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This thread of Urban PC is challenging. The zones concept has been well
thought out in some of the "village design" concepts, sensible planning
from the ground up, which our cities don't have. However, as one of the
premises of PC is "repair work", our urban centers present a formidable
challenge. Because there is so much embodied energy already present, there
is a lot of inertia that can not be easily overcome, even if the residents
understood the basic concepts, which they don't for the mostpart. While it
is true that agriculture has wrecked the ecosystems more than anything
else, most of the population exists now in urban centers. The answers are
difficult. Hold on to your seats folks, it's going to be a wild ride.
>The idea of zones is very useful in organizing physical space, putting
that which demands
more energy closer to your house. It is not so useful as an idea unless
you actually HAVE
physical space. Of course it can apply to the city as a whole: where
would be the "zone 1"
of a city ( or neighborhood, etc.)? It may not necessarily be gardens. May
else, that which is most essential and time-consuming for the inhabitants..
Maybe zone 1
would include farmers markets?? We might get into some interesting analyses
functioning if we go deeper into this..
Two images I have found VERY useful when looking at urban Permaculture:
The city as a giant ecosystem, looking at all the various interlinked
systems and how well
they function ( water, food, waste, but also traffic, information, etc.),
and how we can
better close the loops. It is most useful for people to think of their
city in this way,
eagle eye, so to speak...
Another image is the city as a being, which has to function well at all
levels to be healthy:
physical ( infrastructure, roads, food production, water, etc.) social (
interaction, opportunities for all, no marginalization of "special" people,
Intellectual: opportunities for learning, schools, libraries, access to
Spiritual: sacred spaces, temples, celebrations, but also what I would
call sacred qualities
( some call them "virtues") like respect, love, solidarity, etc.
> Working through these levels with a group is a very interesting exercise,
because they make
> clear to themselves what a healthy community is, and immeditely perceive
how theirs is not
> (yet!) healthy.
The next step would be to create a VISION ( thank you Michael Patterson!) ,
a positive view
of their city, rather than a negative one where one only focusses on what
is wrong or
lacking. Better to focus on what is there in potential...
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