Given the growing concerns regarding pollution & food contamination, urban dwellers are experiencing a sense of anxiety in terms of healthy living. The popularity of organic foods, detox centres and alternative therapies are a reflection of that.
There are popular models at personal dwelling levels which try to mitigate these anxieties, such as small farming lots, rooftop gardens, balcony kitchen gardens, etc. This, however, requires a lot of personal passion, time, caretaking and upkeep. Urban farming, although considered as a viable decentralized food production methodology, is highly passion-driven. Long-term sustainability of similar scale efforts of such models tends to remain inconsistent and fluid.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern & pressure within the rural farming communities to abandon traditional agriculture and migrate towards seemingly ‘greener’ pastures in the city. In addition to growth in the urban native population, rural migration is contributing to pressure on urban density, land, and infrastructure.
Another result of this migration is the lack of arable agricultural land as well as depletion of soil health, reduction in traditional agricultural products and more. These changes are creating imbalances in both urban and rural areas.
So, how do we bring a balance between these two conflicting and related urban and rural issues while ensuring the sustainability of long-term solutions? How do we counter urbanization and relieve the pressure of rural migration within the realm of design and development? One way is to create a rural environment with urban conveniences that will help mitigate the anxieties of urban dwellers while engaging rural dwellers in a meaningful way. Sustainable Eco-Communities are apt solutions for urban families. Here farming could happen at an appropriate community scale, and residences could have a fair amount of urban conveniences.
There are several key factors for the success and sustainability of Eco-Communities, including:
- Sustainability through closed-loop systems – It is important that eco-communities become producers by implementing closed-loop systems to meet their requirements.
- Farming as a viable vocation for neighbouring rural dwellers – Eco-Communities should seamlessly integrate into the culture of farming and engage in farming activities including outreach, training and knowledge sharing.
- A strong and active group of Residents of – Eco-Communities should have active participation and engagement of all stakeholders, to co-create eco-habitats where everyone inside and outside the community are growing towards shared prosperity.
- Affordability of Eco-Communities– It is important to benefit from economies of scale that lead towards affordability, increased availability and long-term sustainability of this model.
However, some key challenges to overcome when situating Eco-communities is the availability of suburban land within easy access to the city as well as a strong farmers network in and around the site.
At Metaphor, we are continuously striving towards helping like-minded people – Those who are looking at achieving that healthy balance between rural-urban needs and developing all-inclusive sustainable Eco-Communities. We have built the International Award-winning project Organo Naandi in Hyderabad and are currently building similar communities in Antharam and in Nizamabad. If you are looking for a strong design-build partner in your Eco-Community journey, we are here to guide you every step of the way.