Integral Urban Ecovillage Challenge

Country or Countries Where Challenge Takes Place: 

The challenge is to create a network of Integral Urban Ecovillages in the St. Louis Missouri region, as a model for emergency preparedness, distributed renewable power, food and water production, that is grid positive, more as an exporter of goods and services, including capturing and treating precipitation that falls on the site and treating greywater, vegetative waste and sewage for nutrient energy and water recapture and reuse. First we will build a proof of concept as the first piece of a prototype cohousing neighborhood in the Culver Way Ecovillage, the first Integral Urban Ecovillage.

Details: 

The St. Louis region has an abundance of water, vacant and underutilized urban land and buildings, the second highest number of divisions of government per capita, an abundance of nonprofit and civic organizations, geologically stable dry caves, the largest network of greenways in the country, the second largest urban park, top rated botanical garden and other prominent cultural and ecological features in abundance. 

We also have an abundance of seemingly intractable challenges, like a water system that leaks more than it delivers, a combined sewer system that flushes raw sewage into the Mississippi River every time it rains hard, and we are currently in danger of a calamity like Haiti if there is a major shake on the New Madrid fault.

Our region also has an abundance when compared to similar regions of teen pregnancy, infant mortality, high school dropouts, crime, poverty and homelessness. In spite of all this we have a favorable wage to cost of living ratio and are considered a good place to raise a family.  We also are doing quite well at attracting 25 to 30 year olds of late. So what we are looking for is lots of fellow travelers, people who are willing to actively engage in the challenge with whatever tools, talents and treasure that they can bring to the party. 

Specifically, we are establishing a network of cooperatively owned, sustainable businesses that will build, operate, maintain and at least partly supply the initial prototypes and expanding network of Integral Urban Ecovillages. 

Initial businesses will include a full service Integral Urban Ecovillage development company, a green construction company, a Structural Concrete Insulated Panel manufacturing, erection and finishing company, a K-3 micro neighborhood scale charter school, an urban farmers and micro utility co-op, an energy store and renewable energy installation and maintenance company, a restaurant, bakery and micro brewery, a wellness center, a fitness center, a youth hostel, micro business mall/farmers market, as well as an after school youth program engaged in street theater aimed at keeping Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive and a documentary videography as well as production and display space for a variety of arts, crafts, furniture and cabinetry. 

And this is just the beginning.  As the first prototype Integral Urban Ecovillage is built out, we expect to include day care, bed and breakfasts and much more.  As the network of ecovillages expands, we expect to collaborate with various nonprofit civic organizations, levels of government, financial institutions, utilities and universities to address a wider and wider array of regional challenges.

For now we are looking for champions who will take on the accountability for one or more of the planned ventures or a comparable venture that they would like to add to the mix.  We are also looking for champions who will take on additional sites in the St. Louis region and beyond.  We are also looking for pioneers to form resident core groups for the prototype Integral Cohousing Neighborhood. 

There are also lots of opportunities for people who want to live and work in the first cohousing neighborhood, including sweat equity opportunities, and first we need people to join the team to make this happen.

One accountability that we would like to fill especially soon is someone willing to take on the launch and management of a sub-local currency as a way to facilitate some of the above-mentioned opportunities.

Commodity: 
Water, rivers, caves, trails, people, parks, gardens, mineral springs, water, food, old buildings
Custom & Culture: 
Pride in neighborhood, importance of family, symphony, students earning service hours, schools, universities, art galleries
Knowledge: 
Future residents, universities, schools, engineering professors, climate scientists, school of nutrition, Capstone projects, storytellers, gardeners, Botanical Garden
Money: 
Contract with Commerce Bank for tax credits, sub-local currency, equity, unit reservations
Technology: 
Tools, equipment and materials for SCIPs manufacturing and gardening, Integral Urban Ecovillage, You and I technology, cohousing and ecovillage methodology, cost savings synergies among businesses healing arts, transformational training
Well-Being: 
Community focus, health care facilities, alternative health practitioners, dance, gardens, relationships