Jan in an email to Julia (USA) explaining why she has not got inspiration for a dance week called Constant Bliss she’s supposed to be running in New England in the autumn! “ To some extent I’ve been looking for inspiration, having got none at gennetines… so hot! So then I went south… a different sort of heat, and so fab, fab. I have made an offer on a house in Prades, in the Pyrenees, with Mount Canigou, another sacred mountain, in the background and which gave me a flavour of “constant bliss”... whenever I crested the hilltops that took me to the mountains, there I got a feeling of peace, of space, of heat, of ‘culture’… I was torn between the Catalunyan bliss of the very south and the green, wet, vertical reaches of the Aude valley, La Belle France, French France, my ‘first love’ down there … but very enclosed.. And when I came back to the plain, there was pleasure.” July 28th 2003
Publicly owned land ‘ neighbourhood village’ Recreation, cultural Hospitals, etc Local trails Infrastructure, roads, trees, green spaces Safety & danger Heritage buildings Power spots Businesses most important for the community to support Crime/conflicts Dark & lighting where children can interact with nature Pollution Largest employers in the area How has the community grown over time
Resources: Up to £65,000; can do renovation work if smallscale. Permi- network could help? Need: Max 3 beds & outside space. See it as a start, partly to gauge suitability of moving as a longterm goal. Ethics: Look at fair share as an issue. Themes: Placement - Zone 0 only, heat & quiet, near people, local community feel… however, it’s 800 miles away - assumes it doesn’t need much attention… Z4 = long term harvest or Z5 virtual wilderness, in that one can take inspiration from it and then come back to ‘home’. Sector - site analysis plan, where in the country, what sun, wind, water, air... Scale - space & time - energy in, yield out… recycling? how adaptable to green ideas. Personal patterns - privacy with a social edge. Elements: Criteria from a green PoV: How near to others eg LVD, other bio-people, how organic is the local feel, does it conform to “French” feel, how laid back etc. Work in/work out? Strategies: Timing Instinct Long term changes using current resources (ie I have the money now, do it) .
Bioregionalism: boundaries of home or, why France? or even, why this particular bit of France that’s so far away, hot, unknown… is it OK, is it green politically? Do they ‘do’ organic, do they know what permaculture is...
pre1980 Paris only, probably 1980 Bardou, Aude - a self-perpetuating community, a 6 week visit which led to an interest in Cathar heresy, studying and renovating old village houses, living in the heat, gathering wild food, being with others. 1986 continuous ... Brittany, the Loire, central France, and traditional dance. The start of a passion for French culture and a belief that “ it ” was there! 1989 La Val Dieu , an intentional community in the Aude, first ventures into virtual community via GreenNet, investing in the land & building. Dance, debate, culture, right livelihood, organic co-ops, solarpower, mix of people from all parts of Europe. 11 = Aude; 9 = Ariège; 66 = Pyrènèes Orientales 2002 My dear Mum leaves me the money! 2003 Return to the south, get buzz from 66, sit in a square in a hot little Catalan town and lose my heart to it…* 2004 a new life in Prades, 66500 1990 Lagrasse, Bugerach, Limoux, Quillan, Espèraza, Arques, Couiza, Rennes-les-Bains, St Paul de Fenouillet … the poetry of the names, dreams, friends, adventures… one day!
Why there? Narrowing down the area… Analysis using data overlay: maps, exclusion zones & choices Maps of interest: Traditional dance Permaculture & ‘green’ things Exclusion zones: How far away from UK? Why not Spain? What’re the costs? Why now? What can I do there? What of the future? How does it balance out? Prades 66500 Dept: Pyrenees-Orientales
Data overlay based on interest: traditional dance … because I do it and teach it! Paris weekends visits to go dancing: ceilidhs, bals, breton club Verton regular group visits - mainly Anglo-French barndance, trans-Manche friendships, reciprocation, community building. Brittany lines & circles, an dros, gavotte, community dancing & singing Celtic fringe, a live tradition Berry & Bourbonnais central french bals, bourrées, polka, mazurka, summer dance festivals & fêtes, meeting people from all over Europe, learning about cultures & traditions, local ways of life based on annual cycles of time, builds a European dance community Provence edges with Italy and the Med, circles, lines, agricultural rounds such as the farandole, branle, medieval run of the sun. Pays Catalan one main dance - the sardana - which is a community dance strengthening ties on both sides of the border, solidarity, resistance to the ‘globalisation’ of the northern french government
Data overlay based on interest: permaculture & ‘green’ things - natch! Paris area Le Tertre Blanc Brittany L’academie Bretonne de Permaculture + others Languedoc & Midi Pyrenees a major player in permaculture dissemination: 8 orgs inc. Las Encantadas, Limoux & Le Paysage Comestible + others, Sougraigne (Aude), Peter, Jane & Marc, Les Portes Neuves (Gers), Ecovillage network: Reseau Francais des Eco Villages (Jean Michel Pochat) Dordogne/Lot Association Beauchamp - Bué & John, Yves at Le Chevreuil Limousin/Centre Nés de la terre, Steve & Yvonne Page, Le Blé en Herbe, Alpes Maritimes Yves Martelet, Collet
