Here are the basic concepts of Hedgerow Design:
The Hedgerow Landscape Code
This is the minimum set of guidelines that will ensure a beautiful landscape. A landscape may be any combination of land and buildings, from wilderness to mega-city.
The secret to a picturesque landscape is to take a few simple, attractive elements and to repeat them in infinitely varying combinations, according to local needs and conditions. This is true both of land and buildings.
In essence, the Hedgerow Landscape Code combines small-scale organic farming with traditional housing and people-friendly layouts. Most of the guidelines to housing and layout are defined by Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language.
This is landscape that conforms to the Landscape Code. When applied to land, it is the archetypal “unspoiled countryside”. When applied to buildings and urban/suburban landscapes, it is human-scale attractive houses, villages, towns, and cities.
For example, in England, Hedgerow Landscape might be a patchwork of hedgerow-lined fields with stone or brick houses. In Botswana, Hedgerow Landscape might be open wooded savannah together with rondavel-style villages and kraals.
Since it needs no chemicals, irrigation or elaborate farm equipment, the land in a Hedgerow Landscape is inexpensive to create and inexpensive to maintain.
The Hedgerow Association is the basic tool for making Hedgerow Landscape. Hedgerow Associations can be combined into larger and larger groups. In principal, an entire country could be covered with Hedgerow Associations.
A Hedgerow Association is any entity which agrees to maintain its buildings and lands according to the Hedgerow Landscape Code. A Hedgerow Association may be any size, purpose, price point and legal structure – as long as its buildings and land and layout conform to the guidelines of the Hedgerow Landscape Code. It could be a housing development, a school, a factory, a town, a hotel, etc.
Other Key Concepts
Everyone should live in a place so beautiful it could be a tourist destination.
A large part of the global tourist trade consists of people paying to visit beautiful areas, such as Tuscany, and see “unspoiled countryside” and quaint traditional villages and cities. The Hedgerow view is that all landscapes and cityscapes should be “unspoiled” and every village, town and city should be a pleasure to live in.
Food and other products should not only be “organic”, but should come from lovely places that would be fun to visit.
The Hedgerow brand means that the product comes from a Hedgerow Association – that is, somewhere that is truly nice, not just “pretend nice” for marketing purposes.
Many high-end “traditional” luxury branded foods, wines, soaps, clothing, etc. are marketed to evoke the nostalgic recollections of a byegone era, but are actually produced in very unappealing surroundings. The same is true of much large-scale “organic” food.
Own your view.
Your view improves over time. Since each Hedgerow Association owns its surrounding land, and since this land conforms to the Hedgerow Landscape Code, residents enjoy a view that improves over time.
Pay farmers for their aesthetic and environmental contributions.
Hedgerow Associations pay farmers for their landscape maintainance work for the Association. This payment supplements the farmer’s other income (depending on the setup of the individual Hedgerow Association). This is, in effect, paying the farmers for the economic, aesthetic and environmental value they create. Currently, a traditional small farmer creates a landscape (his farm) that is pleasing to the eye, but for which he does not get paid. Many people benefit from the beauty he creates: neighbouring houses enjoy “unspoiled views” over his land, tourists and visitors enjoy the attractive landscape of the region, and the farm creates an oasis of biodiversity. Meanwhile, the pressures of globalization, regulation and the modern economy make it harder and harder for the small farmer to make a living, eventually either forcing him out of business or forcing him to stop farming in a traditional manner and introduce modern techniques, which destroy the landscape (large fields, removing hedges and woodlands, using polluting chemicals, etc.) Hedgerow Associations recognize the currently unpaid value provided by small farmers and provide a simple structure whereby the largest beneficiaries of this value can pay for it.
Thus, the Hedgerow Association “captures” the value created by farmers and integrates this value into the Association.
Beautiful landscape can be cheap
Hedgerow Associations can be formed at any price – from low budget to luxury. For example, we could have very low-cost Hedgerow Association of simple small wooden houses clustered around a village square, among gardens and tree-lined streets, with a café and a shop and a covered market. The village is surrounded by orchards, woods, pastures, vegetable gardens, farms. This would be a beautiful place to live, work and play. And it would be cheap.