Permaculture is an international grassroots network founded in Australia in the late 1970s that focuses on the sustainable design of human settlement. This decentralized and little institutionalized movement disseminates a distinct worldview, design system, and set of associated practices. Permaculture's central concept is that humanity can reduce or replace energy and pollution-intensive industrial technologies, especially in agriculture, through intensive use of biological resources and thoughtful, holistic, design, patterned after natural ecosystems. To create autonomous, resilient, and equitable living spaces permaculture proposes pragmatic methodological principles informed by scientific ecology, traditional indigenous knowledge, observation, and experimentation. In the design of farming systems, permaculturists promote complex multistrata polycultures involving perennial plants, crop-animal integration, high levels of habitat diversity, whole-landscape water management, and sustainable on-site energy production. Beyond scientifically-informed ecological design, permaculture encourages practitioners to develop emotional and subjective links with the earth, and develop their imagination and creativity as valuable parts of the design process. The originality and specificity of permaculture are discussed, along with critics, controversies and research perspectives.