Permaculture and the city
An ancient city used ancient technologies, some of which were ultimately unsustainable.
Permaculture, thought not actually permanent, is much more likely to last, especially since there
will be a lot of people around to keep it going indefinitely. Personally, I'd like to make sure there is
at least one steer per year for me, and I may need more; so I can see the needs of an entire city may
require quite a large rangeland, but different people like different things as well. In any case, Alan
Savory suggests using marginal land for grazing actually rehabs the land.
Tying in with the liturgy piece, and the child raising piece (remember to write that) one of the great
values to permaculture is that it would help us reconnect with the land, especially at harvest. We
shall need more hands at harvest, and logically, this should be part of the calendar for the citizens,
as a sort of holiday away from whatever work it is they have in the city.
In the early teens, before any (maybe I am writing it now) specialization, children would be
expected to work the land along with the professionals in that sphere. This is part of that phase
Montessori talks about, necessary for good human development. So, over time, as more and more
citizens had this common upbringing to draw upon, they'd have a common knowledge and
expectation about times and seasons and know when certain things are planted and when things are
harvested. They may even participate as adults.
Within the city itself, there would be a lot of gardens. I expect buildings to be no more than four
stories high, as Christopher Alexander suggested. Plumbing systems to take advantage of urine and
grey water would be made to deliver nutrients, probably to a reed bed first and then further. In
addition, the city itself would likely be mostly in among the trees, located close to where the main
fruit and nut harvests would be.
The city would like little fingers in among the countryside (also Alexander), hopefully positioned to
maximum effect. Certainly, it would be better to site the city on land less advantageous to food
production, and, if I understand Geoff Lawton well enough, neither at the highest or lowest point,
but midway to protect from the high winds, and take advantage of gravity with regard to water.
This would mean a density along certain contours on the hillside, alongside a road.
The city functions as the main market, but it also produces more products. I think, long term this is
a big deal for permaculture- how do you take a large crop of, say, chestnuts, and turn them into
something that will last? I've seen things like paw paw, kiwi, etc... All very good and whatnot, but
I am not sure how valid they are as long term consistent crops. I suppose you keep animals around
to whom you could feed the stuff to if the people get tired.
I just had this random thought about pickling, wondering how many things, especially sweet and/or
caloric sorts of things can be picked. Fermenting- wine, pickles, cheese, etc... takes care of a
multitude of my worries.
Additionally, we need a clothing industry that understands the basic need to have organic fabric &
textiles. I haven't really seen that in the United States yet, though I haven't really looked.