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Designing a village prototype

  • First of all I would like to shortly introduce myself, my name is Christof and I am studying architecture. I found your project a year ago and i must say I like the idea of the GVCS. I am in my last semester and I have just started to work on my Bachelor Thesis.

    My topic is about autonomous villages and my aim is to develop a prototype village, which is able to function on its own. It should become a resilient system with no dependence on the current society, producing its own food, building its own houses with natural material and a different economic approach etc. I am doing this work in collaboration with a friend who is writing right now his thesis about the same topic, but more about the economic and organizational aspects, which would be necessary to build that kind of intentional community. The theoretic bases and many initiatives (examples include: subsistence, collaborative consumption, cradle to cradle, cultural creative, ecovillages, open source ecology, etc.) are planned to be integrated.

    At this stage i am researching about the basic needs in water, food, energy. This is the primary reason i wrote this. They are crucial for the development of such a village system i plan to develop and hope to share later on if everything works out like planned. As I have read a bit about the OSE, it seems to me you might have knowledge about these topics. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to contribute to this project, giving me some ideas and share some of your knowledge about what you think would be necessary for a subsistence village. The main areas where I feel we need more input, is the basic needs of an individual. It is hard to find good and detailed data on required food and thus land to grow it, about access and minimum consumption of water and energy.

    If you have any ideas, which you think could fit into the design of our village, which hopefully some day will be realized, any books relating to this or statistics you have read about, we would be really thankful for.

    Should you require any more detailed information or you have any questions relating to the content, i am happy to explain it with more detail.
 I hope this project is welcome. 

    Kind Regards Christof

  • 9 Comments sorted by
  • For water, a nearby water body could run a water recycling plant too. Energy- windmill. Food- farming.
  • Thanks. Yes the way to accomplish the needs i see very possible. Farming is of course the best way to get food, as well as to use the Sun directly and indirectly throughout wind. But before i can think of strategies to make it work i have to very well think first what is really needed. Its my starting point from which on strategies can be developed. So i am searching for this information regarding basic needs and how i could calculate them. Can somebody help out with information?
  • An organization that is trying to tackle a problem just like this is the Transition Initiative (,  The idea is to bring people together in their communities and find ways of increasing their resilience to outside circumstances like peak oil, climate change, and supply disruptions by producing and subsisting off the land in their own towns.  These 'transition towns' not only produce their own food (think victory/community gardens and backyard plots), but find ways of weaning themselves off of the larger supply chain (think: make your own tools, make an ethanol still for fuel, brew your own beer, etc).  The movement is worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and the U.K. (where it was founded), and has its fair share of ideas - both good and bad - but it's a great place to start when looking at making a sustainable village.

    In order to better understand your thesis, may I ask where you intend for the starting point to be?  Do you envision a SimCity-like approach where you have a blank piece of Earth and freedom to build at will, or would that piece of Earth be built upon with access to current construction materials with the intent on going self-sustaining as each building is constructed?  Not to pry at all, just trying to establish a baseline in my mind.
  • Thank you for your answer. I know the transition network. I however did not find a appropriate forum that is out there. There are a lot of local projects and forums, but i did not find a international one. Can you give me a good link?

    Regarding my intention of the village. It will be a system for about 150 people. Collaborative consumption is a main issue in it. It should be a village build by the people in it. It will not grow organically after the mark of 150 is taken. The village is understood to be a system itself, and this system is intended to be directed after the intention of the community (intentional community). Lets say the intention of the community is autarky, then the construction material is used from local resources (wood, CEB, loam, hay). Does that explain it better?


  • Hello Christof, I'm working on that topic for some years already and am happy to add some input. If you can read German, please look at my website, which might be of interest to you and your friend. You find a wealth of additional information on this topic in this board's thread this is by far the longest thread on this pages, so take your time ...
  • Hello Rapert. Thank you for your answer. I am german and i have read in that section you suggested. I found your project as well and read already on you page. It is an interesting approach i think and there are things that are equally important for this project you are working on and the one I and my friend are working on. Like the issues of basic needs like for example energy, food and water consumption. Have you worked on these issues so far? I would be happy if we could collaborate on these issues. 
  • You might be able to find some data about minimums from holocaust history.

    Also you might look at island histories for subsitance models.
  • Hello dorkmo, thanks for answering. Can you specify your suggestions please. Regarding the your points: Do you mean a minimal food/water supply during these times? 

    If so, I must say I am looking more for a basic civilisational need.
  • yeah i was just thinking as an absolute baseline to stay alive kind of scenario. like if you had a scale from 1-10 it might be a good reference for 1. plus theres a lot of public documentation and stuff.

    perhaps there might be some documentation in the area of eating disorders for healthy diet goals

    theres a group in hawaii working on revitalizing indigenous community knowledge to reach sustainability. its not super documented and a loose organization but its seems kinda in the realm of what your working on.

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