Hmmm, Zones then sound like a clear strategy for the placement of all the required elements of a permaculture system. These elements will then produce:
Links, Connections and Patterns.
Also key to the permacultural design model is the idea that useful connections are made between components in the final design. The formal analogy for this is a natural mature ecosystem. So, in much the same way as there are useful connections between the Sun, plants, insects and soil there will be useful connections between different plants and their relationship to the landscape and humans. A useful connection is viewed as one that maximizes power: that is, maximizes the rate of useful energy transformation. A comparison which illustrates this is a mono-cropped wheat field versus forest, the wheat field having few connections and the forest having many.
The effective use of natural patterns and reusable patterns from other permaculture sites is often key to permaculture design. This echos the pattern language of Christopher Alexander used in architecture which has been an inspiration for many permaculture designers.