Permaculture Master Plan Construction


(foreword, opening, preface, prelude, prologue)

I take on this work as the culmination act as a Permaculture Designer, that is to say, my Permaculture Journey has come full circle and I feel now prepared to tackle a treatise on the Fundamental Basis of Permaculture Design Science and its relationship to Permaculture Master Planning.

I have been studying Permaculture Design for well over ten years, I may dare say my entire life (once we find we are studying nature and we are but a part of nature). Once one finds Permaculture and begins to explore the essence of Nature, one finds his of her deep connection with all things. I will open my mind hear to the way I see and feel Permaculture and attempt to create a Memory Palace of my time with Permaculture. I hope this feeble attempt at re-creating an internal experience will help guide others in their Permaculture Journeys.

The internal feelings and beliefs one has and is strong enough to share are never an easy undertaking. I strive to make this work worthy of the Permaculture Community and beg your understanding of any flaws herein. 

Table of Contents

  1. Memory Palaces and Permaculture Master Planning

  2. Your Personal Mind Palace and Your Permaculture Design Master Plan

  3. The Pillars Supporting Permaculture as a Design Science

Memory Palaces and Permaculture Master Planning

The undertaking of trying to show one’s thoughts on any subject is at best a mental task. When I try to share my thoughts on Permaculture as a Design Science I will use the mental memory technique of the Memory Palace. (The Memory Palace technique was introduced to the ancient Romans and the world via Greek rhetorical treatises. The Roman Cicero described the Memory Palace technique in his writings on rhetoric, called De Oratore. In De Oratore, Circero claims that his Memory Palace method originated from the Greek poet Simonides. This method is called the Method of Loci) It is not my intention to teach the Memory Palace Method of Loci here, only to allow you the reader the option to study it further as it has helped me greatly along all the pathways of knowledge I have pursued throughout my Life Long Learning Journey.

The Permaculture Memory Palace

The compartmentation of any field as vast as Permaculture Design (which is said to cross-over design disciplines) will take a mammoth undertaking, and thus a very large place to story the vast knowledge.

I am not very graphically oriented and prefer to “Steal Like an Artist” and as I can not draw for you my version of the, let’s say wing of my personal Memory Palace that I reserve for Permaculture Design, I will show you some of the design Inspirations that I used to model my mental picture of what it could be.

I have been greatly influenced in my life by a few great architectural designs. They are for me resonate in the order of complexity that I strive to create in my own Memory Palace, while they scale are in no way a representation of my Memory Palace; I use their logical an ordered structures to help in the creation and endless construction of my Memory Palace.


Memory Palace Design Inspirations

The Väike-Õismäe, which may not be the most beautiful of design in its use of Concrete Blocks, is still a very appealing form to my mind. The apartment blocs of Väike-Õismäe surround a small pond. The Pond forms the middle of a flower form and fans out like petals. This effect, of course, is deliberate and evident even in the name – Väike-Õismäe means in Estonian literally “Little Flower Petal Mountain.” The massive ability to have an almost endless array of rooms to store memories, ever expanding from the central focal point, I envision myself spending endless hours sitting on a small bench staring at my reflection in the water, immersed in the depth of thought always confident in my ability to recall my memories.

The Mandalay Royal Palace in Burma (Yes, I prefer to use the old name). The Palace is designed in a very logical and orderly layout of the public to private areas, very much how I see my reflection in my personal Black Mirror (Hedonic Treadmill Theory). The hedonic treadmill, also known as Hedonic Adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness. Letting people into our lives at varying degrees of personal involvement, our true friends know who we really are, and can accept us for ourselves as we accept them.

The Forbidden City, Beijing China, is another beautiful example of the public to private separation of our daily lives form our mental facades. The ability to shield oneself from the daily affonts to one’s Personal Paradigm (or inversely Mind Palace) is in my mind becoming more necessary as the world of digital media and social everything comes upon us. Finding privacy in today’s world is becoming a real luxury indeed.

