It’s 2030, imagine if…

The mid 2020s saw the rise of a network of Circular Economy Villages (CEVs) around Australia. These community-scale, regenerative settlements were powered by a renewable energy micro-grid, while the live and work environments were supported by constructed reservoirs and wetlands, and a diverse, regenerative agricultural system. The CEVs drew people out of the capital cities — attracted by the healthy lifestyle, lower cost of living and connection to nature. They also appreciated the benefits of investing in community rather than real estate. As the first project took hold in Bellingen, Councils across Australia recognised the opportunity and set up the CEV-enabling town planning policies. By the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, a network of over 100 Circular Economy Villages were established or in development, showcasing the finest of Australian innovation for international investors and policymakers.

Summary of solution

A Circular Economy Village (CEV) is an innovative approach to regenerative development, creating a new political economic system and re-imagining how we live on the land. It integrates a renewable energy micro-grid, a water micro-grid and a diverse, regenerative agricultural system with co-working and co-living spaces. The shared equity land development concept creates self-sufficiency and zero waste within a bioregion, and the collective ownership through a shared equity model is designed to deliver a pipeline of projects and therefore a network of villages.

Regenerating natural systems is a key principle of the CEV. The food and water systems are nature-based infrastructure, designed to integrate with and enhance natural systems. The collective management of these systems builds social capital and creates a local economy that provides residents with their basic needs—food, water, energy, transport, shelter and work opportunities. This substantially increases local resilience to broader economic, social, political and environmental crises.

Why is this solution innovative

The project seeks to reimagine work, life, and our relationship with nature by developing a network of Circular Economy Villages. This project facilitates governance processes and collaboration across the community for the development of infrastructure that enhances natural ecosystems. The project adopts an Indigenous worldview that sees the landscape as a network of waterholes connected by storylines. Each CEV is a waterhole, providing settlers and nomads alike with access to water, food and energy. People can live as long or as little as they like in each village as membership will be of the network not of one village. Connection to place will be balanced by the freedom to travel, navigating the land and life along the storylines that connect communities.

This is a promising concept around regenerative villages that would be really interesting to see at scale.