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See also Travel

order and format is a mess. to update and sort. mostly scotland and uk centric so far. contributions welcome.

Some notes on living, covering architectural and social patterns, housing and work collectives and co-ops and other social ecological considerations.

Further to dreaming, there is an aim to find like minded folk to organise, dig and build using low-cost and sustainable techniques, explore and refine living patterns that match built environment to traditional and emergent social concerns, and create somewhere fantastic to live, work, play and grow.

Early inspirations include Homes for Change and Work for Change projects in Hulme, Manchester, and The Forest social centre in Edinburgh, with working group systems and open and progressive philosophies.


See also Organisation#Collaboration, Politics#Collectivism


  • - a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional area (such as a neighborhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development.

  • - a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They typically share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include collective households, cohousing communities, ecovillages, communes, survivalist retreats, kibbutzim, ashrams, and housing cooperatives. New members of an intentional community are generally selected by the community's existing membership, rather than by real-estate agents or land owners (if the land is not owned collectively by the community).
  • Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting cooperative culture. We believe that intentional communities are pioneers in sustainable living, personal and cultural transformation, and peaceful social evolution. “Intentional communities” include ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, income-sharing communes, student co-ops, spiritual communities, and other projects where people live together on the basis of explicit common values.

  • - (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common) is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes.
  • Experiments in Community: Overview - Since July 2008 I have visited a large number of intentional communities; many of them cohousing schemes, some of them eco-villages, some identified primarily as housing cooperatives, and a smaller number of communes. Small-scale ethnographic studies have been conducted in both urban and accessible rural community settings; in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and the USA (states of Washington, Oregon and Virginia). The next leg of my journey of international comparison takes me to Australia (Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria).

  • - a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Pursued in different ways around the world — and in different historical eras — homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation (either socially or physically) of the homestead. Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power and some even invent DIY cars. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.


See also Organising#Collaboration - for facilitation and consensus

  • International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) - a non-profit international association established in 1895 to advance the co-operative social enterprise model. The Alliance provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and coordinated action for and about co-operatives. The Alliance is the apex organisation for co-operatives worldwide, representing 272 co-operative federations and organisations across 100 countries (figures of January 2014). Operating from a global office in Brussels, Belgium, the Alliance is organised with four Regional Offices (Europe, Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific), and eight Sectoral Organisations (Banking, Agriculture, Fisheries, Insurance, Health, Housing, Consumer Co-operatives, and Worker Co-operatives).
  • Cultivate.Coop is an online hub for pooling knowledge and resources on cooperatives. It is a space to collect free information for those interested in cooperatives and where people can build useful educational tools for the co-op community.

  • Radical Routes - a network of housing and worker co-ops and Social centres whose members are actively working for social change in the UK
  • CDS Co-operatives - the largest co-operative housing service agency in England dedicated to promoting, developing, and servicing housing co-operatives controlled by the people who live in them.

  • Community Shares refers to the sale of shares in enterprises serving a community purpose. This type of investment has been used to finance shops, pubs, community buildings, renewable energy initiatives, local food schemes, along with a host of other community based ventures.


  • - a type of intentional community composed of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents – who also share activities which may include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and governance of the community. Common facilities may include a kitchen, dining room, laundry, child care facilities, offices, internet access, guest rooms, and recreational features.
  • The UK Cohousing Network is the UK’s umbrella organisation for established and forming cohousing groups. The Network was established following the UK’s first Cohousing conference held in Lancaster in 2007. The aims of the Network are to; Develop as a resource point for new and forming cohousing groups, Provide an advice point for planners, registered social landlords, and other professionals, Seek ways of making cohousing as financially accessible as possible, Develop and maintain the cohousing website

Promote & signpost workshops for individuals and forming cohousing groups, Promote cohousing via the media, Raise awareness of cohousing, Undertake lobbying & policy development with government ministers and alongside other housing professionals

"... The article describes several attempts, mostly in New York, to commodify the group living experience, in one case by a single landlord but in others by corporations. The whole thing strikes me as a quixotic recuperative attempt by capitalism.

"The whole idea presented in this article reminds me of a management handbook I once read. It began by explaining how study after study and anecdote after anecdote showed that morale was better, productivity was higher, absenteeism was rarer, and creativity and effort flowed in abundance when workers on a project felt like equal partners, felt like they had real agency and freedom, basically when they felt empowered. It then went on to suggest ways to trick your employees into thinking they were equal empowered partners without actually changing any of the fundamental power dynamics in the corporation.

"The idea of a cooperative community of equals is an incomprehensible absurdity to capitalism because it exists outside of the profit-seeking and individualist paradigm. There is no way to understand it within those paradigms. To attempt to privatize, systematize, and commodify such a thing is to destroy it. They are doomed."


  • - a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.

Office and workshop spaces available for hire by resident and local entrepreneurs wishing to run a cooperative business. Public market style fronts for some, shared and private spaces also on offer.

Land management

  • - There are two distinct definitions of a land trust: a private, nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements; or an agreement whereby one party (the trustee) agrees to hold ownership of a piece of real property for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary).
  • - is a nonprofit corporation that develops and stewards affordable housing, community gardens, civic buildings, commercial spaces and other community assets on behalf of a community. “CLTs” balance the needs of individuals to access land and maintain security of tenure with a community’s need to maintain affordability, economic diversity and local access to essential services.
  • Community Land Scotland was established in 2010 as a response to the need for a collective voice for community landowners in Scotland. It is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Our current membership includes Scottish community landowners – owning and managing approx. 500,000 acres between them – and aspiring community landowners of varying shapes and sizes throughout Scotland. We represent these existing and aspiring community landowners to reflect their views in promoting changes to legislation to empower communities, while acting as a point of contact for any communities in Scotland who wish to find out more about community land ownership.
  • The National CLT Network promotes and supports the work of CLTs and its Members across England and Wales. The National CLT Network is the official charity for Community Land Trusts in England and Wales. We work to provide resources, training and advice for CLTs, and advocate on behalf of the CLT movement to Government, local authorities, funders, lenders and others to create the right conditions for CLTs to grow and flourish.


  • Scottish Crofting Federation is the only member-led organisation dedicated to promoting crofting and it is the largest association of small scale food producers in the UK. Our mission is to safeguard and promote the rights, livelihoods and culture of crofters and their communities.


  • A Thousand Huts - Reforesting Scotland's campaign to celebrate, protect, expand and enjoy the world of hutting in Scotland


See also Politics

  • Scottish Land Action Movement - We plan to provide a cohesive network for activists and campaign groups from all over the country to come together and learn from each other. We have a library of resources of all varieties so people can educate themselves on the topic of land reform, reaching far beyond just lairds in their castles. Land reform is just as important to communities in central Glasgow as it is to communities in the Western Isles, and the more knowledge we have about these issues, the more power we can wield in affecting change.
  • Community Planning in Scotland - "Community Planning is … a process ... whereby public services in the area of the local authority are planned and provided after consultation and (on-going) co-operation … among all public bodies ... and with community bodies" -Local Government in Scotland Act 2003
  • Creating Places is the Scottish Government's policy statement on architecture and place. This website is an important element of the policy and it is designed to be a resource for everyone with an interest in the built and natural environment. The site contains resources from across Scotland and beyond, intended to stimulate discussion, share good practice and inspire excellence. We are interested in sharing a wide range of knowledge and lessons and this site will be updated regularly to help develop a comprehensive resource on built and natural environment issues.

  • Self Build Guide for Scotland - This guide is for anyone who is thinking of getting involved in 'self build', but has never built their own home before. We use the term ' self build' in this guide to cover anyone not buying their home second-hand or from a housebuilder in the standard way. But in most cases taking on a self build does not mean you have to do all, or even any, of the building work yourself so you do not have to have construction skills in order to self build. The process for most self builders can be more accurately described as procuring your own home because the household is involved in the design of their home and engaging contractors, but if they employ someone to project manage the build themselves then they may not need to have much involvement in the build project.



See also Organising#Collaboration, Politics#Collectivism, social ecology/communalism

  • - refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings and parks or green space to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply, or energy networks. The built environment is a material, spatial and cultural product of human labor that combines physical elements and energy in forms for living, working and playing. It has been defined as “the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a day-to-day basis”.
  • - refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom they interact.
  • - a community of people who are bound together because of where they reside, work, visit or otherwise spend a continuous portion of their time. Such a community can be a neighborhood, town, coffeehouse, workplace, gathering place, public space or any other geographically specific place that a number of people share, have in common or visit frequently.

