The goal of my project is to design a new village typology that could provide two things:
A means to battle environmental issues
My approach is to cooperate food production activities into residential spaces.
In terms of healthier lifestyle:
• Being surrounded by greenery (trees, vegetable plots, etc) would increase awareness about human impacts on the environment.
• Greenery helps improve mental health, hence, better life quality.
• Growing vegetables or keeping cattle as either a hobby or career would involve frequent exercises and physical activities, hence, better physical health.
In terms of means to battle environmental issues:
• Locally grown food will reduce transportation distances. Straight from farm to table models help reduce CO2 emissions.
• Co-operating different plant species as a way of protecting crops from pests helps reduce harmful chemical usage which has serious impacts on the surrounding ecosystem.
• Healthier habitats help bring back the wild animals, which results in a more diverse ecosystem that heals and connects the existing dispersed habitats.
The overall design consists of five centripetal groups of buildings and each central spot is assigned for a different purpose. The peripheral groups of buildings are then programmed according to its local centres.
The current plan provides 25 homes that could house between 25 – 80 people. This is about the same as the current population of Southease Village.
The idea is tested on an open ground to the south of Southease village, located between Lewes and Newhaven in East Sussex.
The site is located near the bottom of a bared sloping ground which is affected by surface run-off during the rainy season.
Looking at the spatial layouts and social mechanisms of two existing villages: Brøndby Garden City, Denmark and the Shabono House, Yanomami Tribe, Amazon.
Organic wastes are processed in the composting area (using vermi-culture, like red-worms to process organic substances and convert them to compost materials). The organic compost then could be used to fertilize outdoor seasonal plant beds, which then yield food for humans and cattle. The excessive red-worms could also be used as organic food for fishes in the aquaponics area. Waste water from farming activities or grey water from households could be treated and reused for watering plants.
Programmes of the new village should function based on the circular economy and self-sustain model. Based on the characteristic of the site, series of programme are proposed and the service areas are provided to reduce as much as possible the waste discharged from the households and farming activities.
A wet meadow is a type of wetland with soils that are saturated for part or all of the growing season. Wet areas following the spring thaw or heavy rain events are an opportunity to grow species that in their native habitats are tolerant or even thrive in conditions damp or even wet soils. By providing wild plants on the roof tops and on the ground, these could provide shelters for smaller wild animals, that then be a basis for the development of a whole spectrum of other species in nature.
Fruit trees are an integral part of edible landscaping. They offer shade, fruit, seasonal interest, structure to the garden. One simple way to support fruit trees in edible garden is through planting fruit tree guilds. Fruit tree guilds are human-made communities of plants that are located beneath and surrounding fruit trees. These plants have specific qualities that will support fruit trees: nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators, compost makers, and insect / pollinator attractors. Some plants serve more than one purpose in the guild and can be food or medicine for humans.
Areas for living are covered with the common corrugated metal roofing sheets material which is used for barn construction and also available locally. Due to the non-transparent property of the material, the supporting structure underneath is based on the London’s Waterloo Station so the V-shape curved trusses allow opportunities for gaps that can be covered with transparent polycarbonate sheets allowing natural sunlight to illuminate the spaces beneath. In between houses, the spaces are used for vertical farming to save space and produce higher yield per square metre.
Such a village model has the potential for changing human behaviour towards a more eco-friendly way, and once multiplied could be beneficial not only to human habitat but also a wide range of wild animals and plant species. I believe, alongside other solutions contributing towards saving our environment, this model can be applied and adapted to various locations and could potentially be a way forward for humanity in the future.