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Article
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Steven Liaros

Whilst the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables offers significant environmental benefits, the other transition – from a centralised to a distributed energy…

Abstract

Purpose

Whilst the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables offers significant environmental benefits, the other transition – from a centralised to a distributed energy system – underpins a disruptive model for planning cities, towns and villages. A local energy micro-grid can power a local water micro-grid, which in turn can irrigate a local food system, offering a community the opportunity to harvest, store and distribute food, water and energy within their immediate catchment. A distributed network of regenerative villages, connected virtually and with shared electric vehicles is offered as an alternative vision for future cities. The paper aims to justify this as a preferred model for human settlements and develop an implementation process.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper asks: Is it inevitable that large cities will keep growing, while rural communities will continue to be deprived of resources and opportunities? Is the flow of people into cities inevitable? To answer this question, the adopted methodology is to take a systems approach, observing town planning processes from a range of different disciplines and perspectives.

Findings

By contrasting the current centralising city model with a distributed network of villages, this paper offers ten reasons why the distributed network is preferable to centralisation.

Research limitations/implications

It is argued that in this time of dramatic technological upheaval, environmental destruction and social inequality, business-as-usual is unacceptable in any field of human endeavour. This paper presents a sketch outlining a new human settlement theory, a different way of living on the land. It is an invitation to academics and practitioners to participate in a debate.

Originality/value

The information and energy revolutions, both distributed systems, are reshaping cities.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2021

Steven Liaros

The purpose is to open the possibility for a research institute, perhaps in partnership with a local council and a major developer, to bring together skills necessary to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to open the possibility for a research institute, perhaps in partnership with a local council and a major developer, to bring together skills necessary to prototype the CEV development model.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper advances the development of a hypothetical, systems-based approach to the design and development of smart rural villages – a network of circular economy villages (CEVs). The method is to assimilate visionary ideas from 20th century town planning literature related to decentralisation and the development of new towns in rural areas, identifying key design principles. The present trajectory of infrastructure design and emerging development models are then analysed to modernise the design principles for implementation in the 21st century.

Findings

The availability of localised, renewable energy micro-grids potentially makes CEVs feasible and affordable. The shift to remote work and movement of people to regional areas suggests that this may be a desirable development form. This can only be confirmed through the development of a pilot project as proof of concept.

Originality/value

The proposed CEV development model applies circular economy strategies to every aspect of the smart rural village development including financing, ownership, spatial planning, design and material selection.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

Keywords

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