Monday, 26 January 2009

Morphological Analysis

After we had collected a list of around 10 potential community projects of KEV, I wrote into my notebook the question: How to integrate different projects without going crazy? We probably all were a bit intimidated by the complexity of the task. But with the guidance of Norman we went through all the 9 permaculture design principles from the second day and eventually came up with a satisfying result after a few battles with papers and pens. As a former Software Engineer I thought there must be a method to avoid the paper-pen-battles and so I did some research. I remembered a method which we once used in a very complex project. It was called Morphological Box. I googled for it and found the Swedish Morphological Society which had done a lot of research on Morphological Analysis and even developed a Computer Program to support the method. On their site you can find a tutorial about the method and how to apply it. You will also find that the name is derived from "morphe", which is - surprise, surprise - greek and means form. The method was developed by Fritz Zwicky, a swiss-american astrophysicist.

"... within the final and true world image everything is related to everything, and nothing can be discarded a priori as being unimportant." (Fritz Zwicky: Discovery, Invention, Research through the Morphological Approach, 1969.)

"Morphological analysis is simply an ordered way of looking at things." (Fritz Zwicky: "Morphological Astronomy", The Observatory. Vol. 68, No. 845, Aug. 1948.)

Doesn't this sound like a permacultural view?

I wrote this posting because Norman reminded us several times how useful it would be to have a Softwaretool for Permaculture Design. Maybe Morphological Analysis could be a start.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    My name is Leanne and I'm doing work with ecosystem services for The Nature Conservancy. I've been thinking about ways to develop solutions for how to solve really complex ecosystem problems, and I also started thinking about Morphological Analysis, which led me to the Swedish Morphological Society's website and those Morpho Boxes that they use. I literally just started researching into MA and your blog popped up on my google search. Have you applied it any more to permaculture? Did it seem like it brought about solutions/could be adapted to other environmental management issues? What questions seemed to be good questions to ask/what was successful? I'm just trying to learn more information! Thanks so much and keep up the great work in Bali.