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One Planet Communities: The Earth’s Greenest Neighborhoods
This will be the first OPC in Canada and it also happen to be on an island. Actually, the 37-acre eco-village planned for Canada’s capital city will span several islands dotting the Ottawa River within sight of the Parliament buildings. A homes, shops, offices and community spaces planned by the Windmill Development Group will sit on the form industrial site at the base of Chaudiere Falls; one of Canada’s greatest ecological wonders.
The developers of SMV also claim to be the first OPC in America, yet they are a long way from being fully built out. The scale of this eco-village is more city-like, covering 200 acres in the rolling northern California wine country. They’ve concentrated on building jobs first, with the residential neighborhoods planned for the next few years. There is a giant LEED Platinum Comcast facility and numerous other eco-employment centers at the site, all powered by solar energy.
A well-funded, eco-futurist suburb of Abu Dhabi, the capital of Middle Eastern oil wealth, Masdar is by far the most ambitious development using OPC guidelines. Time will tell if the plans live up to their potential, but it is already producing a lot more energy than it consumes (via photovoltaic panels) and boasts a 54 percent reduction in water consumption over conventionally-designed developments of a similar type (via greywater recycling and ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures).
OPC doesn’t discriminate against the lifestyles of the rich and famous or against the Disneyland crowd. In fact, it sees the big profits to be made on both and tries to channel those dollars into eco-playplaces. Just down the street from Disneyland Paris, the EuroDisney corporation is building a massive eco-water theme park/resort. The water will be heated geothermally and the surrounding 400 acres will include an interactive organic farm, nature trails and conservation areas nestled among the condos, hotels and vacation homes.
The other eco-resort on the OPC list is in Portugal, south of Lisbon. This one is still early in the planning stages, but, if all goes as planned, will include 13,000 acres of forest preserve and domiciles for 30,000 vacationers. There will be fancy golf clubs, hotels and numerous themed resorts, all powered by alternative energy, self-sufficient in water and built with sustainable materials.
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