Author: Robert Zandstra

Hamlets, organic structures, low-impact living, moneyless living

Collected by Robert Zandstra



Closely-knit communities of dedicated individuals who wish to live and demonstrate/teach very low impact living, like the Lammas project in Wales. (Probably co-housing community).

Visit the Lammas website for design and structure –

The Hockerton Housing Project website (from England) for good examples of classes and workshops:




There is the possibility of a land grant for those wishing to establish, demonstrate and teach low impact living.

This is a reality in Wales and is under consideration for England. The Lammas ecovillage project won a £350,000 grant to build a centre for the research, education and promotion of low-impact development. The building will form a centrepiece to a new-build project of 9 eco-smallholdings in the Preseli Hills in North Pembrokeshire. The grant is part of a UK government initiative in which 10 community projects from across the UK have been awarded up to £500,000 for pioneering carbon-reduction approaches.

Lammas also provides advice and solidarity to those pursuing low impact living elsewhere.

For details about the project see



Heydon Prowse visits the pioneering off-grid Lammas project in Pembrokeshire [Wales] to learn how they blend green building technology and perma-culture economics to fuel a thriving community

By Heydon Prowse,

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

10′ 16″ video clip:-





Low impact comfort…

 Click here for photo

 Click here for 8′ 48″ video clip from UK CH4’s ‘Grand Designs’:



A nice place to chill out….

Click here for photo and detailed info:- wales-uk

‘That Roundhouse’……. [removed due to website failure JL]



A wonderful place of peace!

Click here for photo:-



Unable to access the Findhorn Foundation virtual tour, which may have photos of the meditation room interior.



From Earthships to underground houses, The Moneyless Man says building low-impact housing for free is theoretically possible



Posted by Mark Boyle

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Access to land is one of the key obstacles in our path towards true sustainability, and without a radical shift in land policies, a moneyless society will remain what it is today – a philosophical one.


But if you do want to become communally-sufficient and moneyless, you’ll first need access to a piece of land. While this is not a problem in the Hammersmith of William Morris’s News from Nowhere or Thomas More’s Utopia, within today’s society it usually means the land needs to be bought, even if just as a one-off payment to free a piece of enslaved land from the wage economy. But there are exceptions.


In the 1950s, Vinoba Bhave set up a huge movement called

Bhoodan (meaning land-gift) in India, to which ordinary landowners donated 5m acres – an area the size of Wales – to be put back into common ownership so that peasants could live and farm on it. While western culture makes such a movement unlikely, it’s never impossible. For example, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Landshare project matches those who have land but need help with it with those who can help but have no access to land. And it’s growing rapidly.


So it is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to currently talk about building a home for free. There are huge issues concerning planning permission and council tax. For planning, campaigner Simon Fairlie’s Chapter 7 has tons of great free advice, and eco building organisations such as Lammas are a huge source of inspiration. For council tax, work activists such as John Harris and Lawful Rebellion

provide a fascinating resource to draw on. Council tax is effectively a tax on being alive – many countries, such as Ireland, use other more equitable systems.


Next, you can then think about building your own low-impact dwelling. Theoretically, this can be done for free using human labour and local materials – like the old thatch, stone and wood cottages of pre-industrialised times – or by utilising the masses of stuff we’ve already produced. Here is a short selection of the many options open to you, some of which can be built without costing any money:



The brainchild of Michael Reynolds, these are a type of passive solar home, made from recycled and natural local materials. Earthships can be self-sufficient in food, water and energy. They

incorporate fantastic design – glass bottles are even used to create stunning lighting effects – making them visually beautiful to boot.



Subterranean homes maximise space in small areas, the excavated materials can be used in the building and they are wind-, fire- and earthquake-resistant. One of the greatest benefits of underground homes is their energy efficiency, as the mass of soil or rock (the geothermal mass) surrounding the house stores heat and insulates the house, keeping it warm in winter and cool in the summer.



Circular houses, with a frame of wooden posts covered by wattle-and-daub or cordwood panels finished with cob. Their conical roofs are usually either thatched or have a reciprocal frame green roof.



Houses built using straw bales to form the walls of the building. In the UK, the bales can be made of wheat, rye or oat straw. They are also naturally well insulated.


Of course, doing all this completely for free is fairly unrealistic today. But even if you choose the relatively upmarket Earthship on a few acres, it at least means you will only have to spend a fraction of your time in the money economy paying the bank back money.


Ultimately, I believe it is a fundamental human right for every person to have the opportunity to live without money if that is their belief, as stated under Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion of The

European Convention on Human Rights. That’s why I will soon be campaigning with the Freeconomy Community for the right to live moneyless, allowing people to choose to pay their taxes and National insurance contributions from tithes and labour, or whatever alternative legal tender the government decides to offer. Watch this space.


Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community and has lived moneyless for the last 19 months. His book, The Moneyless Man, is out now, published by Oneworld – sales from the book will go to a charitable trust for the Freeconomy Community. This is the last in the Guardian’s Moneyless Man series


[For photo and links in original article, click ]

Village Homes, Eco Villages and Village Towns


The eco-suburb in Davis, California, a groundbreaking subdivision in west Davis, was established from the mid 1970s through the 1980s. The completed development includes 225 homes and 20 apartment units.

Although many valuable features were incorporated, this development has a number of shortcomings, and the reference ‘village’ certainly does not fit as it has no core facilities, like a shop, which make a village.

For more info see websites and
Two significant books which look at what worked and what didn’t at ‘Village Homes’ are:

“VILLAGE HOMES, A Community by Design”
Case Study in Land and Community Design by Mark Francis
Island Press, 2003 – ISBN 1-55963-111-2

By Judy & Michael Corbett [project designers of Village Homes]
Island Press – ISBN 1-55963-686-6


In Australia we have ‘The Ecovillage’ ( in Currumbin, south-east Queensland.


A delightful town surrounded by a cluster of villages, and a way of living where the basic necessities of food, water, energy, clothing, furniture etc are produced locally, putting an end to our vulnerable existence.
Have a look at Claude Lewenz’s excellent book ‘How to Build a Village’ which appears to have most of the answers to a happier way of living AND a much-reduced footprint in a large ‘village’ of 5,000 – 10,000 inhabitants. For more details check out the Village Forum.

Australian Village Town Projects:

Sydney – The Sydney project anticipates a 10,000 population VillageTown within 2 hours of Sydney Airport. Presently indicators suggest looking north of the city, perhaps in the vineyard districts. Craig West is actively working on this project and at present is focusing on securing stage one financing. With a regional population of over 4 million, it can expect to draw a significant number of future citizens from the region. There is a reported housing shortage in Australia, thus making VillageTown developments more attractive due to their lower public infrastructure costs and lower demand for motor vehicle transport.

Melbourne – Melbourne is a project being driven by Brian Fitzpatrick and like Sydney it is looking toward the north of the city, and also perhaps in the vineyard region. Brian is focusing on attracting future citizens, enrolling them to form the first of the twenty villages that creates a 10,000 population VillageTown. This approach suggests that if a village of 500 people (about 200 homes) is identified, representing about $50 million in purchasing power, the money and political attention, and the 19 additional villages that form the VillageTown will follow.