The last thing Your Mind Palace needs is a good defense system, nothing better than a great moat. The moat is what we use to keep the predators at bay. I strive to create a grand moat that surrounds my personality, it is only my real friends that have the opportunity to see my real self. Always remember our moats are normally a reflection of what we fear. I fear I will help too much to create a moat and walls against that, as I would do anything for my friends. 

Your Personal Memory Palace and Your Permaculture Design Master Plan

I could have given more examples of inspirations for my Permaculture Palace, here I deviated from the excepted for of Memory Palace for the use in demonstrating a Memory Palace as relating to Permaculture Design Master Planning.

When I teach Permaculture Design to my budding Permaculture Students, I first review the Theory of Permaculture as a Design Science, then I show the foundations upon which it was laid with the Principles and Ethics of Permaculture. The Ethical Foundation of Permaculture Design is one of the main things I was drawn to when I first discovered Permaculture as a Design Science. I have always been a student of design as relating to the sciences. I found it to be fascinating that Bill Mollison the Father of Permaculture as a Design Science would spend so much time laying the ethical foundation for his discipline.

I had studied, worked and pursued design throughout my career. I had never really seen the reasoning for what we did explain in such fundamental terms, Bill’s real gift is being able to “distill a very complex subject down to simple parts based on natural sciences“.

When one finds Permaculture Design one has to reevaluate one’s connections to this world, ask and answer the pertinent question of why we are here? This is never an easy undertaking, for me, it really forced my consideration to the foundations which my Palace was built.


Starting with a Solid Foundation



Once we have reviewed the Theory of Permaculture Design Science and its Ethical Foundations built upon Fundamental Design Principles we then delve into our own foundational beliefs governing our own lives. Permaculture, I believe has such a strong attraction to some types of people as relating to their need for strong emotional foundations. Permaculture Design gives, almost like the religions of old, a mental structure for one to rest their beliefs firming upon, but unlike religion relies on the observation of the rules governing the natural world, than blind belief in some thing which we can not see nor prove. 

Permaculture Design is not a religion as a small minority in the Permaculture Community would like to promote. It is “first and foremost a Design Science“. Permaculture, as taught by Bill Mollison, has at its core fundamental design principles which set our ability to achieve the Core Permaculture Ethics of:


Exploration of the Ethical Basis of Permaculture Design as a Science

  • Care of the People
  • Care of the Earth
  • Limits to Growth (Population & Consumption)
  • Share of the Surplus

Ethic 1 – People Care (four ethical elements of Care)

  1. Attentiveness 
    Attentiveness is crucial to the ethics of care because care requires recognition of others’ needs in order to respond to them. The question which arises is the distinction between ignorance and inattentiveness. Tronto poses this question as such, “But when is ignorance simply ignorance, and when is it inattentiveness“?
  2. Responsibility 
    In order to care, we must take it upon ourselves, thus responsibility. The problem associated with this second ethical element of responsibility is the question of obligation. An obligation is often, if not already, tied to pre-established societal and cultural norms and roles. Tronto makes the effort to differentiate the terms “responsibility” and “obligation” with regards to the Ethic of Care. Responsibility is ambiguous, whereas obligation refers to situations where action or reaction is due, such as the case of a legal contract. This ambiguity allows for ebb and flow in and between class structures and gender roles, and to other socially constructed roles that would bind responsibility to those only befitting of those roles.
  3. Competence 
    To provide care also means competency. One cannot simply acknowledge the need to care, accept the responsibility, but not follow through with enough adequacy – as such action would result in the need of care not being met.
  4. Responsiveness 
    This refers to the “responsiveness of the care receiver to the care“. Tronto states, “Responsiveness signals an important moral problem within care: by its nature, care is concerned with conditions of vulnerability and inequality“. She further argues responsiveness does not equal reciprocity. Rather, it is another method to understand vulnerability and inequality by understanding what has been expressed by those in a vulnerable position, as opposed to re-imagining oneself in a similar situation.

