Radically lower the cost of living

(Click the pic to see a map)

It all began for us in 2010 when we were visiting Barcelona Fab Lab‘s green Fab Lab in Valldaura, in the hills north-west of Barcelona.

It is their plan to use Permaculture to design the landscape of the 600-acre site to explore how we can live more sustainably.

Susan had been studying permaculture for some time, and we were both enchanted with Valldaura.  And then our host, Jonathan Minchin, asked us if we had ever heard of Wikihouses.  We hadn’t.  I got the idea that a Wikihouse is:

  • Easy to build
  • Low Cost to build
  • Low cost to run

In fact we saw a plan of a two-story, two bed Wikihouse that could be built for under £50,000 … and that included the computer-controlled machine that cuts out the pieces.

There is a lot more information on the FabLabsUK Wikihouse page, including, down the bottom, the specification for that 80sq M house.

So, we wondered, if you could build one house for £50,000 or less, how much could you build a whole village for, if we could negotiate bulk purchasing discounts.

Foldehampton is using a number of strategies for lowering the cost of living:

  • Wikihouses to as much as halve the cost of building
  • Community Land Purchase to radically lower the cost of acquiring land
  • PassivHaus standards to slash energy costs to almost nothing
  • Community finance schemes to lower the finance cost of building and owning your home
  • Intelligent agriculture and horticulture to produce better food at a lower price
  • Vertical integration within village enterprises, farming and agriculture to ensure the best return on our products
  • The availability of paid work and community supported enterprise for whoever needs it