Question #1 - "Where is it?"
We are keeping the location open and waiting until a critical mass of people have joined up so that we can pick a successful location (or two!). Although it's too early to pin it down, the basic boundaries would be North of Denver, East of Boulder, South of Fort Collins. Certainly, part of the intention is that we get a critical mass of people to make a vibrant location that make trips less frequent. And the site will have a green transportation hub with a variety of convenient alternatives to single-occupancy car trips: bike shuttles, car-share fleet, online car-pooling tool, bus connections, errand angels.
Question #2 - "Is it built yet?","When will it be ready?"
The answer really is when people choose it, vote for it. It could come to together quite rapidly. It's up to us, It's up to you. We can tell you, after talking with 1000s of people, with absolute certainty, that there is an wild abundance of everything needed in Colorado to make it happen - people, enthusiasm, money, land, knowledge, and energy. Move it forward adding yourself to our database and then encourage friends to check it out - here
Question #3 - "What are the details?"
Our mission statement guides us to gather up villagers. We are not architects or developers, but it is our belief that most of the basic concepts about what defines green housing and a sense of community are now pretty well understood. An interesting story around this is how many people get the concept in just two or three sentences. Not surprisingly, this is an idea that is already in the consciousness of many people, though maybe not as such a large project. Also, we finished a "more details" page - here.
Question #4 - "Who is behind this organization? What type of group is it?"
We are putting a lot of intention behind keeping an "open culture". Do you fit in? If you want to live in a vibrant environmentally-conscious little town, you do. Rather than having a "narrow culture" that sets the tone for the project, this project is open to a diversity of types of folks who might want to live in a very green town. Sub-cultures can form pods of interest. If a group wants to do yoga at 4am, that's great, but not everyone has to. The converging principles are simply those of the "live green" movement and a natural desire to build a sense of community.
Question #4b - "What is the structure of this organization?"
In phase one, it's been focused on the "Outreach" team, as we follow the mission statement of this new energizing model. In some ways, that phase is complete. The database, the vessel, is growing every day. And it other ways, it's about half way there. In phase two, we are forming two teams: A "Best Practices" team and a "Land Development" team. There are some really great experienced people exploring this opportunity. In parallel with this grassroots group is a growing list of "development" professionals checking in on the progress. You can wade in a little deeper by filling out our short volunteer form.
Question #5 - "What are the financial commitments? financial risks?"
Email is free, this website is free, talking is free, and dancing is free. We don't need money to join together as a force for change. Our currency is a little bit of your time and interest. The first step is getting in our database - and hey, it's free!
The second part to that answer is that the risks don't have to be higher than building or buying a conventional house. We are shedding our old expectations of having conventional housing packaged, marketed, and sold to us in tired old ways. Here, we take the reins in deciding what type of housing we want by creating the "market niche" ourselves. Together, we lower the financial risks well into the comfortable range simply by "showing up" to be counted. And no one has to write a check for even $1 until there's an abundant critical mass that is ready to make a move.
Question #6 - "Who will build the houses?"
Many people dream of building their own home one day. And some of the homes with the lowest impact are hand-built. But to get a large, vibrant, fun, interesting project started, we will keep open to the assistance of an enlightened developer to help those with means to build a healthy core of very green homes and the village center. The group will hold space (financially, legally, etc) for those in our organization with more spirit and passion than financial means, to build their low-impact homes with inspired support. Perhaps, in some cases, through a type of homesteader model where folks earn the right to build through their commitments, work, and progress.
Question #7 - "Wouldn't it be better to retrofit inside a city?"Well, retrofitting does have less impact when it's done with that intent. But up to 2-5 million new homes are built each year in the US alone. We believe we can help change how at least a portion of those are being envisioned. Retrofitting should be done. And rethinking what happens outside urban centers should be explored as well. Also, a lot of the land in some cities is so expensive, it forces a large, expensive, high-impact project to be built, which further alienates us.
Question #8 - "How would decisions be made in such a large project?"It's a little bit early to dig too deeply into this question. We are still very much doing outreach to gather up the villagers. But for one, let's celebrate the fact that the Colorado Front Range has an abundance of greatly skilled facilitators. Yes, Colorado can do this. Two, let's celebrate all the work of those, over the years, over the globe, who have brought us the progress in this area that we have today. There are excellent new books and skills to learn on this topic that enable us to move forward with confidence. Three, a lot of the hard details on how to build and run these projects are in-hand. One example, at the cohousing conference in July 2010, Sharon Villines detailed the successful "sociocracy" model which works with larger groups, and would be a great match for this project. It's a blend of self-selected facilitators/activators overseen by circles of consensus. We put intention behind building a full robust set of agreements before we start, with excellent boundaries, meritocracy, and organic life-cycle-supporting group/pod frameworks.
This is a small project. 300 homes is not a lot. With 2-5 million conventional homes built every year, we need to think bigger than 10 to 20 homes. (One person guessed this town would have 120,000 homes.) Also, there's a minimum size required to unlock the vibrant and interesting features like the food coop, village center, transportation, large farm, etc. Which attract more people. Also, experienced people know that you can feel isolated with a small number of homes such that you end up driving into town a lot. Also, we could dial it down to 150 homes (or up to 600). And a smaller eco-village project could spawn out of our large database for a smaller piece of property.
Question #10 - "Have there been any land opportunities?"Yes. At this point, about 6 properties have reviewed briefly. But, our mission statement calls for villagers to ignite the land opportunity. We need you first. Without you, too many questions have no answer.
Question #11 - "I'd like to be more involved. How do I do that?"Lots of people are busy with lots of different schedules. For a large project, we can't really hope to get a large group together to meet regularly, so that's why this project starts with an online database, with which people are participating around the clock. The next step is to tell others, and you don't need to wait for any group to give your permission to do that. Now if you have time and willingness to wade in a little deeper, please fill out our volunteer form.
Question #12 - "What is this project? It looks different than other forming groups to date."This is a different model to unlock the common desire to get a larger, more vibrant project built. Perhaps it could be called the "Outreach First Model" or "100% Outreach First". A lot of other groups in the past decades have started with a small core group. Perhaps we could call this the "Living Room Model". The living room model is more satisfying pathway in the short term for smaller projects but has it's short-comings and can be, in some ways, exclusive or limiting. Also, the internet has matured to a point that an inter-generational project can be started in this way.
Question #13 - "What's the next step?"Tell your friends. Tell the folks around you. Send links. Send emails. Talk about it like it's coming, because there's 10,000s of people who are ready for a something new: a better, more affordable, and greener choice. And even local developers are saying it's a great time and place to do it. But you're going to have to make the first move.
Where? When? Who? How? - Make it happen by getting into our database - click below
more somewhat less frequently asked questions - here