Facilitating the IPCUK Neighbourhoods design process – Summary

Designing how to facilitate a small team with a diversity of permaculture experience, but no knowledge of the design web, to design the Neighbourhoods at the International Permaculture Convergence in London in 2015, through online collaboration.

People based designDesign Framework: design webDesign for a clientDesigned alone

Design period: February 2015 – April 2015

Client: Myself & the design team

Why is this design included?

This design was an opportunity to bring together all of my learnings from the diploma and permaculture experience so far, to share some of them with others on the diploma journey and to make use of it for the good of the wider permaculture community. So it kind of feels like the culmination of my diploma journey, an opportunity to put things into practice. As part of it I have also produced a pattern design which can be used for other online, collaborative designs.


To share my permaculture learnings to date and to use them to contribute to the success of the IPCUK.

Key learning

In a distributed (or any) design team good communication is vital. Keep it regular, clear and succinct and check understanding. Agree communication methods and regularity at the beginning.

Top tips

  •  Make sure your SMART goals are meaningful and not just for the sake of measurement
  • Review and tweak the process regularly, letting it become iteratively better
  • Be creative, bring in lots of different techniques and approaches to keep up momentum
  • Don’t think you have to do it all yourself, use human resources wisely

Design tools used

Design tools used

Skills practised

Skills practiced - neighbourhoods


I looked at and applied all of the ethics in this design. A lot of the focus was on the peoplecare of the design team, including me, and fair shares of inclusion.


I looked at three of Holmgrens principles as well as two others in this design. I used them to generate ideas and they were very useful and insightful.

Design Process

Design Process Diagram - neighbourhoods

Writing up and Evaluation

I am writing up and evaluating this design now (Apr 15) so that I can include it in my diploma portfolio and because we have completed the first design cycle and produced a first draft, so it is a good time to review and tweak. In this write up I have focused on the process design and the pattern design that has emerged from it. I have not gone into detail about the neighbourhoods design as it is ongoing and will be written up and shared elsewhere. I have also not gone into detail about the ins and outs of the designing process as the patterns feel more valuable for myself and others to apply in future situations.

Evaluation tools used

Evaluation tools used - neighbourhoods


I am incredibly grateful for my diploma journey and everything and everyone that has contributed to it. I have appreciated many of the yields of it while doing this design. I appreciate all of the effort that I have put in, my willingness to learn and my brains amazing ability to take things in and fit them into the web of knowledge! I am grateful for all of the hard work and contributions of my design team – Lali Zaibun Nisa, Rachel Geary, Graham Wood, Karen Noon and Denise Arnold – and for being part of the process which has allowed these learnings to emerge. I am also grateful for the support of Celia Ashman, the Welcome and Wellbeing working group chair, and others at the Permaculture Association UK for their input. And also the huge array of people working to make the IPCUK a success which generates the need for this design. I am also very grateful to my tutor Looby for saying that I could include this design as part of my diploma portfolio, I am not sure I would have managed otherwise!

Now go to the full design write up.

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