Lessons In Village Design
Ten years ago, a dozen of us set out boldly to go where few had gone before: Envisioning a human-scale community designed and built in harmony with the natural world, we wanted to show a healthier way for humans to live with each other while treading lightly on the earth. We thought we could leave behind the greed, selfishness, alienation, and destructive habits of US culture and create a more meaningful life together by living more simply, closer to nature, and by helping other people to make similar changes in their own lives and circumstances.
This is still our vision and to a considerable degree we have succeeded. But we've also tempered our idealism with the awareness that we brought human nature with us through the gate, and the laws of gravity work here just as they do in the larger world around us. Rediscovering the laws of gravity was in fact one of the important lessons we learned over the past decade, along with some other basic physical science, but I'm getting ahead of my story.
Our community embraced permaculture from the beginning and it has been a crucial element in our development. In keeping with this approach, we have evolved a culture of experiment, of anarchy tempered by cooperation, and of small-scale, individual action. How has all of this come about and how has it worked to shape the village? And most importantly, what lessons have we learned from our development that may be relevant to other communities?