This paper is the first of a two part paper intended to introduce the concept of permaculture and urban farming to built environment professionals. These papers seek to challenge the perception that permaculture principles are just for the ‘veggie patch’ and draw attention to their potential to be used to design places that are better equipped to meet people’s needs, now and in the future. This paper discusses the philosophical basis of permaculture and urban farming. The second paper entitled: Part B – Principles and Application, discusses the principles of permaculture and provides a few indicative examples of its potential application in urban environments. It is not intended to document the range of applications of permaculture or their respective technical merit, rather it is intended to provoke interest and invite professionals new to this philosophy to explore this matter further.
This paper was originally published in August 1996 as GEN 9: An Introduction to Permaculture and Urban Farming. It was revised by Peter Cuming in May 2002, and has been substantially expanded and revised by the co-authors to its current form.