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My Life as a Design Challenge

March 25, 2012

In my current studies, and in pursuit of my Ecological Design certificate, I need to develop a practicum project. It can be anything, so long as it includes a design process and incorporates ecological design principles.

Sure, I have lots of things in mind: a permaculture garden design for my partner’s parent’s new home, a permaculture garden design for a friend in New Jersey, a permaculture garden design for my dad’s tiny backyard in downtown Stamford, a permaculture garden design for my landlady’s newly acquired undeveloped property….

Catching a theme here? All are permaculture garden designs, all are not for me. Writing down these projects, I get excited; there’s lots of work to be done out there, and people are receptive to hosting regenerative intentional ecologies on their properties! But then, I would inevitably have to detach myself from these projects once completed, and not see the whole system change through time. Also, I’m not ready to experiment in someone else’s turf, even though I trot around thinking that I could. Also, I’ll leave the permaculture garden designs to the PDC class.

So, here’s the real challenge: Design for a twenty-something, semi-nomadic, motor vehicle-dependent, poor, and unsure about the future but enthusiastic anyway, who wants to practice her preaching in a way that allows her to be flexible and mobile, yet ecologically regenerative.

Hi. My name is Emily, and my life is my new design challenge. I’ll intrepidly enter the foggy area of permaculture design, where the solutions are unclear for those who don’t have land or a fat budget.  I’ll arm myself with books and naive confidence, and try to be the regenerative designer that I’d someday like to be. I’ll drive off in my car, into the sunset, with comfrey and apple trees growing on the pavement where my tires once were, and elderflowers and honeybees flowing from my tailpipe.

But really, any pointers that I can get would be greatly appreciated. I’m not sure how I’ll approach this challenge. I can be cute, and accumulate mini caricatures of productive design techniques (like a goldfish aquaponics tank, a mini microgreens bed, a tupperware vermiculture bin, plastic bag mushroom cultivation, all that fun stuff…) Or I can approach it from the conceptual root, and re-design my life so that I minimize this time in limbo, and get down to business sooner.

Again, I’m welcoming input.

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