So having looked at the functionality of different patterns, how might we go about using this knowledge to design truly sustainable ways of living? Well, looking at both excellent and poor examples of pattern application should help illustrate the idea.
In wastewater treatment systems, we have long used beds of gravel to help clean up our sewage. Collectively, the many particles of gravel have a lot of surface area on which the active bacteria live. This is an application of the successful ‘lobe’ pattern, which we find being applied in our colon, where the collective surface area of the ‘friendly’ bacteria makes digestion most efficient.
An adaptation of this system involves planting in addition, some heavy feeding plants into the gravel beds. These plants take up the fertile wastes of the bacteria and turn it into plant matter (or biomass). This can then be cut and made use of in any number of ways, including use as fuel or a mulch. The combination of gravel and reeds for instance, makes for a very efficient system.