Data overlay: exclusion zones How far away from UK? 750 miles, nearly as far as I can get, from Brighton… maybe it’s cos I’m Welsh, I want to be away from England, on the edge of 2 countries… What’re the costs? Aah, the nub… property prices low here, tho going up. Travel costs might outweigh the benefits - earth care, fair share... Prades 66500 Dept: Pyrenees-Orientales Why not Spain? Too much going on in Spain, too many Brits, lots of people wanting their ‘bit’ to fulfill over imaginative dreams… I like France! (I don’t speak Spanish, though that’s not really an excuse…)
Analysis … How is the bioregion defined? Physical ... Biophysical contours, river valleys, microclimates, wild and cultivated spaces, and the impact of the human on the environment D.Aberly (ed) 1993 Bio-cultural ... An association of the natural identifiable region, sometimes defined by a watershed, by an existing or tribal language boundary H.Christie 2001 Energetic ... Human organisation and cultural information as a store of energy - cross fertilisation, biogenetic, racial, cultural and intellectual = hybrid vigour D.Holmgren 2002
Prades Languedoc-Roussillon is one definition of the area; the langue d’Oc representing the diversity of tribes of Provence, Italy, Southern France, and the Catalans… the other end of the world from the “Oil” (=yes) Catalunya 66 = Pyrénées Orientales 11 = Aude 9 = Ariège Catalonia represents a massive edge between France and Spain. The language is different again, the culture is of ‘the south’. The diversity of people, thought, politics, the ‘natural’ refusal to be “French” has meant the area is wild, open, Resistance is rife (WW2), pride in local traditions and an “alternative” feel… Political Spanish/French border Le pays catalan
Prades ZPPAUP Zone de Protection de Patrimoine Architectural, Urbain et Paysager Published in January 2004, the plan is to ‘reconquer’ the centre and preserve the architecture, to limit urban growth, sustain the food producing areas, and to resuscitate the feeling of communité for future generations.
Human environment… as an example Water Domestic water is metered; arrosage canals - “ free” water runs under the streets from the mountain - dip into it for gardens etc. Food is supplied by a network of small businesses, bakers, butchers, greengrocers, small corner shops, weekly markets inc bio/producers market, as well as SuperU and Intermarché, which buys locally. MacDo is the main bone of contention with local Restauranteurs. Energy is nuclear, with eoliennes nearby. Waste disposal Public dechetterie using “Tri” system of recycling glass,plastic and other items; communal bins emptied daily… + dustbin system. Sewage costs included in waterbill. Have still to discover where it goes! Infrastructure Commune = small centre of government, Prades has grown from being a village based on its square and church with a famous Baroque altarscreen, to a cultural centre linked to anti-Franco and WW2 Resistance. Roads Bypass, small marble-edged streets, some one-way, carpark spaces are central with disabled spaces, children play in streets. Trees central place shaded by plane trees Green spaces park & lake with fishing, campsite, rugby ground, cemetery; main feature is the Pyrenean countryside is within 10m walk, lots of randonneurs, and walking clubs.
Cuxac: Andreas, BPT BSC graduate & Dip student Varilhes: Paul & Pauline, from Brighton, eco-home & IT business Peter, Jane & Marc Les Portes Neuves (Gers) Les Encantadas (Emilia Hazelip’s place, inspiring Jamie and others Sougraigne: x3 La Val Dieu Prades Known PC people & places within a 100km radius Green businesses, eg. BoisEnergie66 in Mosset, Biocoop in Prades, Bio food producers in Marquixanes and area, ... Eco-Niche ! Odile WWOOF Human organisation
Prades Plus: sous-prefecture, Mairie, Communist majority on council “cleaning up the town”, big weekly main market for the area, Weekly local producers market, ‘Nature et Progres’, Bio-Coop, ADSL’d, good public transport from Perpignan, Spain, train & bus stations. Prades Minus: dog shit, some alcoholic hangers-around, major tourist area so lots of vehicles, French energy system is nuclear, EDF-GDF using river for hydro-electric. Plus interessante: Range of cultural events, such as Pablo Casals festival, film Festival, l’ Université d’été Catalane, Diverse population - spanish, algerian, moroccan, dutch, english. Big artistic community in the surrounding villages. Renewable energy in the area - wind, solar, wood. The new ‘Le Fil de Conflent’, a local action group to make the town more green, more connected, more responsible, embryonic LETS. PMI analysis
How about applying a bit of permaculture design theory? OK, we can see it’s an interesting landscape
House hunting using district scale design... Observation: Site - Rural or urban - small village? Small house or shared space in a larger one? People - who with? Who might come - is there space for people to stay? Boundaries - how far renovated already? Budget & leeway? Use client checklist on me to determine... Resources: How much? What can I do myself? Who could help? Need: Minimum/maximum space; accessibility now & future Ethics: 2nd home - look at fair share issue. Themes: Placement; sector; scale; patterns Elements: Green criteria; other criteria such as cultural; work and yield? Strategies: timing; instinct; long term Energy use : use local estate agents who speak english; web search in area ; plan 80:20 ; hone down choice to what is feasible in time before going; observe… use criteria, travel round the design cycle again and take intuition into account ! Let's go round again Found it!! What next? survey analyse design implement review