Ehic 2 – Care of the Earth

The earth is a common habitat of all the living creatures. All the living creatures sustain their life by using the resources available on the earth. People conduct various activities on the earth to fulfill their own needs and demands. They use various natural resources such as forest, land, water etc while constructing such works.

At the same time, development works pollute the earth. Some effects are seen immediately whereas some are seen after certain times. The earth is the only habitat for all living beings. Its our duty and responsibility to protect our earth. Caring of the earth means maintaining the existence of living beings.

Some reasons for the caring of the earth are as follows:

Conservation of the Earth:

The main objective of caring for the earth is to help the earth in a sustained way of conducting different programmes. For this, conservation should be done for the natural condition of the earth, structure and other related aspects. They should be allowed to run in their natural condition. The program of caring for earth helps to achieve the goal. The conservation leads to the caring for the earth.


Conservation of Natural Heritage:

The internal parts of the earth are minerals, air, water, plants, land, and animals. Improper use of these resources leads to various problems such as global warming, imbalance ecosystem, climate change, scarcity of food and so on. So, conservation of these resources helps in the caring of the earth.

Conservation of the Living beings:

The earth is the habitat of mankind and other kinds of living beings. There are innumerable aquatic and terrestrial living beings on the earth. They are interrelated. The destruction of one affects the other. So, caring for the earth should be done for the conservation of living beings which protects the natural status of the earth.

Methods of Caring for the Earth

All the people on the earth should make a habit of caring for the earth. Development of such habit helps for their own existence.

Some of the measures for caring for the earth are described below:

  • Involvement in conservation program:   By gaining the knowledge of nature and making a good inquiry, we should participate in the program of caring earth. It is important for us to have knowledge about the ecosystem and structure of the earth. We should participate in the conservation program of the earth.
  • Knowledge of Structure of Earth:   It is essential to every people in the earth to have knowledge about the structure of the earth. It motivates towards the conservation of the earth.
  • Nature-friendly development:   Many people conduct various development activities for their own sake. While conducting such activities it should not affect the nature and environment. Such changes may be detrimental to the existence of living beings.
  • Respect of nature:   Everyone should not try to keep nature in their own control rather they should live according to the law of nature. Nature is very important for all living creatures so we must respect them as our parents and friends. They should be conserved and protected.
  • Participation in conservation program:   It is the prime responsibility of human beings to participate actively in all conservation and protection programmes. The conservation of resources is possible with the combined effort of human beings.

Ethic 3 – Limiting Population & Consumption

In an era of changing climate and sinking economies, Malthusian limits to growth are back—and squeezing us painfully.

Whereas more people once meant more ingenuity, more talent, and more innovation, today it just seems to mean less for each.

  • Less Water for every cattle herder in the Horn of Africa. (The United Nations projects there will be more than four billion people living in nations defined as water-scarce or water-stressed by 2050, up from half a billion in 1995.)
  • Less Land for every farmer already tilling slopes so steep they risk killing themselves by falling off their fields. (At a bit less than six-tenths of an acre, global per capita cropland today is little more than half of what it was in 1961, and more than 900 million people are hungry.)
  • Less Capacity in the atmosphere to accept the heat-trapping gases that could fry the planet for centuries to come.
  • Less Energy creating a scarcer investment atmosphere and higher-priced energy.
  • Less Food production leading to less distribution per capita. (By 2050, with the global population expected to reach 9.8 billion, our food supplies will be under far greater stress. Demand will be 60% higher than it is today, but climate change, urbanization, and soil degradation will have shrunk the availability of arable land, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • Less Credit available for the middle and lower classes. 
  • Less Jobs available as efficiency due to technology developments and longevity of the elderly in the workplace.

It’s not surprising that this kind of predicament brings back an old sore topic: human population and whether to do anything about it. Let’s concede up front that nothing short of a catastrophic population crash would make much difference to climate change, water scarcity or land shortages over the next decade or so. There were 6.8 billion people in 2018, and more are on the way. To make a dent in these problems in the short term without throwing anyone overboard, we will need to radically reduce individuals’ footprint on the environment through improvements in technology and possibly wrenching changes in lifestyle.

