Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
posted 5 years ago
Do you know any more of the specifics about the design? What made him decide to put the city center at what appears to be the top of the elevation or water flow? Will the city get enough water in that location or will some of it be piped back up from further down in the elevation? Did he leave the natural area at the bottom of the flow / elevation for those large 100 year events, to protect the people from building in that sort of flood zone?
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb
You all will have access to such bountiful apple scion wood! How can Westerners become more involved?
posted 5 years ago
Miles Flansburg wrote:can you tell me more about this project? Is it desert or mountains or what? Does it have rivers and streams to supply the water?
I'll admit I don't know as much about this project as I'd like to, but I'm happy to share what I do.
It is in the a valley in Kazakhstan, surrounded by mountains. Cold climate, long winters, from what I understand it is a very analogous climate to Montana. For this project there is some surface flow, but the majority of the water is hidden subsurface flow, indicative of a degraded watershed. I would imagine 5,000' to 7,000' elevation, but I'm not positive.
One thing that Sepp said in Montana that surprised me was how he knew this landscape was man made desert, as opposed to a natural desert. He said that without the mountains, and with the limited rainfall, it may make sense for the landscape to look like it does. But with the mountains there, there is more water in the mountains give us more water than we could ever use. That the valleys are so sparse, this is due to management, not the natural conditions.
Later I learned that 2/3 of the entire Gallatin Valley used to be wetlands. The Native American tribes in the area all claim the valley as a sacred grounds, and it is home to a pre-contact site in the Madison Buffalo Jump. It used to be known as the valley of flowers where natives would travel from all over Montana to collect medicines that were unique to the valley. This is what the Gallatin Valley looks like today:
This is very similar looking overhead, and analogous landscape to Sepp's project in Kazakhstan.
Jen Shrock wrote:What made him decide to put the city center at what appears to be the top of the elevation or water flow? Will the city get enough water in that location or will some of it be piped back up from further down in the elevation? Did he leave the natural area at the bottom of the flow / elevation for those large 100 year events, to protect the people from building in that sort of flood zone?
I think your spot on with the city center at the top of the property. Ridges and high points are great places for structures, having the community center towards the top would provide flooding security as well as the most stable building conditions. With the amount of water moving through and being stored in this landscape there should always be plenty of water. He always plans for the most catastrophic rainfall events, so the landscapes he creates are sure to last for generations.
Jonathan Frame wrote:How can Westerners become more involved?
My understanding is that he is working for the Government in Kazakhstan, unfortunately I don't know of any way for westerner's to get involved.
Fascinating project. Interesting use of the current terrain to join waterways. Have to admit curiosity how much earth moving he will need when I look at the original contours and try to match them to the ultimate plan. If I understand the layout, it would seem the main waterways will be fairly minimal, with large space for water retention and flood control, so I imagine in dry times it would be like many wetlands. At a grade of 1:2000, the water flow would be pretty slow (much like the flow through a swamp), so I am guessing the edges will have loads of vegetation and the life that follows. One thing I am not clear about, why the 3m berms on the borders? Is there a wind related reason like Sepp often uses or just for limiting noise / access or something else entirely?
posted 5 years ago
Mike, your pretty spot on with your analysis. The 3m berms help with the severe winds that the region receives. It also provides more surface area of growing space and drier micro climates for the plants that need it. With this kind of action your really cleaning out a lot of the erosion that has happened because of poor land use, widening the water ways leaving areas for retention. So this sediment is used as giant growing beds, providing wind protection and a wide variety of micro-climates.
Do you know anything about local building traditions in the region - is there a Kazakh form of natural building?
Active natural builders, either traditional or revival?
Are there permaculture communities and practitioners already on the ground, or is this a top-down initiative to try it out and spark a cultural shift?