Permaculture and Digital Interaction

Dr Mike Hazas

On the 1st September 2016 Edinburgh Napier University’s Callum Egan and Prof. David Benyon hosted a workshop sponsored by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) and the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction United Kingdom (SIGCHI UK) titled: Sustainability in Human-Computer Interaction: Insights from Permaculture.


Dr. Mike Hazas (Lancaster University) delivered a keynote on “Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction: Current approaches and future directions”, that included startling figures on the energy demands of digital technology. Following this keynote Graham Bell (author, teacher, gardener, agent for change) discussed “Work less, waste nothing, share abundance. – an overview of the permaculture design perspective.


In between the keynotes Dr. Nick Taylor (University of Dundee) informed on the GROW Observatory – a citizens' observatory for family farmers, gardeners and growers funded by the EC Horizon 2020 program (visit to get involved), and Prof. Shaun Lawson (University of Northumbria) reflected on doing an art-digital tech show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show (his team won a Gold Medal in 2013!).

Dr Nick Taylor

Participants contributed enthusiastically to the workshop throughout, and after lunch brainstormed what a permaculture garden supplemented with appropriate digital technology might be like.


There was talk of a modular, mobile permaculture garden that could travel around the country; pop-up permaculture gardens; community technology; gardening as research; augmented-reality gardens, the internet of fungi; presence in gardens; technology-powered by plants; and the blend of digital and real-world permaculture.


Organisers of the event from Edinburgh Napier University hope to develop a computationally enhanced garden in the Edinburgh area that provides a reflective and engaging blended space (a mixed media place) for learning about permaculture and sustainable systems design.

If you’d like to get involved with the development of this regenerative blended space please contact Callum Egan.