Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Friday, April 25, 2008

Caitlan's Zone 1 (or Zero)

In permaculture, Zones are numbered from 0 to 5, and can be thought of as a series of concentric rings moving out from a center point, where human activity and need for attention is most concentrated, to where there is no need for intervention at all. Zonation is a guide to for how much human input, or energy, is used within each tier. My friends and I have defined Zone 0 as care of self, so Zone 1 becomes your immediate environs.

Sectors are a way of considering a place's external energies: sun, wind, underlying geology, or in the case of urban permaculture, roads, neighborhoods, and municipal ordinances. These forces are mitigated or utilized, depending on what you're designing. By definition, you can't modify a sector (the sun is going to rise and set at a certain time each day no matter what), but you can modify the effects of sectors.

Caitlan's new home (zone 1) is in a mobile home park (small lot sector, HOA sector). The owner has made it one giant art project; the underlying geology of this fabricated home has been modified with hundreds and hundreds of mosaicked items, from bottle tops and hubcaps to broken tiles and cutlery and other artworks. "It's like living in an art car," she says.

Putting energy (time, materials, money) towards modifying the effects of sectors is a great way to improve the quality of life in your zone 1. Humans have been doing this for a long time. It's fun to see someone converting their dwelling into an art paradise. It's a great fit for Caitlan.

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