Little Big Village ___By Dimitri K.

A concept for creating a sustainable settlement.

Contents of this page:

Problem statement
Essay_Do you want to change your life to save the world?
5 reference projects
5 sustainable technologies
Literature list

Problem Statement

One thing is for certain. If we continue living our life’s according to the western
lifestyle standard. It will soon be coming to an end. If everyone on the planet lived
accordingly, we would need much more planets worth of resources. No more oil to
drill, shortage of freshwater in the cities, too much waste and too much energy
consumption, which results in heat gain and many other big problems. This is a
problem that never occurred before in history. In order to prevent this from
happening, and to make sure our children’s future is secured, each individual needs
to change its behavior. And maybe take on the simplest lifestyle possible.

Lifestyle is the biggest underlying contributor to our environmental impact. The things
we buy, the products we use, the way we travel, are all influenced greatly by our
lifestyle. Our lifestyle is the root of all of our actions in some way or another. How we
think, what we think about, how we spend our free time, our daily and weekly habits,
what we decide to bring into our lives — this is our lifestyle.
Being sustainable should be the goal of every environmentally conscious household
and individual. Because sustainability represents our ability to use earth's resources to
meet our present needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.

Through a clever designed urban and architectural plan the first start can be made
to change the mindsets of people. If everything in their surroundings is breathing
green air, then hopefully so will they. At the moment we live in a consumerist society.
We buy a lot and produce a lot, and this should make us happy. People purchasing
goods and consuming materials in excess of their basic needs is as old as the first

A great turn in consumerism arrived just before the Industrial Revolution. In the 19th
century, capitalist development and the industrial revolution were primarily focused
on the capital goods sector and industrial infrastructure.
At that time, agricultural commodities, essential consumer goods, and commercial
activities had developed to an extent, but not to the same extent as other sectors.
Henry Ford and other leaders of industry understood that mass production
presupposed mass consumption. for the first time in history products were available in
outstanding quantities, at outstandingly low prices, being thus available to virtually
everyone. And so began the era of mass consumption, the only era where the
concept of consumerism is applicable.(1)

It doesn't have to be difficult or complicated to change. Even though sustainability
isn't second nature for most. Approaching lifestyle changes with the size of one's
eco-footprint in mind requires willpower, but the payoff of a healthier lifestyle and a
happier planet is well worth the extra effort. Architecture can be the best way to
achieve this. It in a way directs our life.

Essay: Do you want to change your life to save the world?


Finding overall element
When I started to really think about sustainability in the beginning, I did some basic
research into what it means. I found out that there were three big aspects that come
in to play when you are working with sustainability. Socially, environmentally and

To make a society sustainable you will need to know how your environments works.
You have to be in balance with nature. Taking from the nature without giving back is
not sustainable, it will not last. So there is a new ecological approach to living.
Resources have to be renewable. There is also a social side to sustainability, in the
growing cities civic problems exist, due to overpopulation and low quality public
spaces, and few/bad facilities. To make communities sustainable, you have to
balance quality public space and building sizes. So everybody has enough space
and contact with nature.

There is also a social-economical part to it. A large degree of the people living in the
welfare countries got a “western lifestyle”, and this number will grow in the future. This
means high consumption and lot of waste. This means a lot of energy spill. So the
lifestyles of people have to change in order to make a more energy efficient society.
So I was looking for a overall entity that covers these three points. Because I think a
successful sustainable village can only be created if all three points are addressed. I
soon came to the conclusion that the way people lived was the biggest contributor
to the problem, so I researched more about lifestyles.

At the beginning I was skeptical about changing lifestyles of people. There are many
different kinds of solutions to make living more sustainable. The question is can we live
on our lives, without changing anything, or do we all have to contribute to make a

Changing the way people live is difficult, because people do what they are used to
doing, and don’t like to change that. For example: taking the car to work every day.
Or throwing away your garbage in one bag instead of separate.
So I asked myself: Does our lifestyle need to change? or can technology catch our
fall? Then I stumbled upon this book by Robert and Brenda Vale.

Book: Time to eat the dog? The real guide to sustainability.

For over three decades, Robert and Brenda Vale have been
actively researching impacts of human living. While their core
focus has been on sustainable and low-impact buildings, in recent
years both have taken a strong interest in behavior and the way
people live. “After working in the architectural area for some time,
we were strongly aware that impacts are not just about the
building itself—but where you put them,” Robert says.

“The emissions of people commuting to the building are greater than the emissions
of the building operations. We got interested in the fact that the building was not
the whole impact, and curious about that bigger picture.”
Robert extensively studied neighborhoods and came to understand how
neighborhood behavior can affect the impacts people have on their environment.
Whereas retrofitting a building can be a costly endeavor, changing people’s
behavior by comparison costs very little, and can have a large effect on the resulting
environmental impact, or footprint.

