Activity 5.2: Random Assembly & Zone Mapping

Due December 1

This activity guides us through an examination of the relationships between elements you may be considering for your design site using the zone planning tool.

Part 1: Random Assembly Map

1. Take out the map you created in Activity 1.1: Make a Base Map of Your Site and a clean sheet of tracing paper.

2. Cut a blank piece of paper into several small pieces.


3. Brainstorm all the possible elements you could foresee including in a design for your site. Ignore potential limitations of time, energy, skills, finances and the like. Common examples of elements include: herb spiral, salad garden, medicinal garden, chicken coop, small pond, sauna, corn/beans/squash garden, orchard, raised beds or root vegetables.

4. Overlay the tracing paper on your base map and spend 15 to 20 minutes arranging elements on your map to come up with an initial design. Think about how they relate to the environment and each other.


5. Finalize this Random Assembly Map when you are satisfied with element placement.

Part 2: Random Assembly Map with Zones

1. Place another clean sheet of tracing paper over your base map and the initial element design. Try to locate and draw Zones 1 through 5 based on the assembly of your elements.

2. Take note and compare elements based on their distance from the home or Zone 1.

3. Now rearrange and cluster elements needing similar amounts of attention within the same zones.

Part 3: Zone Assessment Map

1. Remove the two layers of tracing paper and start anew with a fresh sheet of tracing paper.

2. If you are currently living, working or using the site in some way draw a zone map of the current site. This is strictly observation with no attempt to design or foresee future uses. This map will be the basis of a Zone Assessment Map you will make in the Practicum, the third class in this series. Save it.


Part 4: Zone Design Map

1. Start with a new sheet of tracing paper.


2. Try to draw a concept of how zones could look on your site. Ignore the elements used previoulsy. Just focus  on the space, your habits and travel patterns, and how you foresee “using” the site. Where would activity and traffic be everyday, even multiple times a day? That's your likely Zone 1. Where are you least likely to be all year? Zone 5. Distance, obstacles, slopes, dangers, unpleasant experience are all likely to reduce activity. Entries, roads, exits, pavement, cover from the elements, beauty, domestic animals, and play space are likely to attract activity.

3. Cover your completed zone sketch with another fresh piece of tracing paper.

4. Take your second set of elements (pieces of paper) and spend 15 to 20 minutes placing the elements in relationship to the zones before taping them down to finish your Zone Design Map. Consider each elements placement based on how often you will need to visit and interact with the element all year. For example, if you need to empty your kitchen compost bucket every other day the should you put in Zone 1, 2 or 3? With a rural or large site, Zone 3 may be too far away. In an urban or small site the difference between Zones 1, 2 and 3 may be a matter of just a few feet.

Part 5: Map Comparisons and Analysis

Place your maps together. Spread them across a table, floor or pinned to the wall

  • How did the design activities compare?
  • What differences emerged when you did one before the other?

Complete this assignment by posting a scan or photograph on this week's Student Forum: Mapping Elements and by submitting below. Consider the above questions as well when answering the questions posted on the forum page.