Permaculture Client Contact
1. Introduction to Permaculture Client Contact
One of the first questions we need to assess as Permaculture Designers is who are we designing for?
In the most general terms, we are producing designs for those we care about. That could just be yourself.
It could be your:
- your friends;
- strangers; or
- it could be an individual, a group of people or a company.
SometimesI t might not immediately be obvious who it is you are designing for and you will need to assess who the true client is.
The term “client(s)” is often used in permaculture design – the common feature is that they have a sense of ownership over a place or project, and the power to make a decision about its future. Listening to the client(s) is the first step.
Checklist for Information Gathering
(detail depends on who the client is)
Who is involved/ affected, their motivations, visions, desires – it’s important that everyone gets heard right at the beginning!
Diet, Routines – daily/ weekly/ annual, Use of space (especially design site),
Time, money, materials, skills, experience, physical ability, contacts
In relation to the design
Expectations – degree of detail, budget, timescale and deadlines
This part goes together with one or several site visits (ideally, at least once with the client – see Observation/ Site survey.
Legal situation – ownership, liabilities, boundaries, public access
Who uses the site, when and how?
Interaction with neighbors
Known and perceived problems and potentials
For non-site designs, similar questions need to be asked.
Finding out Client Information
An in-depth talk (or Interview) is often the best way to find information. This is best combined with a site visit.
Questionnaires can cut down time needed for interviews if handed over beforehand. They can also be filled in by people who are marginally involved. Questionnaires need to reflect case-specific conditions, and will be different for each design.
These methods can be combined, which often results in greater depth of information:
- Send or hand out the questionnaire
- Arrange time for an interview based on the questionnaire
- After the interview, consider if there are any follow-up questions.
Remember – communication is the key to mutual satisfaction!
2. Goals Articulation and Lifestyle