Local Earth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting research and education focused on sustainable community development. The mission of the organization is to development a network of Eco-Villages around the world that act as inspirational societal models that exemplify the most forward thinking ecologically designed living systems on the planet. The Living Cluster Model is the 2nd phase of the Village Design Model. The Living Cluster Model is designed to meet the daily living needs of 12 people. This model will then be replicated 12 times to create the village design model for approximately 144 people.
The 1st phase of our Local Earth Village Development Model is an interdisciplinary, open-source Eco-Design Challenge to build the world’s most affordable and ecologically designed home for a semi-arid, temperate environment.
- meet daily living needs of 10-15 residents in most ecologically sustainable, socially just and overall enjoyable manner possible
- design a replicable model so it can be integrated into the village design model
- create beautiful, simple, safe and inspiring living structures for each individual or couple
- create a beautiful, safe and inspiring community structure to provide space for communal needs (cooking, dining, bathing, relaxing, entertainment, yoga, meditation, performance and education)
Key Elements of Model (meet all of the following needs in the most healthy, ecologically sustainable and regenerative manners possible)
- Permaculture – Utilize the design principles of permaculture to meet the needs and achieve the goals of the project
- Architecture – Test various building methods and materials to find the most efficient solutions possible with regards to the usage of energy and natural resources necessary to create and maintain a healthy, safe and inspiring living environment
- passive solar heating and cooling / environmental orientation
- rainwater catchment systems
- grey/black water systems
- powered by renewable sources of energy
- sustainably sourced building materials
- Agriculture – Develop and implement the most healthy and efficient models and practices of village scale organic farming and gardening
- grow 50-75% of the communities produce needs
- Waste Management – Develop and implement the most ecologically efficient practices of managing human, landscape and consumer waste
- composting food and landscape waste into valuable organic matter for the gardens
- composting toilets to convert and utilize human waste into beneficial organic matter that supports the living systems of the model
- making conscious decisions on what types of consumer products we purchase with regards to packaging and materials used to create products
- our ideal is to create a closed loop system that has no waste
Community Systems / Invisible Structures
- Decision Making / Governing – Develop and implement the most just, balanced and representative group decision making process possible. Consistent group meetings, systems for communication and a voting process to make decisions. (***recommendation ⅔ support vote necessary to implement action)
- Shared Common Values & Goals – Develop a process for the group to establish a shared set of community values and goals. The intention is to create a situation and environment that fosters harmony and cohesiveness.
- Healthy Communication Practices – Cultivate healthy communication practices to address potential group conflict in a productive and non-violent manner. The shared common values provide a stable foundation to return to if conflict or mis-communication arises.
- Sharing Resources – Sharing items that are needed by everyone in the community whenever possible in order to reduce demand of natural resources (ie. tools, cooking equipment, vehicles etc.)
- Sharing Daily Duties – Create a system for sharing our day to day responsibilities with the group in order to make the processes more efficient and enjoyable (ie. cooking, cleaning, gardening, composting etc.)
- Travel & Exchange – Create a system that accommodates for travel and inviting new members into the living cluster if someone chooses to leave. Once there are living clusters developed in other locations around the world, develop a system that allows people to exchange locations.
- Economy – In relation to external economic system: pooling economic resources to purchase goods needed by the community in the least expensive manner possible (ie. bulk grocery items etc). In relation to internal economic system: providing as many services and needs within the living cluster by members of the living cluster (ie. food/gardening/cooking, building, property maintenance, bodywork etc).
Research & Data
Develop and implement a system of measurements, surveys and indicators to test the efficiency of the systems we are designing. Compare the results of our tests with the average resource usage of standard urban and suburban community developments in todays society. The goal is to provide an inspirational societal model to meet our daily living needs in the most ecologically sustainable, healthy and enjoyable manner possible.
Public Interaction & Education
- Educational Workshops – Provide classes and workshops on healthy and sustainable lifestyle to surrounding community
- Annual Festival – Produce an annual festival with hands-on workshops, music and art
- University Collaboration – Create collaborative design challenges with Universities and students to continually evolve and design the most innovative and forward thinking systems (specifically Architecture and Environmental Design Colleges)
- U.S. Green Building Council / LEED – Collaborate with the USGBC to provide demonstration sites and continuing education credits through workshops
- Wanderfoot Eco-Design Tours – Provide a demonstration site for Wanderfoot design tours and continuing education workshops
- Permaculture & Sustainability Hub – Provide a space for local groups focused on sustainability and permaculture to meet and participate in projects
- Pachamama Alliance – Promote, support and provide Awakening the Dreamer and Generation Waking Up Symposiums to the surrounding community
- Transition Town Movement – Promote, support and provide space for Transition Town activities and events
- Bioneers – Provide a satellite hub for disseminating the knowledge, education and ideas brought forth via the Bioneers Resilient Communities Network
- TEDx – Provide a local TEDx focal point for ideas and projects around sustainable community development