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July 27, 2017 10:54 AMCategory: Health Equity

Sustainable Neighborhoods – Off the Grid?

Living off the grid has some positives (fresh air, solitude, unspoiled nature!) and some negatives (no people, no Amazon delivery, no indoor plumbing).

But, what if living off the grid meant we could build sustainable communities that provided everything we needed? Sound like science fiction? We’re closer than you think.

According to a report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, our population is set to skyrocket by the beginning of the next millennium. We’ll reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. That means our demographics, housing needs and food consumption will significantly change or increase within the next 80 years. The population growth is expected to happen in nine countries:

  • India
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • United States of America
  • Indonesia
  • Uganda

This means that the world population will increase to 10 billion, 4.5 billion of whom will be considered middle class, and will increase our food demand by 70% by 2050. This will increase demand on all of our necessities; clean water, food systems, and our our energy systems.

To meet the coming challenges of increased population, concepts like the self-sustaining, off-grid house has the capability to mitigate issues such as growing populations, urbanization, resource scarcity, and the expanding global food crisis. They also would reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the burdens on local, state and federal governments.

These sustainable neighborhoods would incorporate renewable energies, food production, water and waste recycling to bring infrastructure on a smaller scale to an individual community, not tied to a larger entity. It would require major partnerships of land developers, planners, construction, universities and commerce companies to make it happen and to ensure cost-benefit that could help to build these types of communities on a global development scale.

There is an experiment currently happening in the Netherlands that is modeling this concept and these types of communities. ReGen Villages by EFFEKT is an imagined community of buildings that would produce all of their own food and energy.

The technology exists, and could be a game changer when it comes to building communities that are healthy and resilient.

To learn more about sustainable communities and read the entire article, check out: The Future of Sustainable Neighborhoods.

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