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My Top 10 Favorite Modern Regenerative Villages: A semi-subjective analysis of emerging, futuristic village projects

This article was released 6 weeks ago on the Terrenity Substack. See the original article here.

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A reader named CJ made this comment on my last article that made me push my entire publication schedule back so I could make this clickbait-y post.

This was in response to the section where I wrote:

There are about 3,500-4,000 documented ecovillages in the world. With Regen Tribe, we’ve databased around 280 new-wave regenerative village initiatives.
Of those, there are 10 that I really admire for their innovation.

Now, this is an opinion piece.

It was a difficult process, especially since I know most of the project vision holders personally.

Ranking villages could seem controversial and even tacky. I hope to share my analysis on what these projects are doing right in my book that gets them on this list and in their order, which in turn is meant to help you, dear village builder.

What I evaluate on

(couldn’t resist making them all start with the letter I)

Innovation - Are they creating new technologies and setting the bar for futurism in their project? How self-sufficient is their infrastructure?

Integrity - How committed are they to regeneration, conservation, inclusivity, and so on? How well does that reflect in their financial model, local impact, % of land development? How much sustainable infrastructure do they have/use?

Involvement - Are they active contributors to the regenerative movement and sharing their learnings as they build? Are they a community-led or developer-led project?

Idea Phase - How far are they in the process of actually offering a permanent place to live the regenerative lifestyle we need to save the planet?

This list intentionally does not include

❌ City-scale projects like Kuyabeh, Nuanu, Auroville, or Nivalis. This list represents "tribal scale" projects where almost everybody will know each other and live in close relationship.

❌ OG ecovillages established in the 60-90s that everyone knows about. Reference these articles from Community Finders and Travel Earth for that.

❌ Coliving projects both urban and rural that are awesome to live at, but not aggressive enough in their sustainable practices or self-sufficient infrastructure.

❌ Regenerative land projects such as tree planting or soil regeneration that do not offer or plan to offer onsite residences.

The List*

*Notice the skew towards Portugal, Costa Rica, and Europe in general. Please put more futuristic villages from Asia and Africa on my radar.

Travis Grant is like our generation’s Jacque Fresco (Venus Project founder).

The Auravana team has put a freakish amount of research and standards into their empirical guide of societal blueprints, and they have created 3 different “habitats” from village to city scale human settlements.

Takeaway: Creating a village is like creating a society at micro-scale, and you have to consider everything from medicine to justice to goods production.

9. Next Gen Village, Switzerland

A tech-forward village project that looks dope.

They developed an extensive 3D village modeling tool I want to see used for other projects, which will be more appropriate when working with a physical piece of land, which is what they still need.

Takeaway: Team members designing the project may or may not actually live in the community, so although it’s really futuristic, it lends more to the theoretical side.

8. la tierra, Costa Rica

I am a proponent of societal redesign, which means rethinking and challenging everything we accept just because it’s normal. la tierra is one of the most imaginative, polycultural, and otherworldly visions for a village.

This vision is articulated extensively in its Village OS. Their original land deal fell through, so if you have land opportunities in Costa Rica, contact Nico.

For me, la tierra is an excellent example of multidisciplinary design lenses coming together in unison to question assumptions about our built environment.

It could still stand to incorporate more tech and social innovation, but before I applied the strict evaluation of being currently land-based, it was my #1.

Takeaway:  I’ve looked at enough village concepts that they all start to look the same. My challenge to you as a village builder is to see what local context you can draw from, and what world experience you want to incorporate. How can you reinvent society at local scale? How can you make your village like no other place on earth?

7. Silveira Tech, Portugal

This project is re-planting 220 hectares of land around the village of Silveira in Serra da Lousã, Portugal.

They have an ambitious land regeneration plan, the village building part of which they are commencing this year. They are steeped in ecocentrism and tech 4 good, and you can see them weaving technology directly into their community plan.

They are a skilled team of engineers, culture designers, and ecosystem specialists, and I am curious to see how they blossom as a hub for truly regenerative systems both natural and technological.

Takeaway: Take their cue and just regenerate already, start with the land, leverage a volunteer program, and don’t wait.

6. Liminal Village, Italy

The main project owners Laura and Roberto are very active in different working groups in the regenerative scene, as well as in their own bioregion.

The only permanent residents right now are the owners and their children, and they host up to 20 people at a time in “hackalong” residencies experimenting with how to make resource-based economy models work.

They are focused on meeting community needs — a kindergarten school, food cooperative, and retreat center — while they work on expanding and acquiring neighboring land.

They are the only village I know that has a farmbot (not operational but hey).

Takeaway: Regenerative villages don’t just turn us into subsistence farmers again, but use technology to empower liberated food systems.

5. The Ark, Costa Rica

This project is taking 80 hectares of overgrazed cattle land, replanting, and using regenerative agriculture practices. They have a very strong commitment to regeneration and offer residents a share of the village's profit.

