Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Home Front: Atamai Eco-Village

 An old friend of mine dropped me a message, from his side of The Ditch to remind me that his home would make an excellent example of Apocalypse Equipped living. He is one of the members and developers of the Resilient Community at Atamai Village.

I, like my Viking ancestors, have pillaged their website and Facebook page to gather all the content below,  so all credit to the creators and writers.

What I liked most of all about this whole idea was the planning and conscious decisions made in its development. I think these folks have put a lot of time and effort into not only being self-sufficient, not only for food and resources, but also in the maintenance, development and management of their site.

Craig assures me that being a hard worker, in the event of zombies, all i need do is fight my way over the Tasman, baby on my back, and i'll be welcome. If it were not for the entanglements of lovers and children in Melbourne, he'd have already been giving me the hard-sell to move over. I'd be tempted too ....


A Permaculture Designed New Zealand Eco-Village

Located within biking distance to Motueka, a small town in the northern part of New Zealand’s South Island, the village’s land provides attractive and comfortable housing sites of mixed sizes for 50+ families.
Details on sections for sale now, can be found here. You can contact us via our website form.
A village is a settlement where people move from the privacy and separateness of their individual homes and families to their daily exchanges with others – all within the village and its environs. These are exchanges for basic needs such as food and other goods, social exchanges of support and mutual interest, cultural exchanges for fun and enjoyment, exchanges where projects are planned and carried out with others, a place where goods and services are exchanged to the benefit of both parties.
Village life is filled with opportunities for exchanges with a deeper texture, where the depth and breadth of relationships is enriching at many levels; where the joys and tribulations of a full life are felt and shared. Village life involves a sense of place and connectedness – to the land and the people – where relationships to both are rich and mutually sustaining.

A village operates on a human scale
  • where people know the land and each other
  • where that knowledge translates into caring and support for both
  • where people pay attention to the local because they depend on it for their well-being
  • where there is a connection to the broader world, but where that connection is based on fair exchange rather than dependency.

Physical Infrastructure

Common Resources

A key feature of most traditional villages is land owned and managed collectively. This feature has been incorporated into the Atamai design. Most of the land already developed, or that remains to be developed, will be part of the Commons Resource that the developer transfers to Atamai Village Council (the body that owns and governs the commons resources). The Commons Land already consists of approximately 10 ha and approximately 25 ha will come into the Commons with the second stage of development.
This common land is a critical feature of Atamai's food production and more. Such lands under community control can be used to generate income for the village by renting or leasing parcels of land or specific rights (e.g. grazing) over parcels of land to villagers or other parties. Exactly how these commons resources will be used will be determined by villagers rather than the developer.
The common resources are owned collectively by all villagers.

Permaculture Features

Atamai Village is designed on permaculture principles. All freehold titles have been chosen to ensure a favourable solar aspect and enough space for at least a vegetable garden and orchard areas. Some sites are suitable for raising livestock of various sorts. Wind and water features have also been taken into account, and the entire site is adjacent to a forestry block which is being transformed into a sustainable forestry operation.
Permaculture principles are also being used to develop all Commons land to be owned and managed by Atamai Village Council.
These permaculture features are one component of a secure food supply, by optimizing the availability of productive land, and where appropriate, creating microclimates for special purpose growing.

Access and cycle ways

Img 0881Image
A large portion of Atamai Village will be car free, with access and cycle ways designed to connect various parts of the Village. All access and cycle ways will have a grade of no more than 1 in 10 to ensure ease of access by walking or cycling. When necessary, small electric vehicles can be used to move goods or people. All access ways will also be large enough to accommodate emergency vehicles.
These features will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel transport, and facilitate ease of movement when energy descent becomes more prominent. They will also make Village areas safer and more accommodating to people-scale activities, thus facilitating social interaction and a sense of community.

Building Design Guide

An extensive Building Design Guide has been prepared to describe the standards for all buildings within the village. This document addresses such issues as passive solar house designs, use of non-toxic, sustainably sourced local materials, on-site energy production, waste handling requirements, and related items.

Building Covenant     

2011 Feb 002We believe these design features are so important that a covenant is placed on each title that ensures the goals of sustainable buildings will forever occur on each dwelling site. So you can be sure that village buildings will follow these guidelines, and enjoy their long term benefits – an important part of a resilient community. 
These standards ensure that buildings will be comfortable and inexpensive to operate on an on-going basis, have a low ecological footprint, and be safe to live in. The first home built according to these guidelines is now in place.                          

