On September 1st, Jennifer Leonard of IDEO and Massive Change fame joined Alex Steffan of Worldchanging, Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity, architects Bjarke Ingels and Ken Yeang, and other well-known designers, architects and thinkers at the kick-off of CLEAR Village project at the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen. The intiative investigates sustainable mid-sized developments to revive rural and peri-urban areas, and aims to allow businesses test out innovative technologies and services at a village scale. It will do this by soliciting design ideas for a sustainable village, and then constructing it.

Barcelona, clear village launch

The ultimate goal, explains founder Thomas Ugo Ermacora, is to co-draft an “adaptive master plan strategy for sustainable villages.” The organization will then find a host community to implement a master plan and build a vibrant place beneficial to the local economy and region. Afterward, the organization will analyze, gather and share further knowledge to serve as a catalyst for other neighborhoods.

The idea for Clear Village came, Ermacora explains, when the founders looked at the vast majority of sustainable villages and neighborhoods today, and realized they tend to be isolated or personality-driven and hardly define a vision that the greater population will embrace. Few of the ambitious real estate projects that have tried to solve the equation of intensive urbanization and environmental concern have been community-centered. Most often, the notion of proper scale for holistic and systemic solution development has not been the starting point.

Meanwhile, rural and other economically marginalized areas struggle to develop. Few think to retrofit existing locations, and collaborative tools and information technology for complex planning are underutilized. CLEAR Village wants to fill some of these gaps and take a fresh look at a possible urban renaissance.

Copenhagen, clear village launch

To that end, the founders introduced the notion of The CLEAR Village Lab, a three-day, immersive event gathering together professionals from a variety of disciplines to create the master plan for a real-life sustainable village.

The intention of this initiative is not to build a ‘perfect place,’ but rather to foster a dynamic, living community which embraces principles, technologies and forms of governance that can provide a sustainable benchmark for other communities to follow.

The 2009 Lab, set to take place in Barcelona from November 5 to 7, is the first in a series which will develop the masterplan through multiple phases until building is ready to commence. At this FIRST EVER CLEAR Village Lab, participants will be encouraged to contribute “openly, creatively and emotionally.” The lab will be taking place at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, C/Pujades 102 baixos, Poble Nou, Barcelona 08005, Spain. Tel: +34 93 3209520

For more on these kinds of groundbreaking initiatives from Copenhagen Design Week, check out www.azuremagazine.com.

+ CLEAR Village