Gallery: One Planet Communities: The Earth’s Greenest Neighborhoods

Green living is the hottest thing on the real estate market these days, and BioRegional, an entrepreneurial charity based in London, is making sure it stays that way. The organization stewards the One Planet Communities; a growing worldwide network of deep green neighborhoods that are the cutting edge of sustainable development. So far only seven communities worldwide have met the rigorous standards of an OPC, though eight others have integrated the 10 guiding principles to a lesser degree, but still enough to receive honorable mention from the organization. These range from the 20-unit Westwyck EcoVillage in Melbourne to the 2.3-square mile Masdar City, a sustainable oasis under construction on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

10 principles guide One Planet Communities (OPCs) in the quest for improved stewardship of the Earth’s resources. At the top of the list are Zero Carbon and Zero Waste—it’s the goal of these communities to produce the energy they consume, and to ensure that all material resources are part of a closed loop cradle-to-cradle system. OPCs are exemplary in the way they conserve and recycle water, create pedestrian- and bike-friendly transportation networks and use locally-sourced and non-toxic materials in construction. They also attempt to grow a substantial portion of their own food. In other words, they don’t stop at just one prong of sustainable design and lifestyles: every facet of green living must be embodied to receive the One Planet designation.

BioRegional developed the OPC concept while building BedZed, Britain’s largest carbon neutral community that has become the prototype of all other OPCs that have been built since. Completed in 2002, BedZed is a live/work community of 220 residents, featuring rooftop gardens, passive solar design, onsite sewage treatment, rainwater recycling and its own biomass-powered heat and electricity generating plant.

Grow Community

Located on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Grow is a net-zero, pedestrian-oriented community, just a 5-minute walk from the village of Winslow and a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle. Residents can grow their own organic gardens, drive one of the shared solar-powered cars and live in one of 131 homes powered entirely by the sun. Grow is the first OPC to be built in the United States.

Related: Grow Community is a Prefab Net-Zero Housing Development on Bainbridge Island


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