Aspirations, Features and Structure
What is an Eco-Village?
An Ecovillage is an intentional community consciously designed by its inhabitants, in which people consciously value what they have and integrate this with innovative technologies to make their lives more sustainable, and the whole process is owned by the people living there. The aim is to regenerate social and natural environments. In this view, achieving sustainability is not enough; it is vital also to regenerate the social and environmental fabric of life, and across all four dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, economic and cultural.(Kosha Joubert, President of the Global Ecovillage Network
What is Cambridge Living Future Community (CLFC)
CLFC is conceived as an informal and harmonious eco-village which is open to all who share, or have an interest in, our values.
Our vision is of beautiful shared spaces and places to live, work and play that benefit the wider community and environment as well as residents, guided by the principles of Earth care, People care and Fair share.
The project is designed to be a model for future eco-villages to replicate, and improve upon, considering humans as an intrinsic part of the ecosystem, and the land to be stewarded for future generations.
Our Aim is to create a neighbourhood that generates Sustainability: through shared resources: green travel, work, options, integrated food growing, green energy systems and facilities and a closed energy loop – with a goal of resources/waste recycled on site, or shared/traded with the wider community.
Community: creating a neighbourhood with mutual support, good social life, having fun, a safe setting, common ownership and values.
Affordability: house prices linked to build (Real) costs and not market value, with build costs and home prices kept to a minimum by use of appropriate technology local sustainable materials, and voluntary human resource. Shared facilities will mean individual homes can be smaller, and mutual support will cut both building and living costs
Mutual Home Ownership (MHO) can provide one of the viable options for our Community to own homes and the residents would become the leaseholders, who can have the right to occupy.
Whilst the scale and facilities would be tailored to the specific site, the target features which we desire are:
Between 20-80 low carbon homes (dependent on funding and availability of Land) with integrated food growing, water ecological treatment (WET) systems (or reed beds), coppice biomass fuels, forest garden, renewable energy systems, wildlife areas. There is also intent to have a community hub and Complementary Health Clinic (incorporated in the hub) that will also serve as an education and training centre, a venue for home working, laundry, community dining area and guest accommodation.
Three basic tenets of permaculture are Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. This project, which we are trying to design along permaculture principles, aims to follow these three
tenets. (Permaculture is a design system for sustainable human society for further details pl. see Appendix)
What could this mean in practice?
- Low energy buildings constructed with local, natural materials and a target to generate more energy from renewable sources than is used by residents
- Compost toilets
- Grey water treatment on site
- Green travel options
- Sustainable horticulture, orchards, Forest gardens, Aquaponics
- A site layout that enhances biodiversity all help to look after the Earth.
Of course these desirable features become contingent on suitable land availability, members support and funding streams.
Affordable homes, low energy costs, access to growing space and a supportive community in a beautiful environment are all conducive to good people care. Add the community hub that aims to become an important centre of training and education extends way beyond the boundaries of the village.
Addressing the current needs in society
We aim to build homes and buildings which are an asset to the community. The homes will be:
• Beautiful to look at
• Low cost
• Low Maintenance
• Resource efficient
• Energy efficient
What Activities, Business and Work can be accomplished in CLFC
Mental and Physical Health
Our holistic approach to health including physical, mental and emotional factors, and connection with each other and nature through our shared resources could provide a novel example of healthy living, and an opportunity for others to visit and participate in training.
Our therapies would offer nutritional counselling as well as complementary health solutions. Counselling, Life Coaching and complementary healing therapies and life skills will be an essential part of what the village can offer.
Possible Projects within the community
Businesses will depend on the skills and interest of members.
The following skills already have members with expertise to get off the ground from start-up:
Well-being, Therapy and Complementary Health care provision
Counselling, hypnotherapy, massage, kinesiology, cranio-sacral therapy, osteopathy, life coaching, yoga, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, reflexology, aromatherapy, homeopathy, chiropractic, Functional Medicine, transpersonal therapy, meditation, coaching, mind-body therapy all which are already provided by two member of our team (ref: www.thetherapyroom.com)
- Self-development (meditation,mind body therapy, personal growth, anger management, relationship building, communication, parenting, anger management, etc.)
- Complementary Healing modalities – transpersonal therapy, meditation, coaching.
- Eco-awareness (sustainable building methods, waste management, bio-diversity, food production, self sufficiency)
Bookstore, second hand shop, recycling – the possibilities are endless for those who are willing to follow their dream, and teach what they know to others.
￼￼Other Community Projects
- Food Co-operative
- Environmental Training, water resource recycling, waste management,
- Providing community, training, opportunities for adults with learning disabilities
- Home schooling network and Childcare
- Care of elderly within communit
A proposed structure for the eco-village community is Co-housing CLT , paid for by the community residents by means of money, sweat equity (to be defined), with an allocation for those who qualify for benefits. This could get financed by sponsorship, grant funding and / or Individual / Community mortgage dependent on preferences.
