PDC Learnings – site assessment

Well, I’m just about done with my PDC.  There’s one more session to go.  We will complete our designs and  present them when we next meet in March.

What if you haven’t been able to attend a PDC? I’ve tried to present several online resources I’ve found for folks who can’t afford to go or can’t find a class that they can attend nearby.  The posts from this series hopefully will give you some useful information for continued home study.

Looking at the mass of information provided during class in retrospect we have covered four major areas of study. We looked at:

  1. the permaculture design goals and principles (which have already been discussed in this blog),
  2. the design process,
  3. aspects of site assessment and,
  4. some of the elements that incorporate the strategies described by the principles that can be introduced into a site.

I wanted to talk about item 3, site assessment in this post, item 4 elements and element selection, next week and leave item 2 until I finish my design.

We learned to assess the site one level at a time using the levels of permanence. Here are a a good link on site assessments from another blog:

A fairly simple reflection that I had during the January session was that each area of permanence could be considered as a separate area of study.  The levels of permanence presented in our session were:

  • climate
  • landform
  • water and erosion
  • zoning and legal systems
  • buildings and infrastructure
  • access and circulation
  • zones of use
  • wildlife and Vegetation
  • quality of soil
  • microclimates
  • aesthetics

(Compare this to my earlier posts on leveraging solutions based on systems design criteria and you’ll see I was not too far off. )

During the PDC we spent about 2 hours on each of these topics (except for aesthetics, zoning and legal requirements). In college I had studied what we covered during the topic “water” for at least 2 semesters.  Here’s some other ideas for more learning in these areas:

  • create  your own self-study course in any of areas using resource text books, permaculture websites or other online materials.
  • Audit or take online free college courses in any of these areas.
  • If you are in college, you could create a permaculture program of study using these topic areas as prerequisite courses.

Can you come up with other ideas?  The PDC material is just a taste.  You can easily spend whatever amount of time you chose to devote to learning about each of these areas.

P.S. A picture of my site assessment is forthcoming as an addition to this post. I’m working through some camera difficulties.


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