Permaculture as a Systemic Design Practice

  • John B. CasselEmail author
  • Susan V. Cousineau
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 8)


Current discourse frequently situates design as a science of the artificial, but it has always been necessary to design our interaction with natural systems as well. Permaculture is a systemic design approach that aims to develop sustainable (permanent) agriculture and settlements. We present permaculture’s relationship to systemic design, providing historical context to understand its ecological, agricultural, and design origins. Permaculture has made many contributions to systemic design, including simple-to-remember lists of guiding ethics and principles; a vocabulary of categories that allow the discussion of interactions; a toolbox of design methods for selecting and assembling systems of elements; overall design processes; and some agroecological and social system design insights. However, this exchange of ideas can go both ways, as there are current challenges to permaculture in which systemic design can assist, including forming stable objectives, assessing appropriate technology, stakeholder engagement, and launching viable projects. While permaculture is undertaking new developments that show progress in addressing these challenges, systemic designers can join permaculture practitioners in these efforts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wolfram Alpha LLCChampaignUSA

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