But until the world’s population stops growing, there will be no end to the need to squeeze individuals’ consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources. A close look at this problem is sobering: short of catastrophic leaps in the death rate or unwanted crashes in fertility rates, the world’s population is all but certain to grow by at least one billion to two billion people. The low-consuming billions of the developing world would love to consume as Americans do, with similar disregard for the environment—and they have as much of a right to do so. These facts suggest that the coming ecological impact will be of a scale that we will simply have to manage and adapt to as best we can.

Population growth constantly pushes the consequences of any level of individual consumption to a higher plateau, and reductions in individual consumption can always be overwhelmed by increases in population. The simple reality is that acting on both, consistently and simultaneously, is the key to long-term environmental sustainability. The sustainability benefits of level or falling human numbers are too powerful to ignore for long.


Ethic 4: Share of the Surplus

Permaculture Design Temple (Memory Palace Structures)

Insert Picture Made from PTT TEMPLATE Here










It helps to be able to make a graphical representation of how our buildings may be supported in our Permaculture Memory Palaces, which I have called the Permaculture Design Temple or inversely Temple of Permaculture Design.

The Main Structural Components of the classical Greek Temples from which structure I have drawn upon are as follows:

  1. Stereobate (Sub Soil Foundations)
  2. Stylobate (Stepped Platform for columns, used to represent the above soil slab for our purposes)
  3. Pillars (Columns supporting the Entablature)
  4. Entablature
  5. Pediment

 Note: for any Greek Architectual Scholars out their, I’m and engineer and only theirfore interested in structure! A joke between to side of a coin.


The Columns (Pillars) Supporting Permaculture as a Design Science

Permaculture as a Design Science is built upon the foundations of its Ethical Basis. The strong foundation laid by the Permaculture Ethics support the Pillars of the Permaculture Design Principles as outlined in Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, by Bill Mollison.


Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Principles set the basis for the consideration of Permaculture as a Design Science. I like to refer to these Design Principles as Mollisionian Permaculture Design Principles as opposed to the co-founder of Permaculture, David Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles, which are more generally stated. I like to refer to these as Holmgrenian Permaculture Principles.


For this exercise, I will only focus on the original Mollisionian Derived Permaculture Design Principles.



There are 18 Permaculture Design Principles as outlined by Bill Mollison in Permaculture a Designers’ Manual


Principle 1 – Principle of Energy Inputs


  1. Sources of Energy
  2. Productivity of Energy Sourced
  3. Energy Budget
  4. Longevity of Energy in Systems
  5. Minimize Inputs of Energy
  6. Conservation of Energy


Sources of Energy

The sun is the main energy source in Permaculture Systems. The Sun produces wind, rain, and biomass. Other sources of potential energy in Permaculture Systems are waste products with embodied energy.


Productivity of Energy Sourced

Permaculture Systems should produce for their own needs and the needs of the people creating or controlling them from the energy provided for by the Sun.


Energy Budget

The energy budget assures the energy required for construction and maintenance of Permaculture Systems should be less than the energy required to produce the system, maintain the system and operate the system.


Minimize Inputs

Permaculturist through careful and protracted observations prior to actions work to reduce the inputs needed for Permaculture Systems, Permaculturist then makes the least change for the greatest possible effects.



Permaculture works at tipping points, we work to make find the point at which we get the most yield for the least amount of work. Permaculture does not waste energy on unproductive work.



Permaculture uses Observation of Nature, Natural Cycles, Sun fueled Energy Sources and Processes to lesson a Permaculture systems establishment and maintenance inputs.

Permaculture Principle 2 – Energy Cycling


Stop the flow of Nutrients and Energy off-site, and instead turn them into Energy Cycles

Every cyclic event increases the opportunity for Yield. To increase cycling is to increase Yield.

Assist rather than impede Natural Biochemical Cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, hydrological, etc…)

Use the incoming energy entering the site (solar, water, wind, manures, etc…) at its highest possible use, and then its next highest, and so on.

