How to Build a Village


How to Build a Village by Claude Lewenz

For the last 50 years, we have been building communities for the wrong reason. "How to Build a Village Town" proposes to turn real estate development upside down, so that people may regain control of their lives, their communities and their future. Instead of building communities to sell cars, "How to Build a Village Town" proposes people build communities that provide for their needs and aspirations... places to live that are places they love.

The idea is not new. Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle wrote that when several villages come together so they may become economically self-supporting, the purpose for their continuance is to enable their citizens to enjoy a good life, understood as the social pursuits of conviviality, citizenship, artistic, intellectual and spiritual growth. In almost every place and time, except our own, every aspect of community design, from the central plaza with its meeting places, cafes, taverns and shops, to their support for the artistic, educational and holy places followed these timeless patterns and principles of design.

The people who live there help shape its design which is what gives it its character and authenticity. Beginning after World-War II, starting in America and spreading to other parts of the world, we radically redesigned how people live based on a different intent: to perpetually boom national economies. We invented suburbs to sell cars. We reshaped life based on this plan that came to be known as suburban sprawl. The core principle was that of separation. We separated destinations, generations and stages of life. The design principle became that of standardization. If we look at everything that surrounds us in daily life, we notice the extent to which our physical environment has become generic and bland. We redefined citizens as consumers, and in the process lost sight of why we build communities. This radical experiment in suburban sprawl failed to deliver on its promise. We now face a host of new and serious challenges our ancestors knew not. For the most part, our response to these problems is either denial or investing substantial energy trying to fix broken and broke systems. We call it "tweaking." It does not work, although it does provide jobs for consultants and the development industry.

In "How to Build a Village," you are invited to take a different approach. Called a VillageTown - a town made of villages - it proposes people come together to form villages, about 500 people in each, with about twenty villages side by side to create the necessary economic and social critical mass of a town of 10,000 people. The optimal size proposes a 200 acre urban core surrounded by a greenbelt and a walk-to industrial park. Within the urban core, all is walkable - no cars within. This rescales everything, permitting a secure, stimulating place for all ages and stages of life. Human-scaled, it more resembles the market-town of yore; only it takes advantage of modern technology, that permits one to be in two places at once. It proposes creating its own local economy that enables its citizens to regain control over their own lives and enjoy a Good Life.

The purpose of the series of VillageTown books is to put forth a proposal to build a new, timeless form of community to replace suburbs. All profits from book sales go to raise the funds required to build VillageTowns.The author takes no royalties, the publisher charges no fees. To support the idea, to help make it go from a good idea to real built communities, buy books, give them as gifts, leave them in cafes or anywhere else folks gather. This is not a drill.

Replacement Value: $63

If you are: A baby boomer worried about when you retire 8
An entrepreneur, small business or field office operator 12
A creative or performing artist, musician, writer or dramatist 15
Part of the Creative Class, a scholar, engineer, scientist or educator 17
Retired now or an cider in settled work 19
Parents of a young family 22
Or a solo parent (read both sections) 25
A young adult, under age 25 wanting to buy a home and get a start. 26
An elected official or a government policy maker A government subdivision approver, regulator or planner 33
An architect, master planner or designer 35
A wage earner Who cannot afford housing close to your work 38
A nearby farmer 40
An investor or developer 42
What is wealth? An essay to set the tone iv
Note from the author vi
Executive Summary: Can We Design and Build for Quality of Life) 1 What is a Village) 4
If You Arc a... (See top section of this index — above) 8-45
Chapter 1 - Challenge and Solution 47 Chapter 2 - The Big Picture - Imagine 53
Chapter 3 - Village and Plaza Layout 58
Chapter 4 -Landscape and Plants 70
Chapter 5 - The Local Economy 73
Chapter 6 - Food and Slow Food 92
Chapter 7 - Local Transport Area - An essential component of the Village 96
Chapter 8 - Energy, Water, Effluent and Convergent Technology 102
Chapter 9 - Education and Culture 116
Chapter 10 - Governance ofThe Village 128
Chapter 11 - Getting Started - The Design Brief-and Village Master Plan Codes 137
Chapter 12 - The Design Code 158
Chapter 13 - Building Design 178
Chapter 14 - Building Materials and Process 208
Chapter 15 - The Construction and Logistics of Building the Village 218
Chapter 16 - Finance and Funding Options 777
Chapter 17 - Role of the Village Organising Company 226
Chapter 18 - To Build an Indigenous Tribal Village - Special Considerations
Index and photo index 244