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The sewage system demonstrates the divergence between the two development models. The village’s initial plan was to do a conventional system which is capital intensive, energy intensive, and unattractive. Conventional developers regard sewage as a discrete element. We, however,

Conventional sewage plant uses lots of machinery.  It is capital and energy intensive and wastes land.

consider the sewage system an integral part of the housing, industrial and agricultural design. Our objective is zero waste: to see that the “waste” from one process becomes a resource for another. We want to make beneficial use of the resources contained in the sewage (water and fertilizer). One possibility we have been looking at is biological treatment systems using ponds and constructed wetlands. These systems create a natural landscape that can become parks, recreation and scenic areas for the community, thus increasing its value. They also provide wildlife habitat. Some of the water can be used in the agricultural land. Instead of being an unattractive expense for the community, the sewage system provides an amenity


Wetland sewage treatment in Arcata California has become a wildlife sanctuary where people go to picnic and bird watch, often unaware they are in the middle of the city’s sewage treatment system.

Click picture for larger image.

for the community, enhancing its enjoyment and value.


We will be working with all aspects of making an environmentally healthy and socially vibrant community including transportation, energy and recycling to mention a few of the issues. Because we are working with industrial, housing and other uses at the same time we can look for beneficial interactions between them. For example, the town of Kalundborg, Denmark used the waste heat from one industry to provide a district heating system for the town.


These villages offer a very good situation for demonstrating the benefits of whole system ecological design. These energy and sewage examples are just the beginning. The principle barrier the village faces is that it does not have 

money for design. These ideas are new for them and don’t fit into the standard model and process with which they are familiar. We need to offer them a strong vision of what an ecological village is, what it would look like, what it would be like to live in, how it would work in their individual case and what the economic costs and benefits would be. We are looking for a way to help the village pay for the design work that will give them the information they need. We are able to produce some ideas for the community through the work done by the University students.  However a complete professional plan is required for an undertaking of this scale.  This eco-village would be a valuable model which hundreds of other villages could then use and adapt.


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