Crowdsource, from Wikipedia: "Crowdsourcing is a type of participative online activity in which an individual, an institution, a non-profit organization, or company proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task. The undertaking of the task, of variable complexity and modularity, and in which the crowd should participate bringing their work, money, knowledge and/or experience, always entails mutual benefit. The user will receive the satisfaction of a given type of need, be it economic, social recognition, self-esteem, or the development of individual skills, while the crowdsourcer will obtain and utilize to their advantage that what the user has brought to the venture, whose form will depend on the type of activity undertaken"
It kind of blows my mind that I didn't get any hits back when I searched the forum for crowdsourcing. Today, right now, you can go on any one of a plethora of websites and propose a need for design work — be it website, graphics, industrial design, engineering, and more — and within hours start receiving solutions to your design problem from people all over the world. Permaculture IS a Design Framework, one that is very effective at solving many difficult, ingrained problems with modern living and human habitation. So why don’t more certified perma-designers hop on crowdsourcing tools and apply their skills and knowledge more often, and with more results? I read this blog post earlier today:
"I just bought a house recently and I’m wondering what to do with my landscape at the moment — the backyard, front yard, side yard. I have ideas, but I know others would have even better ideas. I’d love to upload or add a blueprint, or dimensions, along with some photos, and let a community of creative people “have at it” and come up with some neat ideas … What’s the user incentive to help plan someone’s house? Satisfaction. Getting to use creativity and impact someone’s house."From: (http://www.stevepoland.com/idea-119-...house-designs/)
Duh! I don’t know if anyone in the Permaculture community is seriously pursuing this angle right now, as crowdsourcing is only really starting to break through as a ’serious’ and ‘efficient' solution to getting things done more effectively… and sometimes us greenthumbs have that healthy aversion to too much technology which would keep some of the more innovative tech stuff out of view of the luddites among us
It could even start as a insular trial, i.e. someone who is already into permaculture who wants their habitation to be designed could submit to the online permaculture community plans and maps and have people give it their best shot. No strings attached, only the free flow of ideas is the goal.
I sometimes feel like people in permaculture are so into doing their own thing that it’s like every permaculture site is an island unto itself. Taking a note from neural, networked, mycelial patterns, we’re a lot stronger connected in as many ways and to as many other nodes as possible, than we are not as connected. Appreciate the internet’s gifts or bemoan it’s failures, but collaborative innovations like crowdsourcing websites are perfectly effective and universally accessible tools to achieve a higher-level order of complexity and resilience within the permaculture movement. The tools are there right this instant, we just have to learn about them and start.
But, you say, direct connection and observation are core Permaculture principles! Designing a zone plan online without being on the landscape is a futile, or quite possibly even dangerous idea! It’s essential and a completely indispensable aspect to designing habitations that work to have a direct body connection to the place. It’s what distinguishes the process of designing a physical space with the process of designing a website or digital space. This doesn’t rule out using digital tools altogether though. There is still very much a place for crowdsourcing as an inroad into planting Permaculture seeds in the broader society, touching people who’d neither have the time nor inclination to study and become excited about re-connecting to their land in their own free time. These people just need someone else to provide what they really want.
If more people like Steve from the blog post above were to ask for their home and yard to be designed in a better way, the floodgates would be open for all the legions of young, unproven, and eager permies who have the time to apply some ’sweat equity’ and work on their craft pro-bono, assuming some of us with PDC 'certs are indeed interested in going into permaculture design consulting. It would also be a massive proof of concept for permaculture as the design-with-nature-as-guide school of thought vs. the conventional approach (schooled landscape ‘architects’?), a situation where a little bit of friendly competition, in the name of finding the best, most beneficial solution to a problem, would certainly have an appropriate place.
I would go further and initiate something beyond just bringing this to the surface, however I’m very pressed for time and wanted to at least get a discussion going.
What say ya’ll?