(A broad definition of CLT can be found at http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/home Mutual Home Ownership’s A practical example is LILAC co-housing in Leeds – http://www.lilac.coop/ )
It is proposed that it will be a self managed community, independently governed by the people who live there.
Legal structures that may be appropriate are a mutual benefit society (MBS) or an industrial providence society (IPS), with an MBS having the benefit of a zero tax status. In many cases the legal structure is that of Charitable company, which needs some further deliberations in consultation with our supporters and partners.
Possible economic models
- Common Facilities wholly owned by The CLFC and managed by elected board
- Rent and utilities paid to CLFC (possibly an entrepreneur who does not live in CLFC but utilises the premises)
- Members who live in The Village but work outside the community pay rent and utilities to CLFC.
Our community is open to all. Members who live in CLFC and join the community will be invited by the core Founding Members in consultation with the wider membership on a consensus basis
The initial set up costs will be high. We envisage applying for some Pre-Feasibility Grant funding, Sponsorship and/ or Crowd Funding to get off the ground.
We cannot place a budget on finances until we have an idea of the property we may be granted by the local council, and the availability or size of property.
The largest investment is land.
Options are to get the Land Free or almost free of cost.
Purchase the land through Grants such as HCA, Charitable Institutions or via Community Shares. Lease the land on a long term leasehold.
Investment required for buildings. Any existing buildings will be an added advantage. Sponsorship for various forms of sustainable building materials and methods would be sought.
Investment required for income-generating activities: tea garden, art and craft centre, commercial outlets, administrative costs.
CLFC would be managed by its members who live in the homes it owns. An elected Board of Directors would manage the day to day running of the Eco-village within the remit set by members in general meeting.
The decision making process is democratic and based on consensus. Ample care has been taken to understand the ‘show-stoppers’ of the initial membership and therefore any foreseeable ‘strong’ differences are rules out. However if there are any major blocks would gets addressed by way of ‘Mediation’.
There are skilled mediator in the core group, however if needed third party Mediators can be engaged to facilitate any entrenched issues.
Election of Board: The initial Board would be self elected who form the core committee which will be operational for a 2 year term. After this about 40% of the board would resign and would get replaced by new members. Any individual member could serve for a maximum of three, 2-year terms.
The above would ensure reasonable consistency, allowing new ideas to get seeped in, gradually and effectively.
There could be need to have some focused sub-committees for any specific Tasks, Projects. One of the board members would oversee the operations of any specific subcommittees.
There will be provision to have an Advisory Board who would have representation from Partners, Supporters and People of reputable standing.
Some of the Principles to be followed for Governance; Rights and Responsibilities
- We aim to always strive for compassionate communication, honesty and transparency.
- We value human joy and happiness and are therefore committed to having FUN in the process of living and working within the community!
- We aim for a beautiful environment with artfully crafted homes.
- We value community and sharing, and encourage community activities, shared meals, shared utilities and resources.
- We value each individual and respect one another’s privacy.
- We appreciate the unique value, gifts and talents of every individual and create opportunities for people to fulfil their potential.
- We value people and their contribution and are tolerant of those who are unable to make equal contributions, e.g. due to health or age.
- Each of us is entitled to be heard, our opinions considered, and treated with equality and respect, regardless of our birth or background.
- Each of us has the right to choose our own path in the world, as long as we do no harm to our fellow citizens;
- We respect the personal privacy rights of members, as long as the exercising of those rights does not impact the rights of other members.
- We respect the private property of individuals and respect every member’s right to share equally in common areas, community grown food, and other community aspects.We encourage a spiritual approach, with the understanding that each of us has the right to believe what we want to believe, and free to say so in an accepting environment.
- We each take responsibility to conduct our business and community in a socially responsible and ethical manner.
- We respect the law, support universal human rights, protect the environment and benefit the communities where we work. It is our commitment to do business in ways that are good for people and the planet.
- Working together with local communities and other organisations, we place the individual’s needs at the heart of our services.
- In all our relationships we act with integrity, being open, honest and transparent.
- We exercise responsible stewardship, making the best use of all of our resources and aim for the highest environmental standards in all we do.
- We endeavour to always aim for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
- We invest in our members and volunteers, developing their skills and confidence inspiring and motivating them to find real meaning and purpose in their roles.
- Each of us has the obligation to contribute as we can; to care for each other; the obligation to obey the law, pay our bills, pay our taxes, and to be self responsible
- We are tolerant of the responsible and legal use of alcohol.
- Smoking (or other habits and behaviours which have the potential to affect the health of others) is not acceptable in common areas.
Permaculture: What is it?
Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture” but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture,” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka‘s natural farming philosophy.
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.
What is Community Land Trust (CLT) :
They are non-profit, community-based organisations run by volunteers that develop housing, workspaces, community facilities or other assets that meet the needs of the community, are owned and controlled by the community and are made available at permanently affordable level