Permaculture For Everyone

Permacultura per tutti

Permaculture is for everyone.

Permaculture is only slightly about gardening or farming. A human ecosystem is a network of water, energy, food, shelter, spirituality, motion, decision making, sustenance and living together. A broader range of human experience. A culture. A lifestyle.

A whole systems thinking is applicable to a repertoire of problems and policies. Permaculture nurtures whole systems thinking. The design tools, principles and ethics that we study in permaculture are applicable to every aspect of our lives. The trick is in identifying and adopting the techniques to enhance the mimicry of natural systems.

I’ve grown up in a city all my life. I don’t quite have space for farming. But I bear a witness to permaculture in everyday life and travel.


Here is an example.

This is an over bridge in Florence. It ferries, humans, bicycles, buses and cars. The primary objective/function is transportation. Breaking this down: the pedestrian pathway here is about 1.5 m on either sides, the cycling lane another 1.5 m on either sides. The cars run on a 3m carriage way. That’s a 9m road width with a shoulder and the metal that holds up the bridge.

Now let us organize the relationship with user and the item used.

A zone system. Shrinking energy and carbon footprint they have clearly bucketed cyclists and pedestrians on zones 1 and 2. The most accessed. Encouraging more people to walk and cycle. Zone 3 is for pedestrians to sit on the metal supports on either sides to enjoy a view, a company and a beer. And Zone 4 for cars.

I could quickly break it down to several permaculture principles that are already in use.

There is a useful relationship between the elements placed. The cycle lane, the pedestrian and the metal beams. Relative location.  

The cyclist and the pedestrian paths flow between each other. Either can be used for varied pace of commute. The bridge is supported by beams, the beams foster a social engagement. Stacking functions.

And of course,  quite literally,  the clever utility of the edge!

One could go on listing relationships but the merit is in the association of the principles to a mere bridge with permaculture and it’s holistic approach. A bridge as far as it may be from a garden still falls under the realm of a permaculture designer.

Permacultura per tutti, permaculture for everyone.


Kirian Meili