The main methods I used were Observation, Deduction from Nature, Data Overlay, Flow Diagrams, and Zone and Sector Analysis. Some of the methods, such as Functional Analysis, were too time-consuming to do for all major components. I wish I had the time to go through each of the major components and do a complete functional analysis for each of them. Doing so could help to better understand the relationships between components of the whole system, which is so important to design an efficient overall system. However, as you will see, I put in quite a bit of thought analyzing potential design components in the Analysis and Assessment.
Here is a brief outline of the way I applied design methods to this particular site design:
Observation – As you read through the “Observation” and “Analysis and Assessment” chapters below, you’ll see how many of my decisions for major components are strongly connected to the observations and information about this particular site. I organized my observations based on Yeoman’s “Keyline Scale of Permanence,” which enabled me to gather information about the site-specific climate, landform, water, roads/access, vegetation and wildlife, buildings, and soil. Then, I analyzed design components according to that information.
Deduction from Nature – Many of the design components function in ways that reflect systems in nature. I did not invent or deduce the systems that I suggested for implementation; I stand on the shoulders of giants, i.e. the many people who have studied nature and discovered systems to mimic and compliment the intelligence of natural systems. One example of this is forest garden design. Another example is keyline design. People have deduced thousands of ideas that work to produce a variety of functions. So I filtered what I knew was possible to choose the most appropriate systems based on the specific site characteristics and the desires of the people who I was designing for.
Data Overlay, Flow Diagrams, and Zones of Use – I started the data overlay by printing out large scaled maps of the site acquired from satellite images of the property. I used multiple copies of these maps to draw out access roads and pathways, wildlife corridors, sun and wind patterns, identify existing buildings, and sketch out potential new buildings and patterns for placing different systems. Having this data mapped on large paper allowed me and other work partners to see the site as a whole and conceptualize relationships between potential design features. I could create flow diagrams on the big maps to envision how people would be moving in relation to the greenhouse and garden work, community space, and harvesting wood throughout the property; this helped identify key pathways and access routs, and place systems in the proper relative location. I also had a big topographical map printed out, which was used to identify the appropriate placement of access roads and ponds according to optimal grade/steepness. Using a big map of the whole property with the patterns of usage and existing features enabled me to identify zones of use. Mapping zones of use is a fundamental step to developing a master plan. When zones are identified, then components of the design can be placed accordingly.
The Holistic Goal – As you will see in the next page, I used the Holistic Goal as another primary method for the design. The Holistic Goal-setting process provides a method for identifying the vision, mission, and goals of the clients that I am designing for.