One of the most forward-thinking tech companies in the world is building a self-sustaining new community, Regen Almere, a short distance from Amsterdam.
The collaboration between ReGen Villages and EFFEKT architects to develop ReGen Almere is about answering some of the world’s most pressing social, financial and environmental challenges. ReGen Almere is just the start.
“ReGen Villages is engineering and facilitating the development of off-grid, integrated and resilient neighbourhoods that power and feed self-reliant families around the world,” explains James Ehrlich, Founder of ReGen Villages.
ReGen stands for ‘regenerative’, where the outputs of one system are the inputs of another. The concept combines a variety of innovative technologies, including energy positive homes, renewable energy, energy storage, door-step high-yield organic food production, vertical farming aquaponics/aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resource systems.
Need for eco-living
The reason behind ReGen’s concept stems from the massive growth of the global population, which is expected to continue with an estimated 2.5billion people moving to cities in the next 50 years. Massive urbanisation is causing rising land prices and difficulties in effectively catering for basic human needs, such as clean water, energy and food. Climate change is becoming a major environmental and humanitarian crisis, as we emit 150 times more greenhouse gases than 100 years ago.
“Food production is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, the biggest driver of deforestation and responsible for 70% of our global freshwater consumption. We ship our food from one end of the world to another just to waste 30% of the total production before consumption.” – Sinus Lynge, co-founder of EFFEKT
ReGen Villages will offer an alternative to this, focusing on peri-urban and rural development, mid-density urban retrofits and local supply of resources.
The alternative future way of life
ReGen Villages has a clear environmental ethos, but the project is also about creativity. Developing a better approach for the way we live is a creative process with a practical purpose. Not only can models such as this sustain living standards for years to come, it creates social value by developing connected communities again. People reconnect with nature, and consumption reconnects with production.
“We like to think of ReGen as the Tesla of ecovillages. We want to make it easy, convenient and accessible to choose a sustainable lifestyle off the grid,” says Sinus Lynge, co-founder of EFFEKT.
ReGen Villages has gained investment from funds looking to divest from fossil fuels. After identifying suitable areas of land along with national and local municipalities, such as Almere in the Netherlands, ReGen’s team contract local architecture, construction and engineering firms to adapt the ReGen village model to local conditions.
The people behind ReGen Villages have the credentials to match their potentially world-changing plans. James Ehrlich is a serial entrepreneur, a Senior Fellow at NASA Ames Opus Novum consortium, Entrepreneur in Residence at the H-STAR Institute (Stanford University), and senior technologist and researcher in the area of closed-loop and organic high-yield food systems. James is also co-author of a bestselling book Organic Living Quick and Simple Recipes for Healthy Living (Hachette 2007), and produced the award winning national Public Television Series (PBS) Organic Living that chronicled over a decade of case studies of organic and bio-dynamic family farms and their connection to healthy communities around the world. The series at its apex reached over 35 million homes each week. Ehrlich is working with the Copenhagen-based architectural collaborative EFFEKT, who have won multiple awards for architecture, planning, urban space and landscape project.
As well as Regen Almere, there are future development plans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, MENA, Malaysia, India, China, parts of Africa and further into the U.S. and Canada.
Website: ReGen Villages
Carl Goes Amsterdam
Carl Goes Amsterdam is the city guide for curious and creative people who want to become a citizen of Amsterdam for the duration of their stay, whether it’s for three days, three weeks or three months. This city guide is full of hidden gems recommended by locals.