Examples of Energy Cycling in Permaculture Designed Systems:

  1. Dams and swales to slow down, collect and hold water.
  2. Kitchen wastes recycled to compost.
  3. Old newspaper mulched.
  4. Manures used for biogas or to improve soil, feed a worm farm, etc…
  5. Household wastewater flows to the garden via a septic tank digester or banana circle.
  6. Rainwater runoff harvested or diverted to growing systems or storage in dams or ponds.
  7. Green Manueres grown and then turned into the earth promoting soil fertility.
  8. Leaves and garden waste are collected and used as mulch for trees or turned into compost, etc…
  9. 5 R‘s – Resist Usage, Reduce Usage, Reuse, Recycle, Recover


Permaculture Principle 3 – Energy Efficiency

Permaculture Principle 4 – Stability in Nature

Permaculture Principle 5 – Multiffunctional Elements

Permaculture Principle 6 – Functional Support

Permaculture Principle 7 – Relative Location

Permaculture Principle 8 – Biological Resourse Use

Permaculture Principle 9 – Diversity of Ecosystems

Permaculture Principle 10 – Edge Effects

Permaculture Principle 11 – Intensification of Systems


Permaculture Principle 12 – Accelerated Succession & Evolution


Permaculture Principle 13 – Natural Forces


Permaculture Principle 14 – Theoreticall Yield


Permaculture Principle 15 – Cooperation not Competition


Permaculture Principle 16 – Mental Positivity


Permaculture Principle 17 – Proximity to Usage


Permaculture Principle 18 – Demonstration is Authority


Permaculture Designs Entablature

An entablature is the superstructure of moldings and bands which lies horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture and are commonly divided into the architrave (the supporting member immediately above; equivalent to the lintel in post and lintel construction), the frieze (an unmolded strip that may or may not be ornamented), and the cornice(the projecting member below the pediment).

In Permaculture Design the Entablature many be represented by the Permaculture Design Disciplines which overlap the pillars to form the Post and Lintel construction that makes both building and Permaculture strong.

Let’s delve into the overlapping Desing Disciplines that Permaculture Design draws from to form the strong Lintel which supports the Permaculture Design Community, which is represented by the Pediment in the next section.

The ??? Permaculture Design Discipline Entablatures:

Permaculture Designs Pediment (

Constructing Rooms in Your Permaculture Memory Palace (Systems)


Adornments in your Permaculture Memory Palace (Skills and Techniques)

Furnishing your Permaculture Memory Palace (Elements)

Protecting your Permaculture Memory Palace (Your Moat)

Functional Areas of your Permacultureltrue Memory Palace


Some will wonder to why I would take the trouble to make a page about a Memory Technique and relate it to Permaculture Design?

I believe that Permaculture is like an Umbrella, it is the visuall that I like to use to see the Disciplines of Permaculture as represented by the struts creating the distinctive umbrella shape, the fabric stretch across the struts to me is like the crust of the earth. The thin layer of soil that creates the fertility that plays one of the key roles for life to thrive.

Where do I keep my Permaculture Umbrella, well in the foyer to My Mind Palace of course in the umbrella rack? The beauty of creating your own solutions for remembering the things that matter to you is always personal.

I have always had an easy time as I can visualize my thoughts is a very real way. I have had many students that are not that adept at visualizing concepts. The great thing about modern computer technology is the ability for a graphic artist to make great visualizations with, infographics, mind maps, etc….

This is making the world of knowledge the ability to reach a far greater number of special intellects, I can only wonder and smile at the world I see for the future. I believe we have created countless problems but am confident that the solutions and people to change the world are among us. This is why I like to put so many pictures in my webpages, I realize they will load slower and will not rank as well but for the dedicated learner, the small lag will be worth the wait.

I hope you will take the Permaculture Challange and work to create your Permaculture Palace. Always remember in Permaculture we use Natural Building. So make your Palace a natural home and do your part to save the plant.

Rak On!