  • Appropedia is for collaborative solutions in sustainability, appropriate technology and poverty reduction.


  • Use of patterns, permaculture, social ecology, open architecture.
  • Close proximity to public transport routes.
  • Social centre, shared community spaces and facility.
  • Communal support, education, DIY, tech, arts and crafts.
  • Focus on sustainable uses of resources and energy.


See also Organisation#Patterns, Computing#Patterns

Town and Country: Independent regions (1)
 Problem: Metropolitan regions will not come to balance until each one is small and autonomous enough to be an independent region
 Solution: Wherever possible work towards the evolution of independent regions in the world; each with a population between 2 and 10 million; each with its own natural and geographic boundaries; each with its own economy; each one autonomous and self-governing; each with a seat in a world government, without the intervening power of large states or countries.
Town and Country: Regional policies (2)
 Problem: If the population of a region is weighted too far toward small villages, modern civilization can never emerge; but if the population is weighted too far toward big cities, the earth will go to ruin because the population isn't where it needs to be, to take care of it.
 Solution: Encourage a birth and death process for towns within the region, which gradually has these effects:
 1. The population is evenly distributed in terms of different sizes - for example, one town with 1,000,000 people, 10 towns with 100,000 people each, 100 towns with 10,000 people each, and 1,000 towns with 100 people each.
 2. These towns are distributed in space in such a way that within each size category the towns are homogeneously distributed all across the region.
 This process can be implemented by regional zoning policies, land grants, and incentives which encourage industries to locate according to the 
 dictates of the distribution.
  towns of 1,000,000 - 250 miles apart
  towns of 100,000 - 80 miles apart
  towns of 10,000 - 25 miles apart
  towns of 1,000 - 8 miles apart

  • The Structure of Pattern Languages - Abstract. Pattern languages help us to tackle the complexity of a wide variety of systems ranging from computer software, to buildings and cities. Each "pattern" represents a rule governing one working piece of a complex system, and the application of pattern languages can be done systematically. Design that wishes to connect to human beings needs the information contained in a pattern language. This paper describes how to validate existing pattern languages, how to develop them, and how they evolve. The connective geometry of urban interfaces is derived from the architectural patterns of Christopher Alexander.
  • Manifesto 1991 by Christopher Alexander -- excerpts, reading this is strongly recommended for peeragogues, paragogues, makers, leaders.


  • - green homes for sale, land, organic farms for sale, green businesses for sale

Open Source Ecology

  • Open Source Ecology is accelerating the growth of the next economy - the Open Source Economy - an economy that optimizes both production and distribution - while promoting environmental regeneration and social justice. We are building the Global Village Construction Set. This is a high-performance, modular, do-it-yourself, low-cost platform - that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes - to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.


See also Architecture

  • - a building designed to be operated independently from infrastructural support services such as the electric power grid, gas grid, municipal water systems, sewage treatment systems, storm drains, communication services, and in some cases, public roads.


  • - refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities

Each building including stairs and ramp access to all levels for accessibility.

  • Dementia Villages - The Concept: Around the common and familiar building blocks lifestyles are built from a social approach. Look at day to day life and create conditions for the residents so that they are challenged by recognizable incentives to remain active in daily, precious life. In the nursing home groups residents with shared interests and backgrounds live together in a lifestyle-group. The design and decoration of the homes and surroundings is tailored to the lifestyles.

Open architecture

R. Binnekamp, "Open Design, a Stakeholder-oriented Approach in Architecture, Urban Planning, and Project Management, Vol. 1"

  • "The Open Architecture Network is an online, open source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design. Here designers of all persuasions can: Share their ideas, designs and plans, View and review designs posted by others, Collaborate with each other, people in other professions and community leaders to address specific design challenges, Manage design projects from concept to implementation, Communicate easily amongst team members, Protect their intellectual property rights using the Creative Commons "some rights reserved" licensing system and be shielded from unwarranted liability, Build a more sustainable future."
  • domus: Open Source Architecture (OSArc) - A proposition for a different approach to designing space to succeed the single-author model includes tools from disparate sources to create new paradigms for thinking and building.
  • OpenStructures (OS) project initiates a construction system where everyone designs for everyone. It is an ongoing experiment that wants to find out what happens if people design objects according to a shared modular grid, a common open standard that stimulates the exchange of parts, components, experiences and ideas and aspires to build things together.
  • Urban Versioning System 1.0 - a pamphlet written in the form of a quasi-license by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque, published by the Architectural League of New York as part of the Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series edited by Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz and Mark Shepard on what lessons can architecture learn from software development, and more specifically, from the Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement.
  • Ross Chapin Architects - Plans - a collection of small cottage plans, cabin plans, small house plans, garages, live-aboves, toolsheds, and commons buildings


See also Materials


See also Making





  • Shelter Systems offers a wide range of lightweight, portable, and waterproof yurts, domes, tents, and shelters with a wide range of uses, including: family living spaces, guest rooms and temporary housing, disaster relief shelters, art studios and art installations, circus, fair and exhibition pavilions, camping and expeditions tents, archeological excavation coverings, research tents, ski huts, party and wedding pavilions, storage, bike, and car sheds, pool and jacuzzi covers, and more. Shelter Systems makes all of its structures with a superstrong, tough, UV-resistant, ripstop fabric and its own non-puncturing tarp fastener, the Grip Clip.





Tiny houses, etc.

  • $300 House was first described in a Harvard Business Review blog post by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar. Initially, we just wanted to put the concept out there, but now, due to the tremendous response, we've decided to see how far we can go toward making this idea a reality.
  • Hermit Houses - a unique building method and software package that allows us to design small houses in numerous varieties and quickly make them into reality. With this 'mass-customization' way of producing we can suit local constraints and serve the specific needs of clients without a lot of extra costs.

  • Cabin Porn - Inspiration for your quiet place somewhere.

Earth house


  • YouTube: Earthships: self-sustaining homes for a post-apocalyptic US? - The Greater World Earthship Community, about 70 passive solar homes built from earth and trash on 633 acres, had a rough start; they were shut down as an illegal subdivision in 1997 and it took them 7 years to come to compliance. Though today, the county fully cooperates with Reynolds and his Earthship Biotecture operation to turn trash (tires, cans, glass bottles) into shelters and has even given them 2 acres to experiment with housing in anyway they like (they also provide their recycling). n this video, Tom takes us on a tour of his home, his original “Earthship survival pod”, the “nest” ($50,000 studio apartment), the “Simple Survival Earthship” (aimed mainly at the developing world), a custom home designed to feed a family of four (including a tilapia pond in the greenhouse) and the “BMW of Earthships”, the “Global" (aimed at the typical American family).


Shipping container

3D printed



  • Housing / homes
    • Bunk house
    • Camping
    • Treehouse
    • Live-in vehicle
    • Temporary shelters
    • Legal build
  • Gardens! Etc.
  • Deaf people near party people


  • Social kitchens

Utility space

  • Washing
  • Drying

Social areas

  • Meeting space
  • Event space
  • Library
  • Free shop
  • Chill


See also Making

Production workshop.

  • - a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital fabrication. A fab lab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make "almost anything". This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production. The fab lab movement is closely aligned with the DIY, the open source hardware and the free and open source movement, and shares philosophy as also technology with them.

Woodworking. CNC. Etc.


Forge for metalwork

3D printing


  • Office


See also Horticulture


  • Storage


  • Alt milk


See #Energy 2

  • Coppice


  • Location for;
    • Wind
    • Water


  • - Grid Beam - Open source building system in wood and metal for creating a post carbon future.



  • Informal security pattern - block inward facing green area. See Homes for Change.

