If humanity is to tackle the problems of a growing global population, increased urbanization, scarcity of resources and climate change, we have to rethink the way we live. The ReGen Village is aimed at doing this, by being built to be self-sustaining from the ground up
There are newly conceived community concepts around the world that are designed to help people live more sustainably. Bicester in the UK, for example, is using solar power in a bid to become the country’s first true zero carbon community, while the Cannery in California, US, has its own farm with which it feeds its community.
The ReGen Village concept takes a holistic approach. The five “pillars” upon which it based are the provision of energy-positive homes, doorstep high-yield organic food production, mixed renewable energy and storage, water and waste recycling, and empowerment of local communities. ReGen itself stands for “regenerative,” which reference the intention to use the outputs of one system as the inputs of another.
ReGen Villages describes itself as a “tech-integrated real estate development company.” It enlisted Danish architects EFFEKT to work with it in designing the blueprint for its planned self-sustaining eco-communities, which can be accommodated within 15,450 sq m (166,300 sq ft).
Financial backing for the villages is being sourced from wealth funds that are looking to divest from fossil fuels into impact and knowledge-based investments. ReGen uses the money raised to acquire suitable areas of land and works with national and local municipalities that are supportive of the approach.
Its blueprint model is adapted to suit a site’s local conditions by ReGen’s team of “regenerative platform technologists,” working with local architecture, construction and engineering firms. Once a village is up and running, ReGen continues to manage it, providing services to residents and monitoring performance so as to make improvements.
Among the technologies employed at the villages are renewable energy generation, energy storage, vertical farming aquaponics and aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resource systems. Food is also grown organically and there is a focus on maintaining a high biodiversity in surrounding areas.
The first ReGen Village pilot community is to be developed in Almere in Netherlands, with work on the first 100 homes due to break ground later this year. Other villages in the pipeline include sites in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany.