The current urban development models are not working. When we stopped regarding people as citizens, and began to call them consumers, the concept of community life began to break down, spawning new problems and challenges unknown by previous generations. What we call a VillageTown came from a multi-decade analysis of what went wrong and how to get back on track.
Physically, a VillageTown is a mixed-use real estate development based on a walking home-range which means that all destinations to which one goes on a day-to-day basis (from home to work, school, church, recreation, shopping and socializing) are within walking distance; no cars within and no outbound commuters. Economic and social critical mass determines population and land use:
• 10,000-population town made of villages and a town center
• 500 acres (200 hectares) of land is optimal that includes:
- 150 acre (60 ha.) urban core made of 20 side-by-side villages & a commercial town center
- 50 acre (20 ha.) walk-to industrial park
- 300 acre (120 ha.) greenbelt (65% of the total land) that surrounds the urban core
Many aspects of the VillageTown will feel familiar because the framework is based on timeless patterns of human urban design long proven to work. However, while familiar, no one builds this way anymore. The need for VillageTowns arises because the current urban development models are not working, yet they have so much momentum that we continue to use them without question. In the 1950's the American model was about transport and engineering, creating an infrastructure based on selling cars. Urban decay and suburban sprawl blighted the land. More recently, urban planning turned green, as if new carbon-neutral, zero-waste, mass-transit-oriented communities will solve all our problems. However, while important to address the major issue of non-sustainable development, the new green urban planning still has too much silo-thinking. It does not effectively address the many other problems plaguing urban and suburban life such as crime, youth alienation, elder despair, economic insecurity and poverty, heart disease & cancer as the top two killers, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, a huge increase in broken families and many other social, cultural and economic challenges that demand equal attention with the environmental ones. It's not an either/or proposition, but a broader view of what needs to be done.
The first projects will target middle-class buyers where the difference between the region’s housing market price and the economies of scale by building 4,000 homes at the same time yields a substantial margin of hundreds of millions of dollars. These net profits stay in the community in the form of a civitas corporation owned by the VillageTown citizens. This fund is to be used to enable the people and communities to provide for their economic, social, cultural, environmental and spiritual well-being. Each total VillageTown project will cost $1.5± billion, self-funded before construction begins, and earn an estimated $200 million in profits to be retained by the community to create a free-market local economy to enable the pursuit of a good life understood as the social pursuits of
• artistic, intellectual & spiritual growth
The energy behind the VillageTown is compassion not pecuniary interest. A VillageTown does not use a developer, and investment is sought solely to trigger the project. The business plan has three stages, and only the first two stages require outside investment of $5 million and $50 million respectively. By the third stage the buyers of the homes have been identified, their applications for construction loans/mortgages approved, their loans are packaged into $1.5± billion prime mortgage-backed securities sold to intuitional investors whereupon the first stage loans are repaid and construction begins.
The people behind VillageTowns call themselves the VillageTown Stewards: talented, experienced persons of good will who are convinced there must be a better way to live. They have examined the challenges facing humanity in great detail, and then sought out proven patterns that work - approaching the challenge with a mix of timeless values and outside-the-box lateral thinking asking how shifts in technology can create new possibilities for a better life.