Reuse and recycling

to resort


  • - wastewater generated from wash hand basins, showers and baths, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as toilet flushing, landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands. Greywater often includes discharge from laundry, dishwashers and kitchen sinks.
  • Showerloop - a shower that collects, cleans and reuses the water in real time while you are showering.

to sort

  • - IBC tote or pallet tank, is a reusable industrial container designed for the transport and storage of bulk liquid and granulate substances (e.g. chemicals, food ingredients, solvents, pharmaceuticals, etc.). Intermediate bulk containers are stackable containers mounted on a pallet that are designed to be moved using a forklift or a pallet jack. IBCs have a volume range that is situated between drums and tanks, hence the term "intermediate“. The most common sizes are 1,040 liters or 275 U.S. gallons or 229 imperial gallons and 1,250 liters or 330 U.S. gallons or 275 imperial gallons (the 1040 liter IBCs are often listed as being 1000 liters). Cube shaped IBCs give a particularly good utilization of storage capacity compared to palletized drums - one 275 gallon IBC is equivalent to five 55-US-gallon (208 L; 46 imp gal) drums, and a 330 gallon IBC is equivalent to six 55 gallon drums.
  • - or bulk bag, or big bag, is an industrial container made of flexible fabric that is designed for storing and transporting dry, flowable products, such as sand, fertilizer, and granules of plastic. FIBCs are most often made of thick woven polyethylene or polypropylene, either coated or uncoated, and normally measure around 110 cm or 45-48 inches in diameter and varies in height from 100 cm up to 200 cm or 35 to 80 inches. Its capacity is normally around 1000 kg or 2000 lbs, but the larger units can store even more. A bulk bag designed to transport one metric ton of material, will itself only weigh 5-7 lbs.

Urban homesteading


See also Horticulture


  • Organic gardens/farming, permaculture/polyculture, greenhouses.
  • Veg, fruit and herbs produced, optionally produce can be sold.
  • Rain water irrigation.
  • Site-wide composting and recycling scheme.
  • WWOOF, etc. connections.
  • Potential for a managed/wild woodland area depending on area size.


See also compost toilets.


  • AKER creates simple downloadable kits to help you start growing your own food locally. The kits are open source, and have been designed by a global team of collaborators. Order a kit to your front door or our download files to make your own below.

  • - a solar greenhouse managed as an indoor ecosystem. The word bioshelter was coined by the New Alchemy Institute and solar designers Sean Wellesley-Miller and Day Chahroudi. The term was created to distinguish their work in greenhouse design and management from twentieth century petro-chemical fuelled monoculture greenhouses. New Alchemy's pioneering work in ecological design is documented in their published Journals and Reports. In 1976 the Alchemists built the Cape Cod Ark bioshelter and her sister The Prince Edward Island Ark. For the next 15 years the New Alchemy Institute studied and reported on the use of these prototype food producing ecosystems.


  • Plants For A Future - researching and providing information on ecologically sustainable horticulture, as an integral part of designs involving high species diversity and permaculture principles. Approaches such as woodland/forest gardening use a minimal input of resources and energy, create a harmonious eco-system and cause the least possible damage to the environment, while still having the potential to achieve high productivity.

  • - the study of ecological processes that operate in agricultural production systems. The field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, integrated, or conventional; intensive or extensive. Although it has much more common thinking and principles with some of the before mentioned farming systems.
  • - the basic unit of study in agroecology, and is somewhat arbitrarily defined as a spatially and functionally coherent unit of agricultural activity, and includes the living and nonliving components involved in that unit as well as their interactions.
  • - a thorough analysis of an agricultural environment which considers aspects from ecology, sociology, economics, and politics with equal weight. There are many aspects to consider; however, it is literally impossible to account for all of them. This is one of the issues when trying to conduct an analysis of an agricultural environment. In the past, an agroecosystem analysis approach might be used to determine the sustainability of an agricultural system. It has become apparent, however, that the "sustainability" of the system depends heavily on the definition of sustainability chosen by the observer. Therefore, agroecosystem analysis is used to bring the richness of the true complexity of agricultural systems to an analysis to identify reconfigurations of the system (or holon) that will best suit individual situations.

Agroecosystem analysis is a tool of the multidisciplinary subject known as Agroecology. Agroecology and agroecosystem analysis are not the same as sustainable agriculture, though the use of agroecosystem analysis may help a farming system ensure its viability. Agroecosystem analysis is not a new practice, agriculturalists and farmers have been doing it since societies switched from hunting and gathering (hunter-gatherer) for food to settling in one area. Every time a person involved in agriculture evaluates their situation to identify methods to make the system function in a way that better suits their interests, they are performing an agroecosystem analysis.

  • - the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fibre, and land reclamation. Agronomy encompasses work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. Agronomy is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. Agronomists today are involved with many issues including producing food, creating healthier food, managing environmental impact of agriculture, and extracting energy from plants. Agronomists often specialize in areas such as crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, plant physiology, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and insect and pest control.

  • - or agro-sylviculture is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It combines shrubs and trees in agural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems

  • - the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. It is both a practice and a science. The science of arboriculture studies how these plants grow and respond to cultural practices and to their environment. The practice of arboriculture includes cultural techniques such as selection, planting, training, fertilization, pest and pathogen control, pruning, shaping, and removal.

  • - the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest.[1] Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting). Many governments and non-governmental organizations directly engage in programs of afforestation to create forests, increase carbon capture and sequestration, and help to anthropogenically improve biodiversity. (In the UK, afforestation may mean converting the legal status of some land to "royal forest".) Special tools, e.g. tree planting bar, are used to make planting of trees easier and faster.

  • Open Agriculture (OpenAG) Initiative at MIT Media Lab are on a mission to create healthier, more engaging, and more inventive future food systems. We believe the precursor to a healthier and more sustainable food system will be the creation of an open-source ecosystem of food technologies that enable and promote transparency, networked experimentation, education, and hyper-local production. The OpenAG Initiative brings together partners from industry, government, and academia to develop an open source "food tech"​ research collective for the creation of the global agricultural hardware, software, and data commons. Together we will build collaborative tools and open technology platforms for the exploration of future food systems.

  • Boskoi is a free, opensource mobile app that helps you explore and map the edible landscape wherever you are. Named after the greek word for grazer or brouwser the app lays out a map of local fruits and herbs and allows users to edit and add their own finds. Made by the foragers at Urban Edibles in Amsterdam Boskoi is an Ushahidi-based app that comes with a few foraging guidelines.

  • Plant Breeders Rights - article commisioned by The Royal Horticultural Society's magazine The Plantsman in which Michael Wickenden investigates the origins of Plant Breeders' Rights, highlights current problems and suggests a way forward.


  • - a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to "permanent agriculture" but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture," as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming philosophy.

  • - agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes multi-cropping, intercropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping. It is the raising at the same time and place of more than one species of plant or animal. Polyculture is one of the principles of permaculture.

  • - integrates the disciplines of landscape architecture and spatial planning with environmental science and provides an innovative approach in creating a sustainable and nature friendly design and/or construction. Every piece of land is unique and offers different materials and micro-environments, ecoscaping aims to design in harmony with the land and create an environmentally healthy and sustainable landscape. Ecoscaping also strives to take an existing structures and areas (backyards, cities, campuses, etc.) and add ecological balance and greenery. Ecoscaping prides itself on taking a holistic approach to sustainable land use management.

  • - landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as access to water becomes more limited. Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening. In some areas, terms such as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead.
  • - a technique for maximizing beneficial use of water resources of a piece of land. The Keyline refers to a specific topographic feature linked to water flow. Beyond that however, Keyline can be seen as a collection of design principles, techniques and systems for development of rural and urban landscapes.

  • - an approach to the wildcrafting and harvesting of the forest biomass that uses cultivation to improve the natural harmonious systems. It is a relationship of interdependence between humans and the natural systems in which the amount of biomass available from the forest increases with the health of its natural systems. Examples of bioproducts derived from biomass created through permaforestry include: honey, maple syrup and other tree saps, gourmet foods, functional foods, berries, wild mushrooms, ginseng, wild rice, herbs, fiddleheads, fish, frogs and crustaceans, pharmaceuticals, natural health products, essential oils, educational products, arts and crafts, decorative products, floral and greenery, garden horticultural products, woodworking, lumber, biochemicals, biofuels and bioenergy.

  • - a low tract of land, especially one that is moist or marshy.[1] The term can refer to a natural landscape feature or a human-created one. Artificial swales are often designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and increase rainwater infiltration. The swale concept has also been popularized as a rainwater harvesting and soil conservation strategy by Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton and other advocates of permaculture. In this context it usually refers to a water-harvesting ditch on contour. Another term used is contour bund.

