Invitation to participate in the planning of a solar village, a call to architects and urban planners by Franz Nahrada
this goes in particular to some architects and planners, but also to the
Global Villages list in General because I hope we do not leave anybody out
who might be interested.
In a nutshell, this is about the attempt to opensource a whole village
design process and constitute a learning example for communities around
the world. Very basic questions will be asked, and although local
circumstances and the structure of participants are very special, there
are lessons to be learned for similar endavours around the world.
So what is it? As most of you know, there is a 30 acre site in Missouri, a
one hour drive away from Kansas City, called the Factor E Farm. This site
was established by Marcin Jakubowski and friends about three years ago to
host a research and development center for the development of a set of
technologies they originally called the "Global Village Construction Kit".
These technologies aim at enabling people to live in circumstances of
greater freedom and independence, by simply enabling them to maintain the
basic infrstructures of life in a locality themselves as a group,
community or local society.
We have seen several experiments witch communities and ecovillages around
the world from New Alchemy, the Farm, Findhorn to Arcosanti, we have seen
legendary places that often fall short behind their aspirations but have
been influental inspiring nevertheless. What is special about this
endavour in Missouri is that it is totally designed around the new
possibilities of the internet and global communication. The idea is that
all technology involved should be understandeable and replicable,
according to climates and circumstances, in most areas of the world. The
resonating power of many communities should enhance the knowledge and
abilities of each single one. In one word: the bottomline is Open Source.
In the course of the presentation of this approach in Austria, it was the
agreed purpose of Marcin, the founder, and me, the networker, to overcome
some limitations that so far plagued the project. The prime goal is to
make the project as a whole more comprehensible for outsiders so they can
pitch in with their qualifications and do part of the work - simply
because there is no better place in the world you can invest your work
into. No pension fund and no monetary compensation can create the security
and perspective that a fully developed Global Villages infrastructure can
give us and the rest of the world.
Now we want to go right to the heart of the matter and involve you, the
We think there is a lot to be learned from an Open Source planning
process. We think there will be always advantages to engage a
knowledgeable person in one phase of a project to come up with a good
solution to a complex set of questions, draw on experience and deep
embedded intuitional knowledge formed by years and decades of studies. But
we also think that on the other side, Users should be knowledgeable too
and take active poart in the design process. In fact that makes your work
much easier and makes the result less prone to mistakes and the curse of
You have to think of many things when you start to build the first house,
and that is exactly where we are at.
As a side result to Marcins trip to Austria several new people volunteered
to participate from afar or locally on the project, among them is Inga, a
translator by profession, who will move from Austria to Facrtor_e_Farm and
wants to catalyze both the emergence of the planned solar village and the
liveability of the structures. So "Inga's house" is the centerpoint here,
but this comes with the necessity to build a good masterplan for the whole
village and consider many questions to be answered correctly.
Thats where you come in. Please respond to Ingas ongoing design
and the basic discussions
Please inform yourself about the general idea of a solar village by
considering the following pages:
Here is a sitemap:
The location of the village is in the Western Area of the farm, which is
supposed to be a living, gardening and demonstration area.
The idea is that about 30 people will eventually living and working at
the farm, with a flexible scheme that also holds families.
Basic assumptions are outlined here:
Factual information is collected here
and a caveat:
"We have not mastered our living environment to date. As such, we hope
that a high-production (3000 brick per day) CEB machine, and a sawmill,
combined with stabilized brick floors and central hydronic hybrid heating
- will allow us to demonstrate that we can build comfortable housing
readily with almost all local materials. We have not succeeded at this
with the earthbag and cordwood structures - because of the large time
requirements for building and finishing irregular, round structures. We
still aim to put in stabilized CEB floors in these structures, and finish
stuccoing at some point - but that is a priority secondary to the above
goals and our skill base will evolve with this year�s experiences."
Weblog post on the solar village, http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/?p=632
So what is needed?
Answers, and in this phase both practical answers and visionary answers,
to the following questions:
* What could be the overall design of the village, expandeable and
modular? How would a public space or village square be placed?
* Keeping in mind that this place has a definite goal and is more than
hust a regular living and housing comunity, how could a certain degree of
co-ownership and common responsibility be established? (Covenant)
* How can local resources and systems be integrated?
* Good ideas for methods, procedures, functionality, aesthetics? Bring in
what you know best!! Even if its a small detail!
Please be as subjective as you like and add ideas for the house baised on
the constraints outlined above, and write a letter to Inga and Dustin:
Dustin Tusnovics volunteered to guide the communication professionally.
Ingas mail is: Inga von Boehm-Bezing
Dustins mail is: "dustin a. tusnovics"
Ideally, your letter should become the core of your Wiki page.
There will be regular team meetings on Skype. Ingas Skype Handle is
ingeburg66 and Dustins is dustin.tusnovics
I will observe the process but not actively take part in it unless
All the best