per capita footprint” (1.8ha – based on 2006 population levels). Dongtan is therefore not as bad as our conventional cities – but does not present in itself a sustainable vision. We could perhaps hope that developments like Dongtan will be bridging solutions to ever more sustainable implementations – but would we be correct in doing so? Retrofitting Shanghai for sustainability may have been a more useful activity. In fact, given that so much of Shanghai is itself new-build, one wonders where the true vision for sustainability lies. That Dongtan is perceived as having value as a tourist attraction perhaps indicates something of its showcase function.
The ecological problems faced by China will inevitably lead them towards some lower energy solutions, and the world can usefully benefit by learning from them. But will China put sustainability before growth? If it does not, can anything it does be truly sustainable?
Ecotopia is a steady-state economy that has sloughed off the demon driver of ‘growth’ – that totemic bugbear of capitalism eating away the world like a necrotic virus. It is the vision of capitalism, its modus operandi and belief systems which are the contemporary conventions permeating the speculations of Ecopolis. We can only hope that 31 years hence those seem as amusing and of their time as some of Callenbach’s seventies-ism. Otherwise we are well and truly screwed.

[Originally published on the Yourmindfire blog:]

Imagine No Possesions

To Have Or To Be
Erich Fromm
Jonathan Cape, Great Britain, 1978
We've Had 100 Years Of Psychotherapy - And The World's Getting Worse
James Hillman & Michael Ventura
HarperCollins, USA, 1992

As the global situation deteriorates in the face of resource depletion, climate change and ecological destruction it is becoming increasingly apparent that the roots of our problems may not be primarily scientific, political or economic but rather psychological and spiritual. Change toward a sustainable and equitable society will require a paradigm shift in our conception of the world and an expansion in our sense of self if our actions on other levels are to be truly effective. These two books by eminent therapists provide psychological approaches that offer a diagnosis of the global situation, reading back from the symptoms and the “presenting issues” to find the underlying causes and a process that offers a means of healing. To differing degrees they advise how we might think differently so that psychological and spiritual inquiry might be fed back as engaged action into the scientific, political and economic spheres.

Erich Fromm's book is an academically rigorous, referenced work aimed at a wide popular audience, and is written in such a way as to communicate easily. His theme in To Have Or To Be is set out concisely by his title, that humanity faces a choice between two modes of existence: that of having (ownership, possession, domination, an experience of the world as a collection of objects) and that of being (belonging, reciprocity, becoming, a relation to the world as a communion of subjects). Human society has been pursuing the first mode up to the point of our current crises; Fromm considers the second mode to be the necessary base for our salvation from them.

Crucially, however, Fromm also believes that switching modes alone is not enough to produce effective action. Social change results from a transformation in what he calls the ‘social character’, a blending of the individual psychical sphere and the socio-economic structure of which the individual is part. To alter that socio-economic structure we require new social forms ‘that begin to bridge the gap between what is necessary and what is possible’. Sadly the more detail Fromm provides as regards action, the more apparent the historical distance between the period of authorship and the present becomes. The existing socio-economic structures he discusses have already gone thorough a series of changes. While the ‘fake socialism’ of the USSR he decries has fallen with that state, the capitalism he bemoans has proceeded, as he feared, to even greater triumph in dictating the direction of the world. Also, when he espouses the ‘energizing attraction of a new vision’ he states it with the caveat that the chances of a change in the mode of existence of the global population ‘remain slim’. Three decades on from its initial publication I found it difficult not to assume the disempowering stance that those slim chances will have attenuated to extreme emaciation, if not impossibility across the intervening years.

