Peter Bane workshop, 2014

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Sun, 08/31/2014 - 15:16

Peter Bane, editor of Permaculture Activist magazine

workshop at North American Permaculture Convergence, August 31, 2014

Patterns are how we understand nature and continue nature's work, empirically observed without necessarily having scientific proof of the mechanism. Pattern language is a way to articulate what you intuit about a space.
The forces of nature run through your body, so you feel patterns and can leverage them.
We need to become literate in thees patterns so we can make designs that are beautiful as well as functional.
Learning to use pattern involves deepening intuition.Need to be able tto give word form as well as shape form to the holistic impressions of the world around us.
Patterns reflect an energetic process. What we see are the forms left behind by flowing energy, and they in turn shape the flow of energy.

Mollison's chapter on patterns has mystified a lot of people, so here's a possibly better presentation told as a story:

  • Conservation (egg/seed shape) sprouts into 
  • extension pattern (root, bone) distributes into 
  • branching pattern, wrapped / enveloped in an 
  • expansion pattern like a cloud or tree crown, retracts into 
  • luneate curved shape to retain form, extends into 
  • potentiation spiral (DNA, hurricanes, galaxies), more chaotic 
  • filling pattern, wrinkled like a brain, oscillation causes 
  • mixing and oscillation patterns, resolving into a 
  • stabilizing net pattern, finally generating the 
  • dispersal scatter pattern of spreading seeds or individuals.

The most important word in the title of Alexander's "A Pattern Langugage" is "A."  It's not the only pattern language.
Alexander's theses: 

  • We need a new paradigm that is holistic, universal, Earth-honoring and non-dual.
  • Need a body-centered architecture, informed by and supportive of urban civilization, and we need environments shaped by recurring events.
  • Start with a cultural problem statement and give it an environmental pattern solution.
  • Nested assemblies of patterns create infinite potential for expression.
  • Pattern language is modeled on language but is morphological and not symbolic.

If incoming information is the top of an hourglass, the bottleneck is the design intention; patterns help resolve that bottleneck.
The hardest part of a design is seeing what's not there, what has eroded away or been lost. Patterns distill prior experience. Languages link patterns into design wholes.
To generate patterns, use a title of 1-5 words, a problem statement to define application, reasoning and evidence for their existence, a solution and a sketch.
Even something as simple as a doorway from outdoors to indoors is complicated and can create unwanted patterns; it can be simplified and optimized by adding transitions such as porches, foyers, etc.
Design process:
Observation rests on sectors and elevations, patterns in nature, and the scale of permanence.
Identify needs, failures, and problems, key points for flows and storages, characteristics, opportunities, yields, surpluses and wastes.
Generate analysis and assessment.
Pattern languages fill the gap between assessment and generating a vision and concept for the site.
Patterns also inform the selection of elements to accomplish the goals for the site, the placement of those elements, and development & maintenance plan.
Patterns for the home system (economy):
ownership, shelter and sun collection (orientation), provision for the household, including animals, roof catchment, outdoor rooms, food storage.