The book starts to say that from the three main sustainable points, (Environmental,
economical and social) The environment is the most important one. Because without
this factor, the others could not exist. So they start looking which common activities
have a large impact on our environment. They measure it in land required to support
it. What does food costs from non-financial viewpoint? They say that our ecological
footprint is too high. We have the right to own 1,89gha (global hectares) of land.
That is if you divide all the land on the planet by the amount of people living on it.
The average American uses 9,5gha of land. That is 5 times as much.
It is possible according to them to make a sustainable world that can support us, but
it means we must live the simplest lifestyles as possible.
“It’s about awareness. Think small in every possible way, less stuff and more time,
more enjoyment. Quality over quantity. It’s not like working 60 hours a week is making
people desperately happy. We could be more fulfilled with day to day things rather
than chasing money. We’ve been wrongly taught to equate happiness with
objects.” He says.

The environmental impact can drastically be reduced through our behavior and
choices that we make. We should aim for houses with smaller footprints, not the
number of bathrooms it has.

A final world looks closer to a hippy commune than a grand design. If we want a
lifestyle near our fair share of footprint, than that will mean having fewer things,
smaller houses, fewer holidays, producing more at home, reducing consumption.
Advanced technology does not solve all our problems. If you want to make a start
you should start consuming less. Basically this book convinced me that applying
sustainable technologies alone is not sufficient to make a change.

So after I defined the big problem in our society for myself, I went on researching.
How can architecture influence our lifestyle? With this question I stumbled upon this
book by Frits Palmboom, written in 1979. In which he discusses Russian projects which
are focused on a new way of living for the working-class. Important about this book is
that it shows the plans of the architects in relation with their ideas. SO at the end
what is important for me is how they designed the private and collective spaces in
the building.

Book: Purpose and pleasure in konstruktivisme.

The constructivist designers from the early 20th century Soviet Union,
gathered in the OSA, with their many designs had planned their
expertise to work for improving housing and the workers wanted to
obtain simultaneously a restructuring of the big cities. One
difference with the similar situation in Western Europe is that in the SU
was accompanied by profound changes in society.

While in Western Europe, new technologies were applied to large numbers of
'normal' workers' to design and build, in the SU was a very remembering a way of life,
of what a house, a city, ... is. In competitions for new housing types include different
types of houses came on later than any tested were actually built projects. An
example of such a dwelling used type is Type F, which form a sort of transition
because it was a collective organization encouraged but not imposed (you could
still live as a family) while fulfilling the requirement to save space.
The Narkomfin building of Milinis and Ginsburg, realized in 1928 in Moscow, was one
of the demonstration to include type F. Galleries in the building filled by the same
architects as a social function is normal street outside buildings.
One of the most radical proposals for collective housing buildings (or Dom
Kommuna's) plan was one of Dom Kommuna Barsc and Vladimirov 1929 (not built).
Here you recognize any more family units, there were common features in addition
to an almost urban scale single individual living cells can be distinguished.

The family was in fact split into components:
babies, toddlers, adults, ... each with their own
accommodation. Not only from a position today
is to give one criticism so far-reaching form of
collective living, even then, some called this
solution not ideal: Ginsburg felt that the life of
man has been split into unequal parts, namely a
small individual part (sleeping) and a great
social part (everything else).

Project: HHP (Hockerton Housing Project)
This project by Robert and Brenda Vale from the 1st book ) must be the most
radical realized project I know on sustainability. It is self sufficient in water
and electricity, and almost food. The development consists of a terrace of five
ultralow-energy houses incorporating a number of energy conservation
measures that have eliminated the need for space heating. The orientation of the
houses allows maximum winter solar gain. A southfacing conservatory runs
the full width of each dwelling and all rooms are south facing. This conservatory
is the shared collective space of the structure. This is what makes the project
special. It uses the passive heating space as a communal space as well. It
uses the nature around itself, and it has a communal vehicle.

I don’t think people will change their lives out of themselves, unless it is forced in
some way upon them. So we as architects can bring a solution to this problem by
inventing a new kind of architecture, which can stimulate the way they live. The
people eventually will have to change their lifestyles, but then it already may be too
late for it to have an effect on the environment. So action is needed in order to
create a sustainable settlement. So maybe it is the responsibility of the architect to
change the way people live in the near future. Because they have the ability to
create spaces for living and working.
So what important for me is in the design part, I have to look at the right balance
between private and collective space. On one side that they share common things,
and the other side that they feel save and free to live their own life’s.