James Hillman and Michael Ventura's book We've Had 100 Years Of Psychotherapy - And The World's Getting Worse plays off the interaction of two voices - the learned sagacity of Hillman and the New Journalism of Ventura. The resulting tone is populist, informal, conversational and determinedly in your face, an instant contrast to the structured prose of Fromm. The statement late in Fromm's book that ‘[p]urely psychological change... has been completely ineffective’ is however at the core of the Hillman/Ventura dialogues. In fact, as their title reveals, their book exhibits anxiety about the solipsism of the current therapeutic mode, of a psychological inquiry that only looks inward not outward at a worsening world. The authors counsel that we have become a little too obsessed, possessed even, by “our” problems. Hillman pointedly notes that ‘[p]ersonal growth doesn't automatically lead to political results’. He also poses a question to Ventura: ‘could analysis have new fantasies of itself, so that the consulting room is a cell in which revolution is prepared?’
Ventura relates an exchange with his son about agency in the world in the face of ‘ecological disaster’ and the authors offer him and us a look at the worst and a challenge in how to act. The purpose of concerned souls, they propose, is found in ‘trying to be a wide-awake human during a Dark Age and keeping alive what you think is beautiful and important’. They suggest these might be ‘ideas, art, knowledge, skills, or just plain old fragile love, how we treat people, how we help people’. This is a call to build resilience in what we cherish, to maintain what is valuable in being human, and to support hope. Hillman and Ventura’s choice to share authorship and to present their ideas in this discursive form provides a literal example of dialogic relating and a conversation I certainly felt we were invited to join.
What both books propose is an expansion of our sense of self, of soul - beyond the skin of the individual to include the flesh of the world, the world soul, anima mundi. This transpersonal sense of self would end divisions, dualisms such as man/nature or world/self and extend our essential concerns across the entire ecosphere. Hillman writes ‘I would rather define self as the interiorization of community’ that is: include within the sense of self that which has previously been considered outside self. This is where the psychological gains a spiritual dimension, as this expanded non-dual conception is akin to the ‘you are that’ of Vedanta or Martin Buber’s call for the boundless relationship of an I-Thou rather than an I-It attitude towards the world. But the authors of both books stress the necessity of turning insights outwards; the psychical and the spiritual must drive action in and with the world. Effecting global change cannot be programmatic, domineering - the problems we face cannot be solved at the same level we were at when we created them. Our solutions must be creative, participatory and dialogic. In facing the challenges ahead it is clear that our heads and hearts must share the task of our hands, we need a praxis bold as love.

[Originally published on the Yourmindfire blog:]

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Designing Permaculture Courses

Planning for Spiralseed PDC

This follows the design process for a year programme of Permaculture Courses, using the design framework SADIM (Survey, Assess, Design, Implement and Maintain).

I chose this framework as it is the one I felt most comfortable with, running a series of courses involves many others and aware of my responsibilities to them I didn't want to get too experimental...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Al-Karama Scout Camp Accomodation

A design for villa accommodation on the Jordan Scouts campsite near the village of Karama in the Dead Sea valley of Jordan.

My design process used the OBREDIM design framework: Observation, Boundaries, Resources, Evaluation, Design, Implementation and Maintenance, however the design was not implemented so only follows the framework through OBRED.

Solar Installation

"Every house should be over-producing its energy and selling to the grid." - Bill Mollison

Schematic Diagram
The government's abrupt change to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) for solar PV, created a new temporal boundary condition - install and register prior to December 12th 2011 or get a reduced FIT, radically altering the affordability of the installation. So we acted faster than we would have ideally liked and got local company MAK Energy to the work.
Sharp Solar Photovoltaic Panel

I've had some concerns about the embodied energy of solar PV, while the feed in tariffs make this technology financially available and current fossil fuel availability hides the true energy costs, I have wondered whether the embodied energy cost is hidden. The article 'Energy Payback of Roof Mounted Photovoltaic Cells' by Colin Bankier and Steve Gale (first published in the  Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) Sustainability Newsletter, #58) has reassured me. They conclude that their research indicates that "small-scale roof mounted PV systems have a positive energy payback and are capable of contributing to a sustainable energy future."

My electricity supplier Ecotricity manage the FiT arrangements through their microtricity scheme and have made the registration process quite straightforward.

Permaculture Designer’s CV

Experience and Skills:

MSc Human Ecology (Centre for Human Ecology/University of Strathclyde, 2009)
Permaculture Design Course (Naturewise 2006 - taught by Graham Burnett & Mark Warner)
Permaculture Design Course (Permaculture Institute of Jordan 2010 - taught by Geoff Lawton)
Regenerative Agriculture, Advanced Design Course (RegenAG 2011 - taught by Darren Doherty)
Certificate in Project Management (APM, 2010)

I have also studied Forest Gardening with Martin Crawford, Sustainable Woodland Management with Ben Law, Green Building with Adrian Leaman of Wholewoods, Living Roofs and Ecosystem Services with RESET (taught by Dusty Gedge, John Little and Gary Grant) and completed the Permaculture Training of Teachers Course run by Designed Visions.

I have taught Permaculture with Naturewise and Spiralseed, I founded and run the London Permaculture Flickr site, and I'm an admin of the London Permaculture Ning and Founding Secretary of the London Permaculture Network. I regularly volunteer at the Naturewise Forest Garden and at the Meadow Orchard Project where I'm a member of the Management Committee.

By day I'm also a curator of archival film and video and the co-editor of the book 'Shadows of Progress' (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010). This has been my recent work life:


Zone 0 Design

A house move out to Essex, provides a new home and the need for a Zone 0 design.

Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design

New blog to record my ongoing Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and the design work contributing to it.