Relative location refers to how permaculture forms a relationship between the elements, to ensure all factors are used efficiently.
Relating to all elements, we have to ask specific questions to ensure all elements are used for the right purposes. "What needs of this element are supplied by other elements?" "Where does this element benefit other parts of the system?" "It's not water, or a chicken, or the tree. It's how the water, the chicken and the tree are connected." Mollison and Slay.
By focusing on the connection between things, and how they benefit each other, we can determine the optimum location for them.
Photo: Miia Sample on Flickr used under CC BY-SA 2.0.