They are growing a self-sufficient amount of food via a syntropic farm system and have already given 80 of the 88 spaces for people to call home.

Takeaway: As you can see, I prioritize the projects that people can live in today.

4. Future Thinkers, Canada

This community is the brainchild of the Future Thinkers podcast hosts, Euvie Ivanova and Mike Gilliland, and is situated on a 400-acre golf and RV park.

Reappropriating a golf course into a smart village is a hell-yeah moment for cultural regeneration. Reclaiming a space that symbolically represents a system of excess just feels right.

They are are using NFTs to plant trees and fund their village project, which will be experimenting with new systems of society, governance and civilization.

Takeaway: First building a digital community to support your land project when you launch it proves to be an effective approach.

3. Traditional Dream Factory, Portugal

TDF is the first tokenized, land-based DAO in Europe and they are consistently at the epicenter of revillaging in Europe. To date, they’ve planted 3,000+ trees.

Their community land project hosts thought leaders in the ReFi space, and their founder Sam Delesque developed a blockchain platform for other ReFi villages to accept bookings and raise funds.

They are opening TDF to access for free February-April 2024, inviting dreamers and innovators to come play with them and design their future. See more info here. They close completely in the fall and do not yet offer a long-term home for a regenerative life.

Takeaway:  It’s important to provide lodgings for continuity to work on your project year-round. Acquiring a space with existing infrastructure is a win.

2. Regen Villages, Netherlands + other planned locations

Regen Villages was one of the first pioneers to bring “regenerative village” out of counterculture and into the modern mainstream.

The scope of the project is massive and international. They already have a huge waiting list for all their future projects.

This is thanks to the noble work of Stanford professor, James Ehrlich, and Jean-Marc La Flamme

Their Village OS is referred to as “smart city software” meant to masterplan cities according to climate resilience, but it’s still hazy the exact USP.

Takeaway:  The project demands inordinate amounts of funding, and they are integrating more directly into existing urban(ish) spaces, which comes with a lot more red tape. We all wish there were Regen Villages everywhere already.

🎖️Honorable Mentions (order doesn’t matter here)

Not on the list, but in my heart.

Kalu Yala, Panama - A modern adventure village in Panama and actually the reason I first discovered the word ecovillage over 7 years ago.

Selgars, UK - Home to Enchanted, this historic paper mill is transforming into a regenerative village with the magical touches of re:build founder Anton and Mo(rgane), who writes about coliving in Life on Fifth.They have started seasonal coliving and have incredible business savvy that puts them on a fast track to acquiring the stunning, verdant property and making it a permanent home for themselves and others.

Abundancia, Costa Rica - It’s still very much in the vision phase, but has the level of ambition that I like to see. Spearheaded by New Earth Development.

Elleville, Denmark - Designed in part by the prolific engineer Florijn de Graaf, this is a modern scalable village project with incredibly efficient systems.

Alma do Solo, Portugal - 200 hectare project in the Azores designated to be a regenerative village and education center in the mountains for about 20 humans. As of their last update January 2024, the project is in realignment.

Alegria Ecovillage- Located on 70 hectares in the same valley as my #1, and home to the famously charismatic Stephen Brooks, Alegria is a pioneering regenerative village.


1. La Ecovilla Costa Rica

These comprise 4 modern ecovillages in Costa Rica developed by the same team, which is exactly why they are so awesome. They sold out 2 of their 3 family-friendly locations, and I am beyond impressed that they have found a model that works so well that they are able to replicate it.

Did you hear they are going to open an Ecovilla in Italy?

They maintain a rigorous conservation rate of up to 95.5% of their land, with an intense focus on permaculture-based food sovereignty, native plant species, tropical nurseries, and medicinal gardens.

They have planted over 2,000 trees and demonstrate a deep understanding — both ecological and social — of regeneration.

They created a process called Social Lab, based on Otto Sharmer’s Theory U, which they use as a community engagement model to involve future community members in the community creation process.

Common critique is that they attract only wealthy international families, but they offer extensive discounts and financing for locals as well as based on financial need.

Takeaway:  They have successfully created the most number of permanent homes on this list, giving 342+ families a place to live a permanent life in sustainable community (with 248 more potential homes), which at the end of the day is all that matters to me.

This is the only existing one I could really see myself living in…besides the one I’ve started to design myself 🤫

Don’t come after me

This is my personal list of favorites, and not a definitive ranking.

The database I mentioned of projects that are not included here is being added to Tribes, a resource platform for people building regenerative communities. If you have a project you want to showcase, upload it there.

Still list-hungry? My friend Tucker Walsh wrote this excellent list of transformational communities.

Reader, what are your favorite regenerative villages?

Thank you for reading Terrenity. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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