Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Holmgren Design Principle #8: Integrate rather than Segregate



Going through David Holmgren's version of the Permaculture Design Principles, here's #8.

Integrate rather than Segregate

Permaculture loves relationships, and that is how I think about this principle. If you segregate then the only relationships are at the boundaries, but if you mix it all together then each element relates to all the others.

Let's compare some grids to full integration: n(n-1)/2 is exponential

Grid sizeElementsBoundaries in gridRelationships if integrated
1x2211
2x2446
2x36715
3x391236
4x41624120

You get the picture - Sepp Holzer's ground cover seed mix contains 40-50+ species: that's 780-1225 connections!

In our designs:
  • Each element performs many functions
  • Each function is supported by many elements
These complementary concepts give us ways to build on our multiplicity of relationships to extract as much works as possible from each element by recognizing its outputs, and to build flexibility and redundancy into the system as a whole.

Pretty picture of the principle at permacultureprinciples.com

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