  • - an area of land maintained in permanent vegetation that helps to control air, soil, and water quality, along with other environmental problems, dealing primarily on land that is used in agriculture.
  • - a vegetated area (a "buffer strip") near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect a stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. It plays a key role in increasing water quality in associated streams, rivers, and lakes, thus providing environmental benefits. With the decline of many aquatic ecosystems due to agricultural production, riparian buffers have become a very common conservation practice aimed at increasing water quality and reducing pollution.

  • - a plantation usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion. They are commonly planted around the edges of fields on farms. If designed properly, windbreaks around a home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling and save energy. Windbreaks are also planted to help keep snow from drifting onto roadways and even yards. Other benefits include providing habitat for wildlife and in some regions the trees are harvested for wood products.

The term "windbreak" is also used to describe an article of clothing worn to prevent wind chill. Americans tend to use the term "windbreaker" whereas Europeans favor the term "windbreak". Fences called "windbreaks" are also used. Normally made from cotton, nylon, canvas, and recycled sails, windbreaks tend to have three or more panels held in place with poles that slide into pockets sewn into the panel. The poles are then hammered into the ground and a windbreak is formed. Windbreaks or "wind fences" are used to reduce wind speeds over erodible areas such as open fields, industrial stockpiles, and dusty industrial operations. As erosion is proportional to wind speed cubed a reduction of wind speed of 1/2 (for example) will reduce erosion by over 80%.


  • - recognised as the high-end objective among the proponents of sustainable agriculture. Ecological farming is not same as organic farming, however there are many similarities and they are not necessarily incompatable. Ecological farming includes all methods, including but not limited to organic, which regenerate ecosystem services like: prevention of soil erosion, water infiltration and retention, carbon sequestration in the form of humus, increased biodiversity etc... Many techniques are used including no till, multispecies cover crops, strip cropping, terrace cultivation, shelter belts, pasture cropping etc.
  • Ecology Action teaches people worldwide to better feed themselves while building and preserving the soil and conserving resources. Sustainable Mini-Farming — that when practiced correctly, nurtures healthy soil fertility, produces high yields, conserves resources and can be used successfully by almost everyone.

  • openfarm - Learn to farm or garden with community created guides
  • The Farmhouse is located in the heart of Hollywood, California and is home to Farmhouse Publishing, Barn Talks and (formerly) Farmhouse Conf. The Farmhouse and The Friends of the Farmhouse collaborate together or produce separately a slew of projects.


  • - any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.


  • - the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium (known as geoponics). The word "aeroponic" is derived from the Greek meanings of aero- (air) and ponos (labour).





Automation and software

  • Open Ag Toolkit - Precision Farm Management. Android software for agriculture management that improvs the way farmers are able to collect and use information.


Separate housing, work and play spaces. Some living areas away from the social centre, some nearer, variously interconnected to keep potentially loud-at-times noise flow between the two from getting to others (sound insulation between abodes would also be smart).

Communal space linked to the social hub for events such as gigs, parties and festivals, both inside and out, though located far enough away or sheltered from the residential spaces to avoid disturbances.

Residential units arranged manner inviting social interactions between neighbours. Roof-top gardens well placed to catch sun. Allotment space for all units. Fractal/graph topology? Hexagons? Hubs and related spaces, with various 'districts' around and merging with a social centre] complex. Scalability.

  • - or planned city, is any community that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are less frequent in planned communities since they are planned carefully. The term new town refers to planned communities of the new towns movement in particular, mainly in the United Kingdom.

  • - buildings which are used for a range of disparate activities, which can be linked only by being not-for-profit. They might be organizing centers for local activities or they might provide support networks for minority groups such as prisoners and refugees. Often they provide a base for initiatives such as cafes, free shops, public computer labs, graffiti murals, legal collectives and free housing for travellers. The services are determined by both the needs of the community in which the social center is based and the skills which the participants have to offer.

  • - intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Most range from a population of 50 to 150 individuals, although some are smaller, and larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities. Certain ecovillages have grown by the addition of individuals, families, or other small groups who are not necessarily members settling on the periphery of the ecovillage and effectively participating in the ecovillage community.

  • - a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle.
  •ère or Phalanstery was a type of building designed for a utopian community and developed in the early 19th century by Charles Fourier. Fourier named these self-contained communities, ideally consisting of 500-2000 people working together for mutual benefit, after the phalanx, the basic military unit in Ancient Greece.
  • - a sociospatial idea practiced in architecture with intention of the social condenser was to influence the design of public spaces, with a goal of breaking down perceived social hierarchies in an effort to create socially equitable spaces.

  • - the study of the characteristic ways of interaction of inhabitants of towns and cities (urban areas) with the built environment. It feeds into disciplines such as urban planning (the physical design and management of urban structures) and urban sociology (the study of urban life and culture). Many architects, planners, and sociologists investigate the way people live in densely populated urban areas. There is a huge variety of approaches within urbanism. Urbanism's emergence in the early 20th century was associated with the rise of centralized manufacturing, mixed-use neighborhoods, social organizations and networks, and what has been described as "the convergence between political, social and economic citizenship". Urbanism can be understood as placemaking and the creation of place identity at a city-wide level, however as early as 1938 Louis Wirth wrote that it is necessary to stop 'identify[ing] urbanism with the physical entity of the city', go 'beyond an arbitrary boundary line' and consider how 'technological developments in transportation and communication have enormously extended the urban mode of living beyond the confines of the city itself.'

  • - the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages. In contrast to architecture, which focuses on the design of individual buildings, urban design deals with the larger scale of groups of buildings, streets and public spaces, whole neighborhoods and districts, and entire cities, with the goal of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable. Urban design is an inter-disciplinary subject that utilizes elements of many built environment professions, including landscape architecture, urban planning, architecture, civil and municipal engineering. It is common for professionals in all these disciplines to practice in urban design. In more recent times different sub-strands of urban design have emerged such as strategic urban design, landscape urbanism, water-sensitive urban design, and sustainable urbanism.

  • - a technical and political process concerned with the use of land, protection and use of the environment, public welfare, and the design of the urban environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks. Urban Planning is also referred to as urban and regional, regional, town, city, rural planning or some combination in various areas worldwide. Urban planning takes many forms and it can share perspectives and practices with urban design.
  • - an urban planning paradigm that emphasizes involving the entire community in the strategic and management processes of urban planning; or, community-level planning processes, urban or rural. It is often considered as part of community development. Participatory planning aims to harmonize views among all of its participants as well as prevent conflict between opposing parties. In addition, marginalized groups have an opportunity to participate in the planning process.

  • - a socio-environmental theory that combines contemporary urban design with traditional Chinese acupuncture, using small-scale interventions to transform the larger urban context. Sites are selected through analysis of aggregate social, economic and ecological factors, and are developed through a dialogue between designers and the community. Just as the practice of acupuncture is aimed at relieving stress in the human body, the goal of urban acupuncture is to relieve stress in the built environment. Urban acupuncture is intended to produce small-scale but socially catalytic interventions in the urban fabric.

  • - the critique of status quo "urbanism", employed by the Letterist International and then further developed by the Situationist International between 1953 and 1960. The praxis originates from the Lettrist technique of hypergraphics which was applied to architecture by the Lettrist International (LI). The UU critique of urbanism was further developed in the 1950s by the LI, and consists of a range of practices that include, but are not limited to: The situation, The dérive (drift), Psychogeography, Detournement, industrial painting, recuperation, Revolution

"The hacienda must be built."

"This new vision of time and space, which will be the theoretical basis of future constructions, is still imprecise and will remain so until experimentation with patterns of behavior has taken place in cities specifically established for this purpose, cities assembling — in addition to the facilities necessary for basic comfort and security — buildings charged with evocative power, symbolic edifices representing desires, forces and events, past, present and to come. A rational extension of the old religious systems, of old tales, and above all of psychoanalysis, into architectural expression becomes more and more urgent as all the reasons for becoming impassioned disappear.

"Everyone will live in their own personal “cathedral.” There will be rooms more conducive to dreams than any drug, and houses where one cannot help but love. Others will be irresistibly alluring to travelers. . . .