Clean Land Covenant

All land within the village will be covenanted to ensure that nothing will be done to the land that would prevent that parcel of land from being BioGro Certified. This same guideline applies to both individual freehold titles and all Commons land. The guideline does not require that each land parcel become BioGro certified, but only that nothing is done to it that would prevent such certification.
Atamai and related parties also have control over almost the entire catchment area for Village lands.
These features ensure that no pesticides or other toxic materials will be used on any of the lands under village control, providing a safe and healthy environment for growing food and enjoying our natural surroundings. These features will also enhance the biodiversity potential for both fauna and flora throughout the village lands.

Water Security

Img 0478One of the standards in the Building Design Guide specifies two 24,000 l water tanks for each dwelling and a roof-top collection system for domestic and garden use. Separate tanks for fire protection elevated about dwelling height are also part of the plan, and some are already in place. In addition, there are several ponds now constructed, and more to come, as well as several areas where super-wells are options should they be needed. With the local annual rainfall of approximate 1000 mm, these measures should provide adequate water security for villagers.
Mvi 0975 21190413The rainwater collection, ponds and wells collectively provide a resilient water system to meet village needs for the foreseeable future; these measures take into account the predicted changes based on altered rain patterns induced by climate change. The ponds also provide opportunities for recreation and aesthetic enjoyment.

Food Security

Each title provides areas for a veggie garden and some food bearing trees. Some sites are also suitable for raising livestock. Options are also available to use part of the Commons for livestock or additional food production. A community orchard was established in 2007 which is now coming into production. The orchard area, along with land for community gardens, has already been transferred from the developer to Atamai Village Council. To supplement these village food producing areas an adjacent 24 ha farm operation is being established by one of the first villagers, with the objective of supplying bulk and specialty crops for the village and beyond.

Topsoil from each site has been carefully removed during excavation and then reapplied to the site. None of the land was previously used for industrial type agriculture (e.g. tobacco, etc).
The water features of the village layout are another important resource for food production.
These soil and water features are supplemented by the region’s record high sunshine levels to provide ample opportunity for each villager to produce their own organic and locally sourced food, or purchase it from another villager. Having these vital resources under direct village control (individually or collectively) provide a degree of resilience hard to match elsewhere.

Dealing with Waste

The building design standards also include a provision for each building to deal with its own waste on site. Recommended solutions include various grey water drainage systems and composting toilets. There are various versions of both to match the circumstances of each household.
Handling human waste in this fashion avoids contaminating other areas and also provides a valuable resource for the orchards.

Social Infrastructure

Img 0801In addition to being responsible for the physical infrastructure of the village, the developer has also provided for some basic social infrastructure components to support village activities.

Atamai Village Council

The developer established Atamai Village Council as an Incorporated Society to own and manage the village common resources. This entity provides a basic legal structure for ownership of common resources and a means of managing them. It has been operating since 2010.

Consensus Decision Making Covenant

2012 July 006Village life is about more than just sharing the physical assets of the Commons - it covers all facets of human interactions and therefore has some predictable features. Owning and managing the Commons Resources will require a decision process that will benefit from both wisdom and broad support. Consequently, a Consensus Decision Making Process is included as one of the key covenants placed on each freehold title. All villagers are expected to participate in training regarding this process and to support its use in making decisions as part of Atamai Village Council.
Atamai Village Council has been functioning using this model since 2010.

Conflict Transformation Covenant

A second social covenant that goes on each freehold title deals with Conflict Transformation. It is inevitable that conflicts will arise in any collective human endeavour so it is best to have agreement on a constructive way of dealing with them when they do. This covenant deals with villagers training in conflict transformation techniques and committing to using these approaches when conflict occurs. Supportive mediation is part of this process if required so the parties in conflict have access to assistance should it be needed.
These two covenants on each title (the Consensus Decision Making and Conflict Transformation) provide two components of a social infrastructure for the village to operate successfully over the long term. These features allow for new villagers to receive training in the use of these processes and participate in village life from their earliest involvement with the village. Naturally, there is a process for modifying these processes as we gain experience with them and find ways of making them better – something all villagers can contribute to.


So, there you have it.

A real life, functional and active resilient community, working towards self sufficiency, ecologically sound and sustainable practices, and the social engineering required to maintain it.

I applaud them all, and am quietly envious of the opportunities and challenges it presents.  It also reminds me to bone-up on my "the GPS's are gone" navigation and boating skills...

1 comment:

  1. eToro is the ultimate forex trading platform for rookie and professional traders.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...