Design is the fundamental skill that helps our culture adapt. Yet it is hard to master. Nick Radford, a professional designer, encourages us to keep learning to design for the rest, and for the best, of our lives.
Learning Permaculture design is a great start. “The permaculture courses are a really great resource. But if you did that course, you would not think that you knew everything about plants. Naturally, we expect to go out and keep learning your whole life about plants.” Likewise, with the art of design.
Permaculture has always focused on design. The gardening and housing ideas have evolved out of the changes needed to live more sustainably. They help us modify the climate, absorb waste and be more productive at a local level. All these practices come out of the bigger plan which uses practical planning skills.
So, we need to expect to keep on learning for our whole life about how to improve our lifestyle through better planning of the spaces we occupy and work in.
Adapt and Thrive with Design Skills
Nick started 25 years ago just trying to do Permaculture. He did “the whole thing the owner building with the natural materials and the passive solar, growing food and rainforest regeneration”. It was just for himself and his family. He wanted to learn and get out of the rat race. He had a good grounding from his university studies.
His wife, at the time, was Peruvian and he had seen Peruvians were living simple, more sustainable, lives. Together they were learning a lot along the way.
Build skills and share
“By now I’ve accumulated these skills of building and landscape design and site repair and wastewater and general biodiversity assessment and improvement” At first he designed for owner builders or people who are doing it on the cheap. Then his practice grew into something that more mainstream people with higher budgets and more sophisticated designs. “I love it – it’s a great job.”
Nick also teaches a wider audience about the value of design. and what do we call it ecological-design or nature-based design or other words that we can adapt with nature.
‘I just think it’s something that’s really lacking in our culture is an understanding of how nature works and how people can fit in with nature rather than fight it’.
“We don’t have much time left in this destructive system”Nick Radford – Bellingen Permaculture
Schools, government system and workplaces benefit from good design. By teaching every child to value design they will start a positive culture. We adapt quickly with creative skills.
Design is a word that can separate people from professional narrow realm of architects and engineers and just the general average person who they think it’s kind of not their job to understand design.
Maybe the word design is the wrong term. Maybe, ‘creative problem solving’ is what we should call this and and creative problem solving applies to everyone because we’ve brought up in this system that really doesn’t work and we kind of accept it. Because it’s all we know but we don’t have much time left to live in this destructive system. Change will happen when people understand how they can affect the little bit of the world around them.
So, whether we call it design or creative problem solving. The first step is that people understand the creative process.
We can, and must, do it.