"This project could be compared with the Chinese and Japanese gardens of illusory perspectives [en trompe l’oeiI] — with the difference that those gardens are not designed to be lived in all the time — or with the ridiculous labyrinth in the Jardin des Plantes, at the entry to which is written (height of absurdity, Ariadne unemployed): Games are forbidden in the labyrinth.

"This city could be envisaged in the form of an arbitrary assemblage of castles, grottos, lakes, etc. It would be the baroque stage of urbanism considered as a means of knowledge. But this theoretical phase is already outdated. We know that a modern building could be constructed which would have no resemblance to a medieval castle but which could preserve and enhance the Castle poetic power (by the conservation of a strict minimum of lines, the transposition of certain others, the positioning of openings, the topographical location, etc.).

"The districts of this city could correspond to the whole spectrum of diverse feelings that one encounters by chance in everyday life.

"Bizarre Quarter — Happy Quarter (specially reserved for habitation) — Noble and Tragic Quarter (for good children) — Historical Quarter (museums, schools) — Useful Quarter (hospital, tool shops) — Sinister Quarter, etc. And an Astrolarium which would group plant species in accordance with the relations they manifest with the stellar rhythm, a planetary garden along the lines the astronomer Thomas wants to establish at Laaer Berg in Vienna. Indispensable for giving the inhabitants a consciousness of the cosmic. Perhaps also a Death Quarter, not for dying in but so as to have somewhere to live in peace — I’m thinking here of Mexico and of a principle of cruelty in innocence that appeals more to me every day.

"The Sinister Quarter, for example, would be a good replacement for those hellholes, those ill-reputed neighborhoods full of sordid dives and unsavory characters, that many peoples once possessed in their capitals: they symbolized all the evil forces of life. The Sinister Quarter would have no need to harbor real dangers, such as traps, dungeons or mines. It would be difficult to get into, with a hideous decor (piercing whistles, alarm bells, sirens wailing intermittently, grotesque sculptures, power-driven mobiles, called Auto-Mobiles), and as poorly lit at night as it was blindingly lit during the day by an intensive use of reflection. At the center, the “Square of the Appalling Mobile.” Saturation of the market with a product causes the product’s market value to fall: thus, as they explored the Sinister Quarter, the child and the adult would learn not to fear the anguishing occasions of life, but to be amused by them.

"The main activity of the inhabitants will be CONTINUOUS DRIFTING. The changing of landscapes from one hour to the next will result in total disorientation. . . .

"Later, as the gestures inevitably grow stale, this drifting [dérive] will partially leave the realm of direct experience for that of representation. . . ."

  • - a theory of urban planning composed of a set of ten axioms intended to guide the formulation of city plans and urban designs. They are intended to reconcile and integrate diverse urban planning and management concerns. These axioms include environmental sustainability, heritage conservation, appropriate technology, infrastructure-efficiency, placemaking, social access, transit-oriented development, regional integration, human scale, and institutional integrity. The term was coined by Prof. Christopher Charles Benninger.

  • - an urban design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types.[1] It arose in the United States in the early 1980s, and has gradually influenced many aspects of real estate development, urban planning, and municipal land-use strategies.
  • - the taxonomic classification of (usually physical) characteristics commonly found in buildings and urban places, according to their association with different categories, such as intensity of development (from natural or rural to highly urban), degrees of formality, and school of thought (for example, modernist or traditional). Individual characteristics form patterns. Patterns relate elements hierarchically across physical scales (from small details to large systems).

  • - a theory of urban planning arguing that the best way to organize cities is through the design of the city's landscape, rather than the design of its buildings. The phrase 'landscape urbanism' first appeared in the mid 1990s. Since this time, the phrase 'landscape urbanism' has taken on many different uses, but is most often cited as a postmodernist or post-postmodernist response to the "failings" of New Urbanism and the shift away from the comprehensive visions, and demands, for modern architecture and urban planning.

  • - draws from ecology to inspire an urbanism that is more socially inclusive and sensitive to the environment, as well as less ideologically driven, than green urbanism or sustainable urbanism. In many ways, ecological urbanism is an evolution of, and a critique of, Landscape Urbanism arguing for a more holistic approach to the design and management of cities. The term appeared first in 1998 as "EcoUrbanism" in a book by Architect and Planner Miguel Ruano, who defined it as "the development of multi-dimensional sustainable human communities within harmonious and balanced built environments".

  • - the theory of how environmental design and planning of new development should relate to its project. When decisions have been made they are implemented by means of land Use plans, zoning plans and environmental assessments. A number of context theories set out principles for relationships new designs and the existing environment.

  • - a preliminary phase of architectural and urban design processes dedicated to the study of the climatic, geographical, historical, legal, and infrastructural context of a specific site. The result of this analytic process is a summary, usually a graphical sketch, which sets in relation the relevant environmental information with the morphology of the site in terms of parcel, topography, and built environment. This result is then used as a starting point for the development of envi
  • - in landscape architecture and architecture refers to the organizational stage of the landscape design process. It involves the organization of land use zoning, access, circulation, privacy, security, shelter, land drainage, and other factors. This is done by arranging the compositional elements of landform, planting, water, buildings and paving in site plans. Site planning generally begins by assessing a potential site for development through site analysis. Information about slope, soils, hydrology, vegetation, parcel ownership, orientation, etc. are assessed and mapped. By determining areas that are poor for development (such as floodplain or steep slopes) and better for development, the planner or architect can assess optimal location and design a structure that works within this space.

ronment-related strategies during the design process.

  • - an architectural plan, landscape architecture document, and a detailed engineering drawing of proposed improvements to a given lot. A site plan usually shows a building footprint, travelways, parking, drainage facilities, sanitary sewer lines, water lines, trails, lighting, and landscaping and garden elements. Such a plan of a site is a "graphic representation of the arrangement of buildings, parking, drives, landscaping and any other structure that is part of a development project"

"While experiential qualities of rectangular architectural spaces can be effectively predicted fromproperties like room proportions or area (Franz, von der Heyde, & B ̈ulthoff, 2003), these factorsfrom normative architectural knowledge obviously cannot be directly transfered on open-planindoor spaces. Phenomenologically as well as in empirical aesthetics, nontrivial forms are often compared by collative variables (e.g., complexity, regularity, cf. Berlyne, 1960, 1972) that are introspective assessment criteria of structural properties of a stimulus array (Wohlwill, 1976) and have proven to allow predictions mainly on the arousal dimension of affective experience (Stamps,2000). In the following, we introduce a novel approach that relates affective and collative qualities of arbitrarily shaped architectural spaces to directly measurable parameters. The concept of isovists (i. e. viewshed polygons, cf. Benedict, 1979) is used to generically describe spatial properties of architectural spaces from a perceptually-oriented viewer-centered perspective."

  • - a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages). "Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts."
  • - also called open space preserve, open space reservation, and green space) is an area of protected or conserved land or water on which development is indefinitely set aside. The purpose of an open space reserve may include the preservation or conservation of a community or region's rural natural or historic character; the conservation or preservation of a land or water area for the sake of recreational, ecological, environmental, aesthetic, or agricultural interests; or the management of a community or region's growth in terms of development, industry, or natural resources extraction.

  • Urban Land Institute - provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by members representing the entire spectrum of real estate development and land use disciplines.


See also Travel



See also Electronics

With an aim toward zero-energy development and a use of microgeneration via solar, wind and/or hydro power.

  • - an integrated approach to supplying a local community with its energy requirements from renewable energy or high-efficiency co-generation energy sources. The approach can be seen as a development of the distributed generation concept. Such systems are based on a combination of district heating, district cooling, plus 'electricity generation islands' that are interlinked via a private wire electricity system (largely bypassing the normal power grid to cut transmission losses and charges, as well as increasing the robustness of the system). The surplus from one generating island can therefore be used to make up the deficit at another.
  • - the use of a heat engine or power station to simultaneously generate electricity and useful heat. Trigeneration or combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) refers to the simultaneous generation of electricity and useful heating and cooling from the combustion of a fuel or a solar heat collector. A plant producing electricity, heat and cold is called a trigeneration or polygeneration plant.

  • OpenEnergyMonitor is a project to develop open-source energy monitoring tools to help us relate to our use of energy, our energy systems and the challenge of sustainable energy.

  • CfR is a social enterprise that helps proactive communities harness the value of their renewable energy resources, and retain that value within the local economy.



