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  • For those who don't know, Gaviotas was/is a Colombian village started with the idea of "how do we make an infertile grass savannah in the middle of nowhere habitable by humans"? It morphed into an experimental appropriate technology and reforestation project. It attracted dozens of awesome, highly skilled people, especially engineers. At least a dozen great inventions were born, which are now part of the standard-issue appropriate technology catalog. But the project, started around 1970, fell short in a lot of ways and hasn't really "changed the world" yet. There are a lot of parallels between Gaviotas and Factor e Farm. Has anyone found a good criticism of Gaviotas' accomplishments? Have the lessons of Gaviotas, Auroville, Mondragon been learned by Factor e Farm folks? I'd like to maybe make some nice wall posters breaking down these projects' details, hung up as constant reminder of what has been done, and what got screwed up.
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  • GVCS is still in it's infancy. So, if you can provide a list of lessons learned from Gaviotas that would be helpful.
  • Yeah, no, not kidding, I'm working on the list. Just for starters though, three major things they did that just kill me were:

    1) - No rainwater collection. They go on and on about not having access to clean drinking water, and several of their primary inventions were windmills and pumps for deep-well (100+ feet), passive water pumping. But they live in monsoon country, it's pouring rain 8 months out of the year, and it never occurred to them to make some ponds, cisterns, etc? A mid-90s video of their operations show them bottling water. I don't get it, I must be missing something.

    2) - Really expensive modernist buildings. They were funded by the UN and others at various times and let the money guide a lot of their architecture decisions. Their buildings were not functional, timely, human-scale, passive, or made out of locally sourced materials. They were into cool shapes and lots of metal and glass when those things are completely impractical for bootstrappers living hundreds of miles across crappy dirt roads from the nearest city. It looks like they stopped doing this and are now using buildings that are a lot simpler and cheaper

    3) - Really crummy living quarters. Badly ventilated, dirty, wet, dark, sad places for visitors and residents alike for more than 10 years. I'm hoping it's changed now, but don't know, never been there.

    But from all the videos and things written about this place, it looks way awesome and creates a lot of useful plant- and technology-based jobs, and a safe fun place to live and grow up as a kid. So I'm not knocking it, just trying to point out what could be avoided in the future with hindsight.    :r]


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