Appropriate technology villages (though often by a different name) often are places where people live with, make and demonstrate appropriate technology, i.e. technology for sustainability, affordability and appropriateness to its setting. They have similarities with ecovillages and some sustainability-oriented communes, and all these concepts overlap to a degree. Initial schooling into AT is often not available within the AT villages themselves, this is often left to the AT schools, which are often situated in regular cities or villages.

An ecovillage can be considered an appropriate technology village, where the emphasis is indeed on technology and design appropriate to the context, i.e. avoiding greenwash and the temptation to use conventional design with a slight improvement in green credentials.

Real world examples[edit | edit source]

Asia[edit | edit source]

Oceania[edit | edit source]

none as of yet

Africa[edit | edit source]

Europe[edit | edit source]

Latin America[edit | edit source]

North America[edit | edit source]

  • Arcosanti
  • Open Source Ecology - Solar village[2]
  • University of the Nations' "Appropriate Technology Village" in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii[3] (University of the Nations appears to be a Christian university focused on missionary work.)

Proposed examples[edit | edit source]

  • Vinay Gupta, Smári McCarthy and Chriswaterguy have speculated about setting one up, possibly in the South of India or elsewhere in Asia. (We could live in Hexayurts.)
  • A similar concept is Living Co-laboratories, developed by Marcin Jakubowski and Richard Schulte
  • ApTech Village, Bangladesh, "a supportive measure that plans to "show-case" technology to enable transfer of necessary know-how as well as building up of economic, technical, and managerial capabilities for the efficient use and further development of the transferred technology."
  • The Self-help Corporation [2] or Community Investment Enterprise is a way to organize people and resources that are excess to the market - allowing integrated production for consumption by the participants. Such an organization is uniquely suited to employ appropriate technologies as it solicits contributions of labor instead of contributions of capital.
  • Eudea, a proposed wiki-ville, maker-stead, hacker-habitat, tinker-town, and technological eco-village, possibly located within proximity to the Bay Area, California.

Detailed proposal[edit | edit source]

So here's the idea in a nutshell: take a patch of land in some low-cost-of-living area, probably a developing world country, and set up a profusion of different OSAT (open source appropriate technology), permaculture and other innovative living systems side by side. The idea is to have a place where a person can come to see not one working system in each category ("pumps",) but as many systems as can practically be installed and maintained running beside each other to enable comparison and cross training.

People can then come to the village for a year or so, live using the systems, learn their ins and outs, participate in operation and maintenance, install test systems, and generally get a first-class, year-round, fair-and-foul conditions education right across the board. They key is that this education is cheap. People without heavy external financial commitments could spend a year at the village for a few hundred dollars a month, making it an ideal opportunity for local subject matter experts, college students, development workers and similar groups who don't have much money, but may have time.

Funding[edit | edit source]

Land is cheap. We won't worry too much about the land.

Individual technologies - a given well technology, a given growing system - often have dedicated NGOs or academic institutions which support and back that technology. The idea is to approach a profusion of such groups and attempt to cook "stone soup" where each group participates given the participation of other groups. If three or four water groups are each willing to fund the set up of one system on site, it's a lot easier to get the remaining technology groups to participate. And the price of digging one well, in an area with decent infrastructure and other activities along those lines, is not huge. Nor is the cost of putting one volunteer or student in the field for a year to maintain that system, and to learn / teach everything that can be gleaned from the other experts who are their teaching about and maintaining their own systems.

This model: essentially a giant "teach in" among appropriate technology charity representatives, has two unique features.

  1. Everybody is going to be living using the systems they are advocating.
  2. Everybody gets time to learn about, critique, improve and cross-train on other people's systems.

This element, of "eating one's own dog food" by using the systems one promotes is a key factor in open source software development. Innovation is said to come from software developers "scratching an itch" - looking at something that they want to work differently, and then writing the software to make it work that way. In a similar manner, a group of fifty to two hundred appropriate technology experts, living together in a village, for a year or two, sharing ideas, using each others systems, and discussing lessons learned over the history of their technology, could easily become a global resource.

In future years, a mixture of students, locals, NGO workers from further afield, volunteers and those who are curious could come to the village, live for some extended period as a training course, and then return, taking their new found expertise and sense of potential with them, to spread the news about what works around the globe.

Possible? For each organization, we would be asking them to fund development of one of "whatever they do" in the village. One well, one solar cooker per hut, one solar hot water system, whatever it takes. Given that they are already specialized in deployment of these systems, the marginal cost is probably small compared to the likely global benefit. We would also commit to documenting and publicizing the technologies deployed on the ground to help people clearly comprehend how much technological diversity there is in the field. I think a deal like this has a good chance of being attractive enough to individual charities to get participation.

The land is another question, but land is cheap in many locales.

That leaves operating funds for documenting the work, organizing, and perhaps some travel to conferences etc. A few members of staff would be required also, but they'd live at the village, and that would keep costs very, very low.

Vinay Gupta thinks this idea (described here) is entirely plausible and feasible. What do you think?

