Village Design and Planning – Permaculture and Patterns

Dancing Rabbit has the exciting and daunting task of designing and building a village with sustainability as a key focus.  While our village is still small, we are growing steadily towards our target population of 500-1000, which keeps our Land Use Planning committee very busy.

Our overarching goal is to design a resource-minimizing and community-promoting, pedestrian-scaled village that minimizes our footprint on our land to leave space for agriculture and wildlife habitat.

Our design has been influenced both by permaculture principles and Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language.   We are creating a village with small homes and productive yards including gardens, fruit trees, and social spaces.  We strive to cluster buildings to increase density and create positive social and ecological interactions between them (eg courtyards, shared infrastructure, etc.)

We encourage passive solar design while also working with the lay of our land and the existing vegetation. It can be challenging to optimize each building for passive solar while still creating a densely clustered village where buildings interact positively.

An ongoing challenge in our design is the tension between overarching design and organic growth. We need to have a plan for the future that holds our values and vision, while also meeting the needs of the current community members. It can be tricky at times to plug each individual’s or family’s vision into the village plan and still promote the long term patterns for growth we are hoping for.

Our current designs show that we might need more land to meet our population goals, but we have time before that need will be urgent.  We’ve currently sketched out space for up to 300 people including homes and businesses, as well as gardens and green spaces.