Village of The Future Will Soon Break Ground in The Netherlands

ReGen Villages will generate their own power, grow their own food, and be self sustaining closed loop systems.

Mar 8, 2020

(Jiffy Avril  / Shutterstock.com)

The cities, towns, and villages of the future will be self-sustaining and operate closed loop systems that produce power, grow food, and recycle waste according to American visionary James Ehrlic. It sounds very Jetsonian and a long way off but the city of the future is much closer than we think.

Ehrlick  who founded the startup  ReGen Villages in 2016, has been given official approval to build a pilot eco-village in Almere, outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and according to The New York Times, he hopes to break ground sometime in 2020.

Ehrlick believes that engineering and facilitating these integrated neighborhoods around the world is necessary to house and feed the expected nearly 10 billion people who will live on the planet in 2050.  With scarce arable land and a lack of clean water, the solution to this urgent issue is to build communities that will be closed loop systems or eco-villages.

The first village, according to the startup, is planned for 300 units on a 61-acre piece of land and will be commuting distance to Amsterdam. The concept is for all the villages to be built near cities for residents to commute to work. But residents will  not be allowed to own cars in the village and there are no driveways or garages planned. Residents will be able to walk, bicycle ride, or take a taxi (eventually autonomous taxis).

Ehrlick's villages will generate their own power through renewable sources like solar energy, geothermal, or biogas from food and animal waste. The communities will grow their own food mostly using aquaponic farms that will produce both plants and fish, as well as recycle their own waste. Each home will also have a rainwater catch and clean system and an attached greenhouse.

Each village will have a Village OS ( a software program) that will connect the village infrastructure to smart homes in the community and possibly even other eco-villages.

The homes, according to Dutch Review, will cost between €200,000 to €850,000 ($216,000–$918,000) depending on the size of the house. This is not out-of-line for similar areas.

The  master plan for the co-villages was announced at the Venice Biennale for Architecture In 2016. Besides the pilot village in the Netherlands, ReGen has agreements to develop projects in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, US, and Asia.

Right now, the biggest hurdles for ReGen, Ehrlick told the NY Times are, “The two greatest challenges we face are financial support and political will.”

The startup began with a family seed investment of 1.2 million euros ($1.3 million) and is now working on raising private equity investments so that it can move forward with projects.

"Success to me will be when thriving families can live in vibrant neighborhoods — outside of megacities — that enable longevity and happiness, Ehrlick said.

Other developers are working on self-sustaining villages. In Israel, the Village in a Box is being built in 2020 in  the Negev Desert. It consists of a shippable construction set that contains everything you need for a carbon-negative community.

If these sustainable eco-villages projects are successful, that can lead the way to an era of sustainable living; something the world badly needs as temperatures heat up and the population mushrooms. The future is looking better already.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.