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Community community Circular Econ.

SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

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by: Sharai Hoekema
smart communities  eco living through technology

Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’.

After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times.

Community were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve.

WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES?

Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village.

And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance.

AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES

The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations.

By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs.

OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS

The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency. 

For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments. 

WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST?

ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet.

Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated. 

All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal.

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