Pattern language allows for dissemination of desirable patterns at nested scales. It allows users to incorporate curated elements and processes into a design. Pattern language can be used to create design systems of any kind. Here it is being used as operating system (OS) for specific applications.


pattern language OS

landscape level
site level
patch level




FoodPlaces is an innovative open-access online platform for planning productive landscapes in underutilized public and civic spaces funded through a USDA Forest Service grant.

FoodPlaces aims to make it ridiculously simple and perfectly acceptable for communities to grow food everywhere–as a new approach to land use in underutilized public and civic spaces. This is part of a larger strategy to grow regenerative human communities that can sustain themselves indefinitely within bioregions.

FoodPlaces demonstrates various design methodology innovations: 1) use of plant species patterns (forms) that open to use across any context; 2) filling spaces (user-defined horizons) entirely with productive,  perennial species while defining horizons that must remain empty to avoid conflict; 3) templates that simulate given generic conditions for a typology (patterns) of underutilized spaces in the public domain; 4) a Species Index, a detailed index containing plant profiles that allow the system to ascertain how well a form will fit its context – the site, as represented by the design template; 5) a process to define the specific context further; and, 6) a filtering process that narrows down the list of possible plant species.

FoodPlaces is a functioning prototype that offers several dynamic tools and resources and has the capacity to host an online community of practice.

Although it is functioning nicely, we determined that it needs considerable support and development to reach a sweet spot of potential.