By Cameron Brown
Towns we live in today were set up in a fossil fuel world that will soon be a thing of the past.
Advancements in science and technology are allowing us to reimagine how towns are built, how they operate, and what purpose they can actually serve in a world with rapid population growth and climate change.
ReGenVillages is spearheading the forefront of this movement.
In collaboration with Stanford University’s Center for Design Research, ReGen is setting out to create a model that can be replicated around the world.
Right now they are designing and developing the first 25 pilot homes in Almere, Netherlands.
4 key aspects will make up the foundation of these communities.
Note: what follows is from a brief for GSDR2015 (Global Sustainable Development Report).
1. Renewable Energy
The renewable energy sources used will be chosen based on what makes the most sense in a particular region. Options include:
2. Vertical Farming
Soil-free aquaponic systems (fascinating!) will be implemented for high-yield organic food production. A community’s food will be grown in the community. These systems will:
- Use waste from fish in fish tanks to cultivate plants in water (hydroponically)
- Need 90% less water
- Increase yield of fruits and veggies by up to 1/3
- Produce farm raised fish
3. Water Management
Recycling and reuse of water wherever possible. From rainwater, to water that goes down the sink, to water that goes down the toilet, to water that’s used in the community aquaponic system.
Each house, fish tank, plant bed and energy source will have sensors recording data in real-time. Software will use the data to always be iterating for maximum efficiency throughout the entire ecosystem of the village.
ReGen’s village concept goes beyond futuristic environmental sustainability and takes into account the economic wellbeing of the community as well.
Their ultimate goal is for tech-integration to lead communities to have surplus energy, water, and organic food that can reduce mortgage payments for residents.
With all the movement from rural areas to cities that we have seen and will continue to see, can a model like ReGenVillages flip the script to make rural town life an even more attractive opportunity for us in the future?
Time will tell.
Act on Climate
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Cameron Brown is the co-creator of Cleantech Rising.