IPCUK Convergence site design. Part 1: surveying the system

Site Design teamIn March 2015 a team of intrepid IPCUK convergence coordinators met up at Gilwell Park, the site of the IPCUK Convergence. We spent 3 days on site with a mission to come up with some design suggestions for the site layout of the IPCUK to present at the coordination hub meeting in April.

For our three day meeting we would have Celia Ashman (Welcome & Wellbeing working group), Hannah Thorogood, Joe Atkinson & Sandra Campe (All 3 of the convergence coordination team). For the Wednesday (in varying amounts of time) we had Andy Goldring (CEO of the Permaculture Association), Daniel Bos (site crew co-ordination), Ryan (communications & publicity).

We will be following a SADIMET design process for the site design, each section can be taken as chapters in the story.. some are yet to be written - you may become part of the story as we work through the process.


Part 1: Surveying the system

There have been years of observations going into this section of the IPCUK design, from a number of different systems:

  • General permaculture event and convergence site design. The team have a wealth of experience - the convergence coordination team have been involved in the site design of the last 10 years of British and European permaculture convergences and many other permaculture and related events.

  • IPC - feedback had been collated from the IPC in Cuba to feed into this design

  • Gilwell Park - the 2014 British Convergence was held in Gilwell Park specifically so we could use it as a trial run, or an observation, to feed into the design of the IPCUK.

Client interviews

For this design we have many clients spread all over the world in a wide variety of roles. Celia did some great work before the event collating feedback from the IPC in Cuba, last year’s British convergence (attendees and crew), the staff at the Permaculture Association, and various working groups feeding into the IPCUK.

We spent a good chunk of time on the Wednesday in a client interview phase - consulting with Andy, Ryan, Daniel and the collated input via Celia. (Ryan and Andy left after this stage).

Site Observations

We spent a good amount of time walking the 108 acre site, exploring the major features and patterns. We refreshed our memories of spaces we used last year, explored spaces we hadn’t used and observed changes since we were last on site. (Daniel left during this stage).

We, the remaining 4, then decided to extend our observations and interactions with external influences, ranging off site to ensure we integrated fully with the wider bioregion and expanded our own physical edges by obtaining a yield with a fantastic curry, all the time ensuring we had multiple elements to fulfill the essential function of food. A good time was had.

Read Part Two: Analysing the Information

Read Part Three: Playing with Design Options