> Utopias About Sustainability Are Starting to Be an Academic Stuff

Rui Vasques is a Portuguese student who used some ideas strongly related to Venus Project in order to conclude his master's degree in Design and Industrial Production. His thesis and the project to develop a self-sustainable community was good enough to win prizes and recognition outside his university. Eco-Village Community is a model based on permaculture, renewable energy, local treatment of waste, and local production of resources. 
Sustainability is a very fashionable word, often an empty signifier, so what is particularly interesting in this project is its physical details. Rui planned a main square destined to events, an area for systems (such as power plant and water/waste treatment) and an agriculture zone. There are also areas for catering, leisure, culture (libraries and schools for example), arts and sports. The residential area includes 32 private homes and 28 community housing.

The houses are intended to built using the Superadobe technique -  "long or short sandbags are filled with on-site earth and arranged in layers or long coils (compression) with strands of barbed wire placed between them to act as both mortar and reinforcement (tension); stabilizers such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion may be added, this patented and trademarked technology is offered free to the needy of the world, and licensed for commercial use". This technique is easy and cheap, very clean, and very efficient in durability, climate and acoustic terms.

Such as many urban utopias related to sustainability, the community is designed to be circular, what means that its center, where are located the main facilities, is equidistant from every house. This circular model could be easily replicated in different scales, like Howard's Garden City. Despite being an urban community for 500 people, Eco-Village contains a great sense of rurality. The contact with the nature is a keyword in Eco-Village conception, however, in a country with great concerns about the extinction of rural communities, this project could be a sustainable way to repopulate delicate territories. 
Not so utopian... Rui has some ideas to put in practice this idea, by using rural tourism mainly. The images show perfectly how this village would look like. This could be understood as a small-scale version of Venus Project, but more realistic because it uses technology that exists today. Stakeholders are needed, and Rui is working on it. 

"Will there be, in the future, space and living conditions for everyone? Food and pure water for all? Energy and resources? Will there ever be peace, freedom, equality and cooperation among mankind? This work represents a global view of this world we live in today with an environmental perspective and a positive attitude to the changes needed for a new way: A look at how the man on the planet has evolved, expanded and developed their own system of values and beliefs, organizing a civilization that has grown exploring all the features of the Earth with a single objective based on economic growth and forgetting the essentials of human and natural ecosystems; A look at the societies of the day today and how these are questions and propose to change its structures; A look at how science, technology and ultimately human consciousness can be combined and directed to the welfare of humanity and the environment.An approach to natural and human disasters of the present through Design for sustainable development in the future."

(more pictures here and here)

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