SE: It seems that ecocities are permaculture on a larger scale. In what areas do you think ecocity thinkers can learn from permaculturists, and what can permaculturists do to scale up to city size?
RR: It’s relatively easy to experiment with permaculture. All you need is a piece of land and you’re ready to go. Cities are more difficult – you don’t own them and you have to work with the most difficult natural condition in the world: humans. How do you convince humans to act in their own best long term interest?
The integration of all the best practices in the built environment of a whole city isn’t really happening. At the same time, the built environment of a permaculture homestead makes a lot of sense. You have your garden arranged according to your needs. Daily things like spices and herbs are planted closest to the house. A little farther out are the things you bring into your house to put in the refrigerator run by your off the grid solar collector. Beyond that you have the crops that are harvested on a much longer term basis, maybe your grains and wood lot on the fringes. All that stuff makes an enormous amount of sense.
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