5 reference projects

Project #1

Eastern Village Co-housing
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, 2005

Main Points:
- Re-use existing building
- Collective spaces
- Dense housing
- Passive design

Additional information:
56 cohousing, multi-family residential with shared
common facilities and 11 live-work units.
Community kitchen, dining and living spaces,
guest suites, shop, music room and Parking

The Eastern Village Condominiums structure is an
adaptive reuse of an office building constructed
in 1957 in Silver Spring, Maryland, abandoned for
several years, and now transformed into 56
condominium units housing a thriving urban

Eastern Village Cohousing (EVC) is a green building that represents a new direction in mixed-income,
urban, residential development. Located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, it consists of 56
residential condominium units. Cohousing communities such as EVC constitute small-scale
neighborhoods providing balance between personal privacy and community living, wherein
neighbors share in community activities, decision-making, work, and play. Residents have been
involved from the beginning of the project, helping to plan and program EVC, and will participate to
a high degree in the management of the community.
The structure's courtyard had been a parking lot but is now a green space that includes benches,
sculpture, a patio, and a children's play area. EVC incorporates such features as ground-source
heating and cooling, low-emitting finishes, some rapidly renewable materials, and a vegetative roof.

Project #2

Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie
Montréal, Canada, 1967

Main Points:
- Study for dense housing
- and new community life
- City in sky concept

Additional information:
The whole unites in a gigantic sculpture futuristic
interiors, links, pedestrian streets and suspended
terraces, aerial spaces, skylights of different
angles, large plazas and monumental elevator
pillars, without forgetting the openings, here and
there, that are as many winks and calls to
meditation from the environment as well as from
the living experience.
"Habitat is a model community constructed along
the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, composed of
354 prefabricated modules which combineto form
a three-dimensional space structure. The modules,
or 'boxes' as they are known, are connected in
varying combinations to create 158residences
ranging from 600 ft2 to 1,700 ft2. Pedestrian streets
serve as horizontal circulation throughout the
entire complex. Habitat '67 wasthe realisation of
Moshe Safdie's thesis titled "A Case for City Living,
A Study of Three Urban High Density Housing
Systems for CommunityDevelopment" and was
also the major theme exhibition of the 1967
Montreal World Exposition. "

Project #3

Galgebakken by Storgaard, J. P.
Copenhagen, Denmark, 1971-74


Main Points:
- traditional compact community
- high social interaction
- Shared space

Additional information:
Galgebakken is one of the early low-rise, high-density
communities built in the early 1970's as a reaction to
government-sponsored high-rise projects of the 1960's.
While modern industrialized building techniques are
employed at Galgebakken, the idea of community
here may be seen as a return to traditional forms of
compact, low-rise dwelling typical of rural villages and
late 19th century workers' housing. Villages such as
Dragor, south of Copenhagen, were not only low and
dense, but also provided a high degree of social
interaction among the residents and intimate
interaction with natural outdoor areas, places for
neighborly gathering and minor architectural
But all are organized with entry, kitchen and dining
areas opening to a shared, semipublic garden space
with living and bedrooms opening to gardens at the
rear that can be either shared or fenced off and made
private. A system of prefabricated concrete panels is
used for the basic structure of the dwellings. A system
of wood trellises and fences is used to define space in
semipublic and private garden areas. The front shared
space is used for outdoor dining, casual meeting
among friends and neighbors and supervised play
space for small children and provides a place for the
high degree of social interaction typical of the Danes

Project #4

Hockerton Housing Project
Hockerton, Nottinghamshire, UK, 1998


Main Points:
- Serious life style change
- Self-sufficient in water
- Collective glass house

Additional information:
Hockerton Housing Project emerged from the desire of
a small group of people to develop a lifestyle more in
touch with the natural environment and its cycles.In
terms of eco-housing developments the Hockerton
housing project (Nottinghamshire near Newark) is
simply groundbreaking, with its earth covered, self
sufficient housing, existing in harmony with its natural
surroundings, its a perfect example of how
eco-communities can exist side by side local wildlife
All five eco-houses in Hockerton generate their own
energy, provide there own water supply through
rainwater harvesting and recycle any waste
produced. Recycled waste products are then turned
into compost and used to regenerate the vegetation
and local woodland.
The Hockerton Housing project (HHP) is a completely
carbon zero, pollution free community, proving some
of the most energy efficient housing in the UK &

The HHP also hosts many events including workshops
and tours of their site. You can even hire the venue for
your own needs, perfect for off-site office workshops or
community gatherings. The eco-friendly setting will real
inspire people as they marvel at the ingenious energy
saving technology such as,
  • solar hot water system,
  • wind-powered electricity,
  • Green roofs, water harvesting
  • compost toilets, photovoltaic’s

Project #5

BedZED: promoting green living
by Bill Dunster Architects, Wallington, UK, 2002


Main Points:
- Integration many sustainable
- Transportation plan
- Strong community values

Additional information:
The eco-village BedZED is more than just
bricks and mortar. Besides the fact that it
has many innovative new green design
features, the mixed-use development has
reached a level of true sustainability with
residents continually motivated to lead
sustainable everyday lives. By introducing
a number of impressive measures,
BedZED has transcended the level of just
an eco friendly place to live and has
become an active social environment
with strong community values linked to
sustainability. One of BedZED’s defining
characteristics is its unique approach
towards transportation. The entire
development has been designed to
encourage alternatives to car use and
the site was primarily chosen for its
excellent public transport links.

