Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.
Permaculture as a systematic method was developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications.
The word permaculture is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture, as well as permanent culture.
The intent is that, by rapidly training individuals in a core set of design principles, those individuals can design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that Mollison identified as fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems.
While originating as an agro-ecological design theory, permaculture has developed a large international following. This "permaculture community" continues to expand on the original ideas, integrating a range of ideas of alternative culture, through a network of publications, permaculture gardens, intentional communities, training programs, and internet forums. In this way, permaculture has become a form of architecture of nature and ecology as well as an informal institution of alternative social ideals.