DIY VAWTs? are there DIY designs, non-patent encumbered, for later VAWT styles that overcome pulsatory torque issues?

  • Zephyr, named after the greek god of the West-Wind, is the concept of a small-scale and modular DIY Wind-Harvesting-System, designated to work in low-wind areas, keeping sustainability, efficiency, resilience and safety in mind.
  • OpenWind is an open source platform designed to empower scientists and engineers working in the field of technical wind energy consultancy and to provide transparency to those whose job it is to see that the industry remains on a firm financial footing.
  • [35] "Three blades is the smallest number that reduces the vibrations due to the blades crossing the support structure. When a blade crosses the support its applied force is reduced because the wind is slower around the support. This reduction in forces creates a yawing torque that can lead to unwanted vibrations. Much of the structural stiffness and bearing requirements are related to these effects. Three blades minimizes the effect because when one blade crosses the support the other two blades are out in a Y shape, shortening the force differential when compared to two blades."


  • Solarflower is an open source solar energy collector which tracks the sun automatically through a simple non-electrical mechanism. It can be made almost anywhere from common recycled and salvaged materials using basic tools and skills, is portable, has no running costs or emissions, and can produce up to kilowatts of power per device.
  • DIY Solar Guide - "esource for Solar Energy products, information, and do-it-yourself guides"

Solar PV


Arguably the most consistent form of microgeneration, if you have a river or stream handy that is..


  • - renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other by products from a variety of agricultural processes. By 2010, there was 35 GW (47,000,000 hp) of globally installed bioenergy capacity for electricity generation, of which 7 GW (9,400,000 hp) was in the United States.

In its most narrow sense it is a synonym to biofuel, which is fuel derived from biological sources. In its broader sense it includes biomass, the biological material used as a biofuel, as well as the social, economic, scientific and technical fields associated with using biological sources for energy. This is a common misconception, as bioenergy is the energy extracted from the biomass, as the biomass is the fuel and the bioenergy is the energy contained in the fuel. here is a slight tendency for the word bioenergy to be favoured in Europe compared with biofuel in America.

  • - organic matter derived from living, or recently living organisms. Biomass can be used as a source of energy and it most often refers to plants or plant-based materials which are not used for food or feed, and are specifically called lignocellulosic biomass. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: thermal, chemical, and biochemical methods.
  • Biomass Energy Centre is the UK government information centre for the use of biomass for energy in the UK

  • - a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes. Renewable biofuels generally involve contemporary carbon fixation, such as those that occur in plants or microalgae through the process of photosynthesis. Other renewable biofuels are made through the use or conversion of biomass (referring to recently living organisms, most often referring to plants or plant-derived materials). This biomass can be converted to convenient energy-containing substances in three different ways: thermal conversion, chemical conversion, and biochemical conversion. This biomass conversion can result in fuel in solid, liquid, or gas form. This new biomass can also be used directly for biofuels.

  • - grown as an energy crop for use in power stations, alone or in combination with other fuels such as coal. It is similar to historic fuelwood coppice systems. SRF is the practice of cultivating fast-growing trees that reach their economically optimum size between eight and 20 years old. Species used are selected on this basis and include Alder, Ash, Southern Beech, Birch, Eucalyptus, Poplar, Willow, new varieties of paulownia elongata, Paper mulberry, Australian Blackwood and Sycamore. Trees are planted at widths that allow for quick growth and easy harvesting. They are usually felled when they are around 15 cm wide at chest height, this takes from 8 to 20 years. This compares with 60 years or more for standard forestry crops. When felled, SRF trees are replaced by new planting or, more usually, allowed to regenerate from the stumps as coppice.

  • - coppice grown as an energy crop. This woody solid biomass can be used in applications such as district heating, electric power generating stations, alone or in combination with other fuels. Currently, the leading countries in area planted for energy generation are Sweden and the UK.

  • Willow short rotation coppice (SRC) - Willow (Salix spp.) is planted as rods or cuttings in spring using specialist equipment at a density of 15,000 per hectare. The willow stools readily develop multiple shoots when coppiced and several varieties have been specifically bred with characteristics well suited for use as energy crops. During the first year it can grow up to 4m in height, and is then cut back to ground level in its first winter to encourage it to grow multiple stems.

The first harvest is in winter, typically three years after cut back, again using specialist equipment, however a cycle of 2 or 4 to 5 years is also common. In fertile sites growth can be very strong during the first two years after coppicing, giving rapid site capture, reducing thereafter and so a 2 year cutting cycle may be more appropriate. Yield is dependent on many factors, including: Site, Water availability, Weed control, Planting density, Light, Temperature. Typically the first harvest may be expected to be somewhat lower than subsequent ones, and figures from 7 to 12 oven dried tonnes per hectare per annum can be expected on reasonably good sites.

Harvesting may be as rods (up to 8 m length), billets (5-15 cm lengths) or as direct chip harvesting. Direct chip harvesting can cause problems for storage with rapid composting (and hence loss of energy content) and mould formation (and attendant health risks) owing to the high moisture content of freshly harvested willow. This can be less of a problem with billets owing to improved air flow through the pile. A willow SRC plantation may be expected to be viable for up to 30 years before it becomes necessary to replant and can reach 7-8 m in height at harvest. The site should be reasonably flat, or with a slope no more than 7%.

  • Poplar short rotation coppice (SRC) - "Poplar (Populus spp.) displays more apical dominance than willow and is therefore less ready to develop multiple stems following coppicing. Shoots can reach up to 8 m by the end of the first rotation. It therefore tends to develop fewer, thicker stems than willow, and consequently has a lower bark to wood ratio. Individual shoots can reach up to 8 m by the end of the first 3 year rotation.

"Poplar is planted in spring, from cuttings. These cuttings must have an apical bud within 1 cm of the top of the cutting. Because of this it is difficult to use poplar in equipment developed for planting willow short rotaion coppice. Planting density is lower than for willow, typically 10-12,000 per ha. Cut back takes place late in the following winter. Yield is very site dependent, and in some sites can out perform willow. Average yield on a suitable site is likely to be in the region of 8 oven dry tonnes per hectare per year.

"Poplar responds well to harvesting cycles of around four or five years which is slightly longer than the 3 years often recomended for willow. This is because growth in the first year following cutback or harvest is generally not as rapid as in subsequent years. Combined with a very up right growth habit this means that the crop may not develop a closed canopy, and hence maximum light interception, until the second or third year.

"Harvesting requires similar equipment to willow, however, owing to the tendency of poplar to form fewer, heavier stems, it must be slightly more robust.Removal of a poplar crop at the end of the useful life of the plantation can be more difficult than for willow as poplar often forms a large taproot which will generally require a large excavator to remove or more time to decay naturally."

  • - or pellets, are biofuels made from compressed organic matter or biomass. Pellets can be made from any one of five general categories of biomass: industrial waste and co-products, food waste, agricultural residues, energy crops, and virgin lumber. Wood pellets are the most common type of pellet fuel and are generally made from compacted sawdust and related industrial wastes from the milling of lumber, manufacture of wood products and furniture, and construction. Other industrial waste sources include empty fruit bunches, palm kernel shells, coconut shells, and tree tops and branches discarded during logging operations. So-called "black pellets" are made of biomass, refined to resemble hard coal and were developed to be used in existing coal-fired power plants. Pellets are categorized by their heating value, moisture and ash content, and dimensions. They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking. Pellets are extremely dense and can be produced with a low moisture content (below 10%) that allows them to be burned with a very high combustion efficiency.

Further, their regular geometry and small size allow automatic feeding with very fine calibration. They can be fed to a burner by auger feeding or by pneumatic conveying. Their high density also permits compact storage and transport over long distance. They can be conveniently blown from a tanker to a storage bunker or silo on a customer's premises. A broad range of pellet stoves, central heating furnaces, and other heating appliances have been developed and marketed since the mid-1980s. In 1997 fully automatic wood pellet boilers with similar comfort level as oil and gas boilers became available in Austria. With the surge in the price of fossil fuels since 2005, the demand for pellet heating has increased in Europe and North America, and a sizable industry is emerging.

  • - also known as a pellet press, is a type of mill or machine press used to create pellets from powdered material. Pellet mills are unlike grinding mills, in that they combine small materials into a larger, homogeneous mass, rather than break large materials into smaller pieces.

