What is the “Minimum Holistic Goal” referred to in your design process?
The Minimum Holistic Goal (MHG) is the most fundamental vision of desired outcomes for a given project. An MHG is the lens through which all subsequent decisions regarding the design, implementation, establishment and management of a holistic system will be tested and evaluated. Put more simply, an MHG is the compass that will guide us to the desired outcome.
You can browse through the entire Minimum Holistic Goal setting process HERE.
What is the “Holistic Context” referred to in your design process?
A holistic context is a contextual understanding of the many factors that influence a particular site, person or project. Much like how we can deduce the meaning of a word based on the arrangement of words around it, develop a Holistic Context helps us understand the forces at work on a piece of land, on an individual, within a group, or in most cases, a mix of all three.
To tie this definition in with that of the MHG above, the Holistic Context is like all 360 degrees on a compass – the needle is influence by very single radian. We set an MHG based upon our understanding of the Holistic Context to help us navigate to a desired outcome.
Between developing a Minimum Holistic Goal and performing a Level 1 – Site Assessment an accurate picture of the many factors that influence design decisions – both visible and invisible – can be brought into an accessible and useful format, and thus create an incredibly powerful and useful tool for realizing desired outcomes.
Why does every Level 2 consultancy begin with developing a Minimum Holistic Goal and Holistic Context?
Every individual or group that we work with is unique. We, as designers, are tasked with helping you bring your vision to life in the landscape in a way that is simultaneously regenerative to the surrounding ecology while providing for your present and future needs. Spending time upfront, before diving into any large scale data collection, analysis or design work, to clarify the vision of what we are doing and why we are doing it will make the how of bringing it all into being vastly simpler, more efficient and enjoyable.
What is the difference between a Walk & Talk, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3?
Walk & Talk
Level 1 – Site Assessment
Level 2 – Whole Site Design
Level 3 – Implementation Planning & Oversight
A second opinion, a fresh perspective.
The “Owner’s Manual” for a piece of land.
“A place for everything and every thing in its place.”
Shovel-ready planning and implementation for specific elements.
7th Gen design team on-site with you for 3 hours focused on whatever you would like our input on. The more questions you have the better.
The “Owner’s Manual” for a piece of property – all of the site-specific information that is needed to inform good land development & management decisions moving forward. Provides an assessment of Existing Conditions and makes high-level recommendations for best next steps.
Whole Site Design that builds upon the Existing Conditions assessed in a Level 1. Selection, location, orientation and co-location of elements for redundancy of critical functions, high productivity, low maintenance, beauty and enjoyment.
Quoted on a per-element / system basis. We can plan it, oversee it, and do it. You can work alongside us or leave it to us, your call.
Summary of notes from the Walk & Talk, including links to additional worthy of further investigation.
1 day Site Visit. Site Assessment Report (~50-70 pages). Scale, hi-resolution photo basemaps of existing conditions with relevant call-outs. Virtual presentation of the report upon delivery.
Site Visit of 1-2 days. Whole Site Design Report (~120-160 pages). Scale, hi-resolution, photo basemaps with all design layers and relevant call-outs. Mid-cycle review of design map with you. Virtual or in-person/on-property presentation of final design report.
Site Visits as necessary per the project. Precise bill of materials. Labor estimates. Design maps as necessary. On-site / virtual oversight as necessary. Actual physical implementation of the element(s) if called for.
Observations and Recommendations categorized in the following manner: General, Site Context, Water, Access, Structures, Living Systems, Boundaries, Energy, Economy, and Community.
Site Assessment Report of existing conditions and high-level recommendations as they pertain to Water, Access, Structures, Living Systems, Boundaries, Energy, Economy, and Community. Basemap detailing existing conditions as listed above.
Everything from the L1 – Site Assessment + Whole Site Design Report with detailed design recommendations. Includes write-ups on each individual element – including what it is, why it was selected, where it should be located, and how it functions with other elements and within the larger design to realize the desired outcomes
Detailed cost projections, bill of materials, labor estimates. Handling of materials sourcing, acquisition, delivery. Step-by-step implementation plans. Oversight / interfacing with third parties. Doing the physical work (planting, construction, earth moving, irrigation etc).
Site Visit Required?
Almost always yes.
~ Time To Delivery
5 business days after site visit.
4 – 6 weeks
6 – 10 weeks
Variable, determined by the nature of the project.
If necessary / helpful.
Minimum Holistic Goal required?
No, but highly recommended.
No, but highly recommended.
$800 + travel
$3,000 ~ $4,500 + travel
$10,000 – $16,000 + travel *the cost of any previous Level 1 will be deducted from the total price for a Level 2
Why is a Level 2 – Whole Site Design more expensive than a Level 1- Site Assessment?
A Level 2 Whole Site Design picks up where the Level 1 Site Assessment leaves off, with a significant amount of total project hours (typically ~100-140) going into the Design portion of the process. Additional base map creation with all design elements also takes a significant amount of time. A Level 2 Whole Site Design is a holistic view of your entire property with your vision mapped onto it, along with the baseline information needed to get started implementing it.
Should you decide to begin with a Level 1 and later progress to a Level 2, the cost of the Level 1 will be deducted from the Level 2.
Our design approach is informed by the Keyline Scale of Permanence developed by P.A. Yeomans – or as we typically refer to it, the Scale of Impermanence. We start with the things that are relatively fixed (permanent) or expensive to change and progress towards those things that are quicker and less costly to change. In this way the broad patterns of place work to inform the actionable details of the systems implemented.
Holistic Context ⇒ Climate/Geography/History ⇒ Water ⇒ Access ⇒ Shelter & Structures ⇒ Living Systems ⇒ Boundaries ⇒ Energy ⇒ Economy ⇒ Community
How can I know I’ll be able to afford to install the finished design?
Part of the Holistic Context Development and Minimum Holistic Goal setting we do at the very beginning of any new consultancy explicitly covers the resources available to the project. This is critical for us to know up front, as the design recommendations we make will be tuned to the resources available or that can be obtained.
What conditions must be met in order for 7th Gen to help grow, construct or install a specific system on my property?
In order for 7th Generation Design to take on installation of specific elements or systems on your land, the element in question needs to;
Have a net-positive effect on the overall ecosystem health of the property and its surrounds,
Be integrated into a larger plan – a system of systems. We don’t do one-off installations and we don’t “fight fires” and we don’t put lipstick on pigs. If there is an underlying design flaw decreasing energy efficiency and resiliency, and increasing the cost of maintaining and operating the system, we will first need to address the root cause of that friction – generally this is done through some form of Whole Site Design, whether through us, another regenerative design outfit, or done yourself.
What kinds of subject matter are in 7th Gen’s teaching wheelhouse?
Generally anything you see written about here on the site, anything on our blog or within our portfolio of past projects. Any part of the Resilience Through Function Design curriculum is fair game, including the design process itself.