I have been thinking about to apply permaculture in its various forms in the urban environment. Is there any merit in the idea of applying Holistic Managment principles to design for the urban environment? Could holistic managment concepts be applied to greening urban food deserts? I think master planning for large cities.
No, holistic management concepts could not apply. However the holistic framework most certainly could and will eventually have to be used if we are ever to work out how to sustain cities. All management in the end will need to be holistic. Period. We cannot continue with the reductionist management of the past thousands of years if we are to avert disaster on a scale never before experienced. I hope you catch what I am saying because so many people try to use a holistic approach or use holistic concepts and I have yet to see that ever work if looked into closely. I guess it would be like taking a pregnant approach, or trying to be a little bit pregnant. Just does not work.
Fortunately people working on ideas like eco-cities and working with new thinking in global finance and economies, etc are increasingly beginning to collaborate with us and hopefully with increasing collaboration we will begin working out solutions. None of us has answers and least of all myself. All we have, and it is encouraging, is a framework that is now empowering people to work out answers mostly using the amazing amount of knowledge already available.
I hope you will read through other responses I have given to get a better feel for what managing holistically means. What we had not known till recently was that management in all situations throughout history in all ages and cultures had a common underlying very simple framework. It was that underlying framework, and not any other factor or lack of knowledge skill or motivation, that led to our historical ever mounting problems today hitting us one after another and culminating in climate change as far as we can see. Now with the modifications to our present underlying universal framework, that are embodied in the holistic framework, we are seeing encouraging results wherever people actually use the holistic framework. Gradually understanding of this is creeping into public awareness but it has been a long slow process.
Jen to respond to you also. No need to scale holistic management down at all. Being a decision making process and grazing planning process if livestock are involved, as I explained in several other responses you cannot scale those down. I and others no doubt familiar with the holistic framework use it in my home and daily life.
Recently our staff in Africa were all set to grade our roads as the quickest, cheapest most practical way of improving our very bad access road. Normally this would have gone ahead as everyone does it and it seems commonsense. When I had staff put that possible action into a context beyond addressing the problem of the bad access road - in other words in a holistic - context things changed. They then could understand it was totally the wrong thing to do and now the road is being done by hand. This because it is socially, environmentally and economically both short and long term the right thing to do for us, our community and our land. And that is pretty small scale but big impact as they are learning.