  • - a medium-sized solid material made by cutting, or chipping, larger pieces of wood. Woodchips may be used as a biomass solid fuel and are raw material for producing wood pulp. They may also be used as an organic mulch in gardening, landscaping, restoration ecology, bioreactors for denitrification and mushroom cultivation. Woodchips have been traditionally used as solid fuel for space heating or in energy plants to generate electric power from renewable energy. The main source of forest chips in Europe and in most of the countries have been logging residues. It is expected that the shares of stumps and roundwood will increase in the future. As of 2013 in the EU, the estimates for biomass potential for energy, available under current conditions including sustainable use of the forest as well as providing wood to the traditional forest sectors, are: 277 million m3, for above ground biomass and 585 million m3 for total biomass. The newer fuel systems for heating use either woodchips or wood pellets. The advantage of woodchips is cost, the advantage of wood pellets is the controlled fuel value. The use of woodchips in automated heating systems, is based on a robust technology.


  • Helios - The goal of this project is to develop a robust, versatile and resource-effective biomass micro-gasifier by combining a controlled-draft TLUD (Top-Lit Up-Draft) gasifier with an array of TEGs (Thermo Electric Generators) and a microcontroller to optimize the gasification process.



Fuel cell

See also Electrical#Storage




  • Renewable Energy UK - "up to date information about alternative energy generation. ... main focus is on wind power and solar power for the home"
  • Altenergy - "DIY Alternative Energy Projects"

  • Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative Ltd was formed at the end of 2007 with the support of Co-operative Development Scotland. It is a non-profit, member owned organisation, which was set up to give Edinburgh residents a vehicle to promote and develop renewable and low-carbon energy in the city.
  • "This week, Jase Kuriakose an engineer at CAT turned on the UK’s first totally renewable micro grid. The systems works by combining all the wind, solar, bio mass and hydro energy we produce at CAT and storing it in a battery bank. When it needs more energy it simply connects to the grid through an intelligent electronic control device to take more, when we are producing too much it gives the energy to the national grid."

to sort

  • Energy Overviews delivers energy industry specific business intelligence that "shows you the money", gives you the tools to turn information into action, and helps you build your business.
  • volkszaehler is a free smart meter (here: smart meters) in DIY. All necessary data will remain under the control of the user.


  • Global Ecovillage Network
    • GEN db - Database of the Global Ecovillage Network. Behind the scenes a fantastic system is developed which allows you to share information about your project, your events, your resources and much more.



Ecovillage Findhorn

  • Ecovillage Findhorn - "The Findhorn ecovillage is a synthesis of the very best of current thinking on sustainable human settlements. It is a constantly evolving model providing solutions to human and social needs, while at the same time working in partnership with the environment to offer an enhanced quality of life for all.

"The Ecovillage Project has developed a unique construction system, environmentally sound and energy efficient. Using natural and non-toxic materials we have developed a breathing wall structure, which allows the fabric of a building to interact beneficially with people to moderate humidity and air quality. We have also experimented with straw bale construction, the Earthship system using recycled car tyres, and remain open to further new and innovative ecological solutions for the built environment."


  • Talamh is currently home to 8 adults, and a teenager, some living in our 17th century listed farmhouse, others in caravans and living vehicles in and around the paddock. we share food and cooking, eating together every evening and some lunchtimes. Most of the bread here is homemade, and we also eat lots of cakes and puddings to use up the masses of homegrown fruit. We grow lots of vegetables and keep hens for eggs. Most of our heating is from woodstoves.

Decisions are made by consensus at weekly meetings, but a lot of informal discussion takes place at mealtimes or around the fire. There is always plenty to do here, growing vegetables, processing firewood, working on the buildings. We have recently begun an extensive programme of renovations, working on roofs and floors. Talamh functions in an informal, unstructured way, and plenty of self-motivation is required, combined with a communicative, co-operative approach.

We are into : working towards sustainability and low-impact living, looking after our land and encouraging wildlife and biodiversity, growing our own veg and fruit, trying to keep all our buildings from falling down, opposing Trident, trying to stop opencast coal mining ever extending further across this area, playing music, eating good food, looking out for each other, working to resolve conflict, laughing about stuff round the fire, eating chips, growing willow to make baskets, trying to fix the hydro, and composting our poo.

Carbeth Hutters

  • Carbeth Hutters Community Company was set up in 2008 when the members of Carbeth Hutters Association voted to become a Community Company. The Company was formed to benefit persons entitled to occupy any property within the Carbeth Estate Conservation Area. The Company is run by its directors who are voted in by the company's ordinary members to carry out work on behalf of its members.

West Granton Housing Co-operative Ltd

Sprouts Housing Cooperative

  • Sprouts Housing Cooperative - "We are a group of people committed to creating a radical housing cooperative in [Edinburgh], so that we can escape the landlord system which makes us poor and angry."

The Farmhouse

  • The Farmhouse is a building in disrepair in the community garden in Elder Park Govan. The plan is to renovate the building and create an independent resource centre. Involving local people in the planning and using the project as a process of education.

Sustainable Communities Initiatives

  • "Sustainable Communities Initiatives (SCI), an educational charity set up in August 2000 to demonstrate, inspire and support initiatives that build community through waste and don't rely on fossil fuel energy. ... It is the aim of Sustainable Communities Initiatives to demonstrate the Earthship's performance in the Scottish climate, as well as the costs involved and the best route through planning and building control."

Kinghorn Community Centre

  • Kinghorn Community Centre is run by a voluntary Management Committee on behalf of Fife Council. The Centre is a purpose built facility accommodating various sports groups and social activities. The Centre is the hub of the community as we help out other organisations by advertising forthcoming local events and selling tickets.

The Ecology Centre

  • The Ecology Centre is a community based charity which was established as a non-profit making organisation in August 1998. The organisation came into being through an advisory group set up by people from the local community and residents of Craigencalt Farm. With the help of the Scottish Land Fund, we were able to purchase the land at the east end of Kinghorn Loch, which will house our new centre and grounds. The grounds are currently being developed by staff and volunteers and will be used in the future for our growing projects, Education Visits and outdoor volunteer days, our new site will continue to be a well-managed area of biodiversity and a haven for natural wildlife.

South West Community Woodlands Trust

  • South West Community Woodlands Trust is a registered charity established in 1997 with the aim to; conserve and regenerate woodlands; to reconnect people, especially the young, to local biodiversity by involving them in woodland crafts and woodland management; and foster appreciation and respect for the countryside.


Homes for Change

a quick overview of the co-operative (.pdf)

"Homes for Change [in Hulme, Manchester] is a Housing co-operative whose intention is to provide low cost social housing to a diverse range of people in the community. The way Homes for change keeps it's rents low is by managing and running the building themselves. more

"The buildings comprise an introverted block with almost all activity at the back, and while the streets outside are consequently quieter than might be desirable, public spaces inside the block are relaxed since tenants are known to each other and an informal surveillance operates, as specified in the brief. This works well without creating a fortress mentality, resulting in a comfortable but vibrant public area, and inside the block the sense of community is visible in residents' extensive use of the joint outdoor spaces. Recesses in the building fronts create opportunities to personalise the interfaces between shared and private areas, and Phase One is now well lived in with personal ornamentation, gardens, furniture, flower pots, play equipment, seats on balconies and access decks, toys for children and well tended small private and shared gardens in courtyards.

The success of Homes for Change lies partly in the fact that the residents all opted for this life-style through joining a co-operative, but the designers also took care that private outdoor space is available for most units and direct access to front doors is also critically well designed.

Earthworm Housing Co-operative

London Fields Solutions

  • London Fields Solutions [42] - we bought two streets in Hackney (28 properties) and turned it into as a housing co-op housing 58 people. Long term squatters put together a regeneration plan and got loans from various agencies to purchase the properties and put them back together. Rebuilt with ecological and community considerations in urban London. Hard work for sure but it can be done. Still going strong.


  • LILAC means Low Impact Living Affordable Community. We are the UK's first affordable ecological cohousing project: a community of 20 households and a common house, based in Bramley, West Leeds.

