Sectors are the wild natural elements that need to be considered on our design sites. It is important to understand these elements so that you can take account of them and where possible gain maximum advantage or minimise any problems they cause when implementing our design.
Sectors can be mapped, for design purposes, as an overlay on our base map, to see where they affect the site. This will greatly assist us to manage the incoming energies with the best design strategies.
These wild elements might include, the Wind, solar aspect, fire danger, frost, slope, security, migration routes, noise, immovable objects.
It is usual for these sectors to have a predominant direction and/or and season.
SOLAR ASPECT Recognising the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year is a key design criterion. There is a difference between the position of the summer and winter sun. The summer sun rises much earlier in the day, rises higher in the sky and set later in the evening. giving us a much longer day and shorter night it also sets later than other months and south of West. In winter the opposite is true, the days are much shorter and nights much longer with the sun only reaching a lower level in the sky creating longer shadows. North facing slopes, in the southern hemisphere, will be exposed to much more concentrated sunshine than a southern facing slope. impact far more energy onto the land, this is a very important consideration in choosing the plants for your design and the positioning of any buildings.
For the Cape town area.
Summer sun sector: In the middle of summer the sun rises to its zenith of 76.5 degrees, giving a 14 hr 15 day.
Winter sun sector: The sun rises to 32.6 degrees on the shortest day which is 9 hr 44 mins long
The average sun angle is 55.6 @ midday
Winds change direction according to the season both in direction and intensity. Hot summer winds, cooling summer winds, warm or Cold winter winds are important things that you will need to consider in laying out your design.
Fire danger is definitely a consideration in drier hotter climates, especially prevalent in the Cape Town area. Fire breaks, species selection and water features are examples of design implementations that can be added to help protect your site.
Water will always flow at right angles to contour. The steeper the slope, the faster the water will flow making this a very important factor in your design. there are other issues that may need consideration: seasonal river patterns, flooding, floodplains and seasonal wetlands – An analysis of the catchment of the local water basin might be a good idea.
Roads and commonly taken routes can bring noise and air pollution problems, as well as being corridors along which criminal elements can move. Take a note from which direction noise travels into your site, or if there is a particular place which poses a security threat. Often we can design to block out noise and pollution like dust from unpaved roads, as well as to diminish the risk of theft and trespassing.
There may be features on your site that may need to be designed around, large rocks or rocky outcrops, challenging soil and wetlands are all elements that should be considered for your sectors. A long look should be taken at these to see how they might be used for any benefits they might be able to bring.
You may want to position property to either take advantage of views or hide them. this is clearly also an important factor in how certain parts of your design might be influenced
Wind animals might be an important element you need to design for. Here at the PRCCT, we have to contend with baboons, porcupines and mole-rats. I have to keep trying to reminding myself regularly of Bill Mollison's principle 'The problem is the solution' I have to wonder, however, if Bill ever had to deal with three troops of highly destructive baboons!