Housing: Tackling homelessness one tiny house at a time

JUDY Clarke has always been interested in permaculture.

The meaning of the term has evolved since it was coined as a portmanteau of permanent agriculture in the 1970s.

Tasmanian Bill Mollison co-created the agricultural system with David Holmgren by drawing on indigenous cultures and traditional farming practices as well as new technologies, and it was underpinned by a basic philosophy to work with, not against nature.

While the original principles remain the same, those ideas have spread to areas such as design, architecture, engineering and — more recently — social housing.

“Permaculture stands for a self-sustaining system, but it also stands for permanent culture — how can we make our current culture more compassionate and sustainable,” Ms Clarke says, adding that she has been increasingly incorporating the philosophy into her day-to-day life.

And they were not hollow words. Earlier this year the recently retired maternal and child health nurse was reading online about Victoria’s “homelessness crisis”, as described by Premier Daniel Andrews, and she got thinking.

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