A specific green transport plan outlines the benefits of walking, cycling and other non-automobile
transportation methods, allowing BedZED to reach its goal of a 50% reduction in fossil-fuel consumption
by private car use compared with conventional developments. In addition to the green transport
plan, the BedZED also offers an onsite car club, cycling facilities, and nearby stores and gathering
areas that reduce the need to travel.

5 sustainable technologies

Technology #1

Passive Design


I’ve chosen 5 low tech technologies. I think that fits a smart design, you get the most out of
the least. Just by designing smarter you can increase energy efficiëncy, with few costs
attached to it. A passive designed building gets the most out of the power of the sun, with
no high tech equipment.

Using passive design principles can reduce temperature fluctuations and make a
home drier, quieter and more enjoyable to live in. As building regulations develop and
public awareness of sustainability issues increases, home buyers are increasingly likely
to demand elements of passive design. A number of passive design features can be
incorporated into the new buildings or renovations at little or minimal cost.
  1. Placement of room-types, internal doors & walls, & equipment in the house.
  2. Orienting the building to face the equator (or a few degrees to the East to capture
the morning sun)
  1. Extending the building dimension along the east/west axis
  2. Adequately-sizing windows to face the midday sun in the winter, and be shaded in
the summer.
  1. Minimising windows on other sides, especially western windows
  2. Erecting correctly-sized, latitude-specific overhangs, or shading elements (shrubbery,
trees, trellises, fences, shutters, etc.)
  1. Using the appropriate amount and type of insulation including radiant barriers and
bulk insulation to minimise seasonal excessive heat gain or loss
  1. Using thermal mass to store excess solar energy during the winter day (which is then
re-radiated during the night)
While these considerations may be directed to any building, achieving an ideal
solution requires careful integration of these principles. Modern refinements through
computer modeling and application of other technology can achieve significant
energy savings without necessarily sacrificing functionality or creative aesthetics.

Technology #2



This technology needs no electricity, the system uses just physics to work. That makes it very sustainable.
Thermosyphon refers to a method of passive heat exchange based on natural convection which circulates liquid without the necessity of a mechanical pump.
This circulation can either be open-loop, as when liquid in a holding tank is passed in one direction via a heated transfer tube mounted at the bottom of the tank to a distribution point - even one mounted above the originating tank - or it can be a vertical closed-loop circuit with return to the original vessel.
Its intended purpose is to simplify the pumping of liquid and/or heat transfer, by avoiding the cost and complexity of a conventional liquid pump.

Technology #3

Constructed wetland


It basicly costs no energy to clean the water. Nature does its job. In this way the water can
be reused. This saves the amount of freshwater is used for flushing the toilet.

Constructed wetlands purify the water that flows through them. Compared to
conventional treatment methods, they tend to be simple, inexpensive, and
environmentally friendly.In these systems wastewater is treated by the processes of
sedimentation, filtration, digestion, oxidation, reduction, adsorption and precipitation.
Constructed wetlands may be used to treat water from many different sources:
  • Sewage (from small communities, individual homes, and businesses)
  • Stormwater
  • Agricultural wastewater (including livestock waste, runoff, and drainage water)
  • Landfill leachate
  • Partially treated industrial wastewater
  • Drainage water from mines
  • Runoff from highways
Constructed wetlands also provide food and habitat for wildlife and create pleasant

Technology #4



This also is a low tech sustainable
technology. It just uses plants and
physics. Thats what makes this an
ecological and economical
sustainable solution. Maybe also
social, because of the activities you
can do on a greenroof

#Protection of roof membrane resulting in a longer material lifespan (it is estimated that
green roofs will last up to twice as long as conventional roofs), resulting in decreased
maintenance and savings in replacement costs;
#Savings on energy heating and cooling costs, depending on the size of the building,
climate and type of green roof. Using a Micro Axess Simulation model, Environment Canada
found that a typical one storey building with a grass roof and 10 cm (3.9 inches) of growing
medium would result in a 25% reduction in summer cooling needs. Field experiments by
Karen Liu in Ottawa Canada, found that a 6 inch extensive green roof reduced heat gains
by 95% and heat losses by 26% compared to a reference roof.
#and many more advantages.

Technology #5



This technology can collect the free energy from the
sun. In a relative cheap way. It also gives some extra
space in the wintertime. It´s relevance comes