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David Holmgren on the hidden regeneration potential of the suburbs

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I’ve had the privilege of being able to travel to many places around the world to design and manage projects for organizations and clients, and the one constant that I find whether it’s getting a natural home off the ground, planning an agroforestry plantation, or even remotely consulting with someone on their dream project, is that the community element is the most often overlooked. 

Time and time again I’ve seen projects stall or move backwards because they think they just don’t have the monetary or material resources to continue, when in fact it’s their social capital which is lacking. On the other side I’ve seen the power of collaboration overcome shortages of money and institutional support as neighbors and friends offer their creativity, expertise, or even just emotional support to get past the inevitable hurdles that come up. 

Despite this, there are far fewer resources and courses in the regenerative fields on how to build social capital, involve and connect your community, or how to apply the patterns of nature to organize people and our institutions. 

So today I want to kick off this series by going to the source of permaculture study by speaking to the co-originator of permaculture, David Holmgren. 

Back In 1978, he and Bill Mollison published Permaculture One, starting the global permaculture movement.

Since then, David has developed three properties, consulted and supervised on urban and rural projects, written eight more books, and presented lectures, workshops and courses in Australia and around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity of subjects and issues, whilst always illuminating aspects of permaculture thinking and living.

While there are endless things I could ask David about, In this interview we focus on his newest book, RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, his 592-page manual showing how Australians can downshift and retrofit their homes, gardens and selves for resilience into an uncertain future.

We talk about why he chose to focus on the suburbs when many people are now looking to abandon them and move to more rural areas. 

We explore the potential that there is in retrofitting the infrastructure of peri urban environments that were poorly designed and the source of much wasteful energy and material use.

This is a wide ranging conversation that explores the evolution of permaculture, various cohabitation arrangements, getting around strict regulations, and much more.

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https://online.retrosuburbia.com/ https://www.youtube.com/user/MelliodoraHepburn/videos https://www.facebook.com/MelliodoraHepburnPermaculture https://www.facebook.com/groups/retrosuburbia/

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