Beddington Zero Energy Development

"The Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED, in Sutton, Surrey) is the UK’s first and largest carbon neutral eco-community. It is a mixed-use, mixed-tenure development that incorporates innovative approaches to energy conservation and environmental sustainability. The BedZED design concept was driven by the desire to create a net 'zero fossil energy development', one that will produce at least as much energy from renewable sources as it consumes." Wikipedia article.

Hockerton Housing Project

  • "The Hockerton Housing Project, Nottinghamshire, is the UK's first earth sheltered, self-sufficient ecological housing development. Project members live a holistic way of life in harmony with the environment, in which all ecological impacts have been considered and accounted for. The residents of the five houses generate their own clean energy, harvest their own water and recycle waste materials causing no pollution or carbon dioxide emissions. The houses are amongst the most energy efficient, purpose built dwellings in Europe."

Steward Community Woodland

Kew Bridge Ecovillage

Tinker's Bubble



The Lammas

  • The Lammas project centres around the ecovillage at Tir y Gafel, in North Pembrokeshire, combining a traditional smallholding model with the latest innovations in environmental design, green technology and permaculture. The ecovillage was granted planning permission in 2009 by the Welsh Government and is currently part-way through the construction phase. Sited on 76 acres of mixed pasture and woodland, its heart consists of 9 smallholdings positioned around a Community Hub building, and it is supported by a range of peripheral projects and networks.

Brithdir Mawr

Northern Ireland

Lackan Cottage Farm



  • Christiania covers an area of more than 85 acres and houses almost one thousand inhabitants, but every year, more than a million people visit the Freetown. Some of them use Christiania almost every day, others pay a quick visit to the village in the middle of Copenhagen. Christiania is thus one of the greatest tourist attractions in Copenhagen, and abroad it is a well-known “brand” for the progressive and liberated Danish lifestyle. Many Danish businesses and organizations also use Christiania as a show place for their foreign friends and guests. The purpose is to show something Danish that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.



Mietshäuser Syndikat

Patrick Henry Commune

North America

Lasquet Island

  • Lasquet Islandi lies in the Georgia Strait, north of French Creek (on Vancouver Island), and southwest of Texada Island, Canada. It is approximately 8 km wide and 22 km long, with an area of 73.56 km2. About 350 permanent residents call Lasqueti home. It is accessible by foot passenger ferry service only, or by private boat or plane.

Twin Oaks

  • "Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 85 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, non-violence, equality, and ecology." Wikipedia article.

Alpha Farm

  • Alpha Farm is an intentional community of people who have chosen to live and work together to share a more harmonious way of living. At our home in rural western Oregon, we live the largely self-reliant style of a close-knit expanded family; we average 15 to 20 people, including singles, couples and families, and have ranged in age from infants to elderly.

Dancing Rabbit

  • Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage - we understand how difficult it can be to live sustainably and responsibly within modern US culture. We believe that we can work to build a healthy alternative: a social structure that is both non-exploitative and vibrant. As our village grows, we see this ideal take shape more clearly every day: a diverse range of people living ecologically sound lives in a community that truly serves as an example of positive human action within the natural world.

Sirius Community

  • Sirius Community - An educational non-profit and eco-village celebrating over 35 years of educating and role-modelling for planetary healing. Visitors experience the awe & magic of nature, meditation, community, and sacred daily living. Sirius community was founded in September 1978 by former members of Findhorn Community in Scotland wishing to establish a similar community in their American homeland. Its foundation is spiritual, but in a non-sectarian manner that allows for each person to find their own way to the heart of all beingness and reality. The shared expression reflects reverence for all Life and willingness to live in accord with this intention as much as possible. We thus employ ecologically sustainable methods of living and a consensus-style governance process, striving to honor all that is.


  • Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

Work coops

  • Seeds for Change] - activists providing support and training to activists, campaigners, community groups and co-operatives. We're a network of activist training co-ops providing training and workshops on group and campaign skills. We support people who want to make our world a better and more sustainable place. Have a look at our guides and briefings which have lots of practical skills and ideas to make your meetings run smoothly and painlessly, not to mention making your campaign or project a success! We cover topics like consensus decision making, facilitating meetings, how to win your campaign, publicity, and taking action. All our materials are free.
  • "Work for Change is a co-operative made up of tenants of the workspace at 41 Old Birley Street, Hulme. It is a company limited by guarantee, with co-operative rules. Work for Change rents space on flexible terms to local, ethical, and cultural businesses. The company aims to create a supportive atmosphere for small businesses to succeed, welcoming both existing and new start businesses. There are offices of a range of sizes, artists areas, workshops and a cafe, as well as a small theatre (The YARD). We are currently developing a second phase of 13 small units and would like to hear from anyone interested in moving in to these.
    • "The workspace was designed by the businesses involved at that time, many of which are still tenants. Some people choose to live and work in the building, while others are involved in only one of the co-operatives. Most people in Work for Change live in the Hulme area and the building remains one of the most important community led initiatives in the country."
  • "URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) does what our name suggests ­ we specialise in urban design and sustainability in an urban context. ... an employee-owned co-operative, we now have 16 staff and associates, comprising planners and architects together with a sustainability expert and highway engineer. ... We believe in the importance of creating and sustaining lively, prosperous towns and cities by focusing new development within existing settlements and creating attractive, mixed-use, walkable and socially mixed urban neighbourhoods.
    • URBED grew out of the redevelopment of Hulme and the Homes for Change Housing Co-operative. A belief in the importance of communities informs all of our work. ... Since 1996 we have been running the SUN (Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood) Initiative, exploring how the principles of environmental sustainability can be applied to urban areas."
  • "The Graphics Company is a workers' co-op. One of the good things about this is that you're always talking to the boss! You're always dealing with someone who cares a lot about your project. This is one of the reasons why many of our clients stay with us for years, here are some more... ... The Graphics Company promotes the use of environmentally-friendly materials and ethical working practices. We also take an ethical approach to our own business that is embodied in our constitution."

Coops and networks

  • GEN-International
    • "GEN-Europe is the European ecovillage association promoting environmental protection and restoration of nature through the concept of ecovillages as models for sustainable human settlements. We actively support the development of ecovillages and networks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. GEN-Europe is a membership organisation founded in 1996 and is open to a wide range of projects regardless of their political, religious or cultural backgrounds."
  • "Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change. The network is made up mainly of housing co-ops of various sizes (but none have more than 15 members), a few workers co-ops and a couple of social centres." Also worth checking is their quick guide to setting up a housing co-operative (pdf).
  • "CETS (Co-operative Education Trust Scotland) is a new independent not-for-profit charitable education trust. It has the backing of every sector of the Co-operative movement in Scotland, from the large retail co-ops, through to agricultural co-ops, credit unions, housing co-ops, workers co-ops, etc. CETS also promotes all forms of social enterprise.

Other groups, projects & info

  • "BioRegional Development Group is an entrepreneurial, independent environmental organisation. We develop award winning, commercially viable products and services which meet more of our everyday needs from local renewable and waste resources, to help enable One Planet living – living within our fair share of the Earth’s resources."
  • ZEDfactory "As leaders in the field of zero-carbon design and development, we have a unique track record of delivering Zero (fossil) Energy Development (ZED) buildings in the UK"
  • "Earthship Biotecture is a global company offering proven, totally sustainable design and construction services worldwide.
  • Centre for Alternative Technology - Leading by example, we aim to show that living more sustainably is not only easy to attain but can provide a better quality of life."
  • "The Low Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 2001 to set up, manage and promote environmental projects. Our main objective is tackling climate change through highlighting the connection between buildings and the carbon emissions their use produces. We do this by running innovative low-carbon construction projects, and training, outreach and education workshops."
  • "The British Earth Sheltering Association is a non-profit making organisation aiming to encourage the design and construction of Earth Sheltered Buildings in the United Kingdom. "
  • Green Building Press "We publish green building information in many mediums to help you to design and build sustainable, healthy and ecological homes offices and factories."


Various possibilities for this. Grants and loans are also available from certain organisations.

  • Low Carbon Building Programme - "The Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) is a Government programme in the United Kingdom administered by BERR (formerly the DTI). It offers grants towards the cost of installing domestic microgeneration technologies and larger scale distributed generation installations for public buildings and businesses, provided energy conservation standards are also met."


Future fiction

  • The Seasteading Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), working to enable seasteading communities - floating cities - which will allow the next generation of pioneers to test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world.