<ul><li>60 rue du Palais is </li></ul><ul><li>100 year old small house, half of an inheritance by 2 </li></ul><ul><li>siblings, who split it down the middle to make 2 houses. </li></ul><ul><li>Kitchen, Salon and 3 bedrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Bathroom + separate toilet </li></ul><ul><li>Cool cellar with wine racks </li></ul><ul><li>Small courtyard with ‘dependence’ - a 2 storey outhouse </li></ul><ul><li>which used to house animals. </li></ul><ul><li>Bottled gas; oil-fired central heating. </li></ul><ul><li>Last owned by a maçon artisanal who lived in it </li></ul><ul><li>with his young family. </li></ul><ul><li>Renovation needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Roof has leaked into bedroom - broken tiles repaired. </li></ul><ul><li>Insulate house roof more substantially and </li></ul><ul><li>possibly make a terrace to see the fab view of </li></ul><ul><li>Mount Canigó. </li></ul><ul><li>Outhouse needs reroofing </li></ul><ul><li>plan to make the top floor into a habitable space, </li></ul><ul><li>for outdoor sleeping & guests. </li></ul><ul><li>Replace the mazout heating with </li></ul><ul><li>Solar powered water heater (grants available) </li></ul><ul><li>Wood pellet, biomass stove for heating </li></ul>
Tramontane winds summer sun Site analysis plan North
Site analysis plan North Tramontane winds summer sun 300+ days sun Temp: summer 35+˚c winter 0 to 12˚c occasional snow tree dependence (outhouse) house earth courtyard Rain from north-east mainly
31 July 10am 25 December, 11.20am 30 August, 8.30am Rue du Palais, built up in the 17th century from the old E-W main road, has used the age-old strategy of tall buildings & narrow streets to ward off the heat. Polished wood floor and ceilings reflect light even in midwinter. The ‘back view’ shows the strength of the late summer sun over the suburbs - all the later-built buildings have terraces to catch the sun.
Easter, early April 2004 late May 2004 mid July 2004 Sun trajectory shows would hit the courtyard full in late summer if the tree wasn’t there. However, the tree is too big & dry soil means nothing else grows...
Data overlay: choices What can I do there? I can speak French, so there’s the prospect of improving it; getting involved with the ecologically-active community that is building there. Supporting Permaculture in the area… be a node? What of the future? As an “elder” I can support the community. I can teach a lot of things: permaculture, circledance, community-building. I hope to have my partner there too! Why now? I’m 55 soon and my 5-year Plan to Retirement kicks in; I have the money to invest; I’ve always wanted to live there, so can try it out before the final step! How does it balance out? Aah, another nub… emotionally I will have done what my dreams have suggested…
Essential criteria: theory in action : throughout I have found myself reflecting on principles and ethics, and even beating myself up about it! The greatest testimony is that, even retrospectively, I am able to identify where the Design Cycle is replicated, especially within itself… if I could get really good graphic of this, I’d be using it all over place in this presentation! design practice : I use SADI mainly, because for me it’s also the learning cycle theory I really like, in action… I’ve learnt more about pattern language, future histories, options & decisions, data overlay and incremental design through this project, as well as applying principles (which I tend to do a lot, especially in ‘virtual’ designs) Complimentary criteria: Dissemination and Symmetry : although essentially a personal project, the use of the presentation as an example of an incremental design will add to the educational resources for BPT’s design course. Community building : I see this as the start of my involvement in an Amazing Permaculture community in France.. plenty of links past & present… included in this for me is the future work I intend to offer to local and Permaculture artisans, solar power, heating, building, etc. (See evaluation & costings below) earth fairshare people
Complimentary criteria: Evaluation and Costings Yields For me:-a sense of relief at having done this thing… the emotional yield is the most important, as it has felt that I have not ever had the courage to follow my ‘star’ before, and though the opportunity was granted by a loss - a natural cycle of life & death - the personal sense of satisfaction is immense. The fact that I can do it with an underpinning of the ‘costs’ both physical and economic in mind is down to the sense of awareness raised by the Permaculture design course… Economically it is also an investment for my future… prices have already risen 15% since my purchase in November 2003. Input costs Purchase costs :- £65k + £4k on notarial fees, survey, insurance, Travel & carbon costs - airfares range from £45 to £130 depending on carrier with carhire at about £100 per trip, depending on length and how many people. It’s about 1000km, so using www.chooseclimate.org website carbon calculator, the air-costs alone are the equivalent of about 50kg of fuel per person, with about 400kg carbon dioxide, equivalent to 1 60w lightbulb lit for a year, or as much carbon as a tree 4.5 m tall!…. Help!! (guilt, guilt?) Renovation & refurbishment : £10k available and the plan is to replace oil fired heating & water with solar power (320 days a year sun!) and to install a wood pellet furnace… costs for these have yet to be calculated. earth fairshare people