To learn about tools, their functions and applications within the design process


11th August 2022 – ongoing


Penarth, South Wales






Tools & Technology. Human ingenuity used to transform energy from our environment to more useful resources. Here I am essentially reusing and recycling a commonly used aspect of the design process. Recycling the energy of the tools system to make it my own, as a way to integrate it into my own understanding. Hand tools: recovery and maintenance of traditional tools and skills, in this context, thinking about tools for the design process and their relations to nature’s wisdom as articulated by indigenous cultures.

Culture & Education. Redefining how we learn by becoming more active and encouraging creativity. I am an active agent for change, I can use my own creativity to help me learn more deeply about the tools and find my own way of giving expression to them in my designs.

Social ecology. Philosophy focused on redesign of society using ecological principles. Thinking about how the tools express ecological principles.

Action learning. A reflective process of progressive problem solving that accepts the observer as part of the system being studied. Learning through exploration. (1 – observe, plan, act, reflect. 2 – observe, think/reflect, design, implement, from Helen Smith’s 2020 Collection of Design Frameworks)


Holmgren’s 12


Creative Process framework, originally from Adam Brock’s book Change Here Now (Permaculture Solutions for Personal and Community Transformation), modified by me to better encapsulate the feel of the creative process as an evolving and unfolding whole.




Liz Postlethwaite’s, Carla Moss’s and Jessie Scantlebury’s designs (for tool ideas), technical tutorial, Making Permaculture Stronger podcasts, Delvin Solkinson’s Permaculture Design Notes,  Simplest Design Process (James Chapman) 

Books: Aranya, Permaculture Design, a Step – by – Step Guide. Rosemary Morrow, Earth Users Guide to Permaculture. Looby McNamara, People and Permaculture. Toby Hemenway, The Permaculture City and Gai’s Garden. Sarah Spencer, Think Like a Tree. David Holmgren,  Essence of Permaculture.


Tools. It doesn’t take much digging into the nature of the permaculture design process to unearth this notion of tools. But what is a tool as used in a permaculture design context? And what goes into the permaculture designers toolbox?

I know that the design process goes along in a series of phases, loosely and mostly defined as goals, observation, survey, analysis, design, implementation, evaluation, reflection (the pattern or framework), Tools then add details, helping you to think more deeply, emerge questions and increase understanding of context and solutions that may be appropriate.

Using them enables the designer to uncover and unearth a variety of things, like motivations, functions, needs, wants, ideas, solutions. And each tool seems to fit into a particular place in the design process, some can be used in any phase, some have a very specific purpose. 

In this design, I seek to clarify and deepen my understanding of tools, and practice using them as a way to enrich my learning of this element of the design process.

Assessment Criteria