Are self-sustaining eco-communities the future?

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There is no longer any doubt left that finding more sustainable ways to live are crucial to ensure the continued survival of our planet. And that is exactly what the ReGen Village project aims to achieve. It will consist of several eco-villages, which will be built to be completely self-sustaining from the ground up. The first of these villages will be developed in Almere, Holland.

While there are a number of communities around the world, which are already partially self-sustaining, such as offering organic food production for the population, or being powered exclusively by solar energy. However, the ReGen Village goes a step further in that they aim to become completely self-sustaining. The people behind it have outlined five “pillars” on which the community will be built. These are: the building of energy-positive homes, mixed renewable energy and storage, water and waste recycling, doorstep high-yield organic food production, and empowerment of local communities. The name ReGen comes from the word “regenerative,” and stands for their intention of creating a community in which all the outputs of one system will be used as the inputs of another.

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ReGen Villages will be built in collaboration with the Danish architectural firm EFFEKT and each will cover an area of about 166,300 sq ft (15,450 sq m). The villages will primarily be financed by wealth funds that are looking to minimize their fossil fuel investments and instead transfer their money into impact and knowledge-based investments. This money will be used to first purchase suitable areas of land, and then build the villages.

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The pilot community in Almere will consist of 100 homes and development will start in late 2016. The green technologies incorporated into the villages will be renewable energy generation, energy storage, vertical farming aquaponics and aeroponics, as well as water management and waste-to-resource systems. All the food will also be grown and produced organically, while they also aim to maintain a high biodiversity in the surrounding area of each village.

They also plan to build other such villages in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. It’s certainly a great idea and it will be interesting to see how well the pilot ReGen Village will perform once it is built and populated. That should also help answer the question of whether communities such as these are the first wave of the future.