What is Permaculture?

1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:

From Wikipedia: Permaculture is a set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking, simulating, or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community resilience. The term Permaculture was coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.

Permaculture, “has many branches including ecological design, ecological engineering, regenerative design, environmental design, and construction. Permaculture also includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems.”[4][5]

2. What is the focus of this Topic?:

While Permaculture is often focused on exteriors with Agriculture and Landscape Architecture, it includes the many other facets of the exterior and interior design developments.

Mollison has said: “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”[6]

The Twelve Permaculture design principles are articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: “Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability”, which can be viewed at this link.

“The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.” [7]

3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?

Permaculture has a close connection to Architectural Medicine, as it embraces a cohesive and wholistic viewpoint of the built and natural environments.

With Permaculture’s focus on integrative approaches it, “maximizes useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems, and maximizes benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy.” [8]

By supporting an integrative approach to the natural and built environments, Permaculture strives to create a synergistic whole for a regenerative process to sustain a healthy ecology. This process of creating a healthy ecology, supports the health of all biology, including human health. This support in the physical realm based on healthy food sources, also includes positive psychological and emotional health in connection with nature through topics such as Environmental Psychology and Biophilia.

4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

From Wikipedia: Several individuals revolutionized the branch of permaculture. In 1929, Joseph Russell Smith added an antecedent term as the subtitle for Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, a book which sums up his long experience experimenting with fruits and nuts as crops for human food and animal feed. Smith saw the world as an inter-related whole and suggested mixed systems of trees and crops underneath. This book inspired many individuals intent on making agriculture more sustainable, such as Toyohiko Kagawa who pioneered forest farming in Japan in the 1930s.

“The term Permaculture was coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education’s Department of Environmental Design, and Bill Mollison, senior lecturer in Environmental Psychology at University of Tasmania, in 1978. It originally meant “Permanent Agriculture”, but was expanded to stand also for “Permanent Culture”, since social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka‘s natural farming philosophy.” [9]

5. Resources: