ReGen Villages: The future of self-sustained communities

ReGen Villages: The future of self-sustained communities

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

The town of Almere, a small village 20-minutes away by train from Amsterdam, is getting a taste of the future. California-based developer, ReGen Villages, has partnered with Danish Architecture studio Effekt to materialize a project that could change the landscape of suburban housing forever. The small Dutch village will be the first self-sustained, regenerative community of several to come worldwide.

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

What are ReGen Villages?

“ReGen stands for regenerative, where the outputs of one system are the inputs of another” explains Effekt in their project website. The whole concept, which stems from a holistic approach to housing, combines existing technologies to create a closed loop in which one system feeds the next one, and that one feeds another one, and so on.

Energy positive homes, renewable energies, energy storage, vertical farming, aquaponics and aeroponics as well as water management and waste-to-resource systems will all be in place and working for the same cause: a self-reliant shared eco-system that can reduce the burdens that our current constructive model has on the environment, as well as on local governments.

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

Why are ReGen Villages necessary?

Here are some statistics for you to acknowledge before you continue asking yourself this question.

• By 2050 nearly 10-billion people will live on earth. The urgent need for a shift in community developments is real. Water, healthy food sources and scarce arable land are already some of the pressing global issues that our society is currently facing.

• 42% of the world land is being used for farmland ( that ‘s the size of South America and Africa together). Farming is the most powerful driver of deforestation and loss of biodiversity, as well as the major consumer ( with over 70%) of global water resources.

• Although 33% of worldwide food produced goes to waste, 1 in 7 people still suffer from hunger.

• On average, 33% of our income is spent on household consumption: rent, energy, heating, water, food.

• These same needs make up 66% of our environmental impact.

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

How can ReGen Villages help solve these issues?

The main difference between a normal home, and a ReGen Village home, is that the former one requires us to work for it, while the latter one inverts the process. The home produces abundance of clean energy, fresh food and water for our everyday consumption.

Because the different technologies already exist, it’s just a matter of applying them all to one same space. Creating a model for local community-based farming and habitation ensures supply and sustainability on site. Homes and communities that produce their own energy, use their own water, grow their own food and manage their own waste.

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

By using aquaponic farming systems, the amount of land required for the same amount of produce can be reduced by 98%. The reduction of water consumption is around 90%. The Yield of aquaponics is also staggeringly higher than its traditional counterpart, creating a tenfold increase in production compared to terrestrial farming in the exact same footprint. Growing your food on the spot enables farm-to-table solutions, eliminating (or reducing) transportation, as well as the release of CO2, Nitrogen and Phosphorus into our environment.

ReGen Villages-1-2

What does a ReGen Village look like?

The plans that have been made public by Effekt show a circular community in which the homes surround the food and energy production areas, as well as the main water and waste management infrastructures. Common areas, and general infrastructures such as roadways will be built connecting the insides of the circle.

Among the main infrastructures, the ReGen Villages will count with a Smart Grid, A Waste Treatment plant, Livestock and Fish areas, Soldier Flies area, Water Storage and Grey Water treatment plants, as well as a biogas plant and an Electric Car Spot. An Aquaponic and a seasonal garden are also part of the plans. Each segment will live off, and power another one, creating a regenerative and closed circuit. It is a fully self-sustainable community in all aspects.

 

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

As for the housing, Effekt has also released eight different housing typologies depending on the needs of each family. From 80m2 to 140m2 homes, they will all include their own greenhouse for food production, water collection and temperature regulation.

The first ReGen pilot Village is already set for construction this year and will be done by 2017. 25 homes will be built starting this summer in the Dutch village.

With the first pilot ReGen Village in place in Netherlands, other projects are being prepared for the USA, Germany, Sweden and Norway. The plans contemplate a future move to arid and warm weathers such as those found in the Middle East. This strategy tries to tackle solutions for the warmest and coldest weathers, therefore opening the scope to any possible areas in the world in which the temperature and overall weather lies in between.

regen villages
Image Source: © Effekt

Join the conversation on ReGen Villages:

What is your opinion on ReGen Villages? What benefits do you think this solution could create in your hometown? How about the difficulties it would encounter?

Diego
Diego
Founder of Offcyclers + Overall Sustainable Design geek. When Diego isn't scouting for the most incredible Sustainable Design & Art, he is probably trotting the globe, photographing or filming any story he thinks needs to be told.

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