A proposal is posted at A Village To Heal The Planet: A Practical Whole-Systems Showcase Village

Essential points[edit | edit source]

  1. Community needs to work well and be sustainable
  2. Communities need to be vibrant during times of peace and resilient during times of crisis
  3. The solution must be cost effective for it to be a real solution

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Ekwendeni village
  2. Solar village
  3. "In 1997 (Rus Alit) came to Kona to attend the Crossroads Discipleship Training School and the Project Development Leadership School. During his stay he helped develop U of N's Appropriate Technology Village, putting in water systems, terraced gardens and aquaculture facilities"[1]

See also the Directory of European eco-centers

Attribution[edit | edit source]

This page contains content by Vinay Gupta and Larahna at A Village To Heal The Planet: A Practical Whole-Systems Showcase Village - discussion at, licensed under (CC-BY-SA 3.0? Need confirmation from Vinay.)

See also[edit | edit source]

Discussion[View | Edit]

Hey Chris, what would you consider appro tech villages to be, a type of living collaboratory or vice versa? After this bioregionalist conference i was at this term makes a lot of sense... should we create a living collaboratory page?


I don't know that term, but I'm interested - a page would be great! Bioregionalism also interesting. --Chriswaterguy 04:24, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

AT villages[edit source]

Following countries/villages may be useful to set up projects:

  • Panama (San Blas Islands)
  • Tuvalu
  • Kiribati
  • Vanuatu
  • Nambia (Northern Namibia, San-village; see Ray Mears World of Survival)
  • Western Sahara (Sahrawi)
  • Nicaragua (Corn Islands; Practical action coop)
  • Nigeria (?) or Benin/Togo
  • Haiti (MPP-cooperation; see wikipedia Haiti)
  • Seychelles
  • Maldives
  • Micronesia (Kosrae, Enipein Pah coop CSP, Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization, Rare conservation)
  • India (Andaman/Nicobar Islands Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology)
  • India (Dharavi)
  • India (Chagos Archipelago, coop Diego Garcia military base, Chagos Conservation Trust)
  • Angola (Ilha dos Tigres)
  • Nauru
  • Marshall Islands
  • St. Lucia
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent
  • The grenadines
  • Fiji
  • Samoa
  • Yemen (Shibam)
  • Islands near New Guinea (Triobriand, Carteret)
  • Palau
  • Tokelau
  • Torres Strait Islands
  • okinawa ? (or short description food okinawa ?)
  • Vanuatu (Tanna -->cargo cult may be used to advantage)
  • Alice Springs or near Ayers Rock/Uluru
  • New Vrindaban/hippie towns
  • Cambodia (Phnom Penh -->cooperation ABE/Mlup Baitong)
  • Earthship locations (eg main location at Taos, New Mexico; eg REACH, STAR,...) aswell as and Hawaii, Kenya, England? -->perhaps link-up Wangari Maathai org)
  • Planet Mechanics/It's not easy being green location (+coop Dick Strawbridge/Jem)
  • Transition Penwith.
  • Transition Falmouth.
  • Transition Town Lewes.
  • Transition Ottery St Mary.
  • Transition Bristol.
  • Transition Town Brixton.
  • Transition Forest of Dean

Criteria are eg already present stress from climate change (increases popularity to make countries/villages AT), presence of ethnic populations, ...

Countries/villages may be converted while a documentary is made (eg as too done with "Planet Mechanics", the Scraphouse-project, ...)

sewage nutrients get lost vs tribal comm. let food nutrients recycle

show mardu community - good approach -->moving around -->no cattle farming, very few env. impact, ...

  • show cattle farming community -->not good -->high env. impact
  • show Banjar -not good, swidden culture burns/destroys forest, also very inefficient; great swiddens, low yield
  • show rice growing comm/vegan ?
  • show Desana -->SE Columbia -very good, understand economy/carbon footprint/eco-impact --> restriction in hunting (to avoid stock depletion), heavily engaged in birth control, people with too much children are looked down upon

tell that "however" western innovation has given us fish farms, chicken farms/batteries, ... so western technology can be used to create more environmental systems (than even tribal communities approach) Tell that to this target we must work towards, combine meatless diet with technology

Next movie -communities (new age, new vrindaban, ...), earthships comm


Finally, Mouvman Peyizan Papay Route de Bassin-Zim, Papaye, Hinche Haïti also has a AT village

Intro[edit source]

At the intro, the term healing web or yuimaru can be mentioned and explained (consisting of groups of friends/relatives working together to a common goal; also called a moai's) terms are from the "Okinawa-program" book

Detroit[edit source]

It seems that Detroit would probably be a very good candidate for an AT neighourhood. This as it is currently in disarray and so provides useful benefits:

  • it is quite famous (one of the most known industrial towns), it is also a model for a post-industrial city
  • Detroit has high poverty (33,8% below poverty line), high crime rate (with good neighbourhoods and bad ones; crime mostly appearant after crossing the 8 mile road)
  • Detroit has many abandoned buildings, these can probably be appointed to people willing to refurbish it and live in it. Buildings:
    • Packard building
    • Postal building
    • Ford factory
    • McGregor library
    • Lee Plaza
    • Fisher building
  • it is underpopulated (currently at 800 000 people vs 2 million at full capacity)
  • it has a lively artist community

I'm guessing that it is a very suitable city for factories, since it is built near at the big lakes. References:

Image[edit source]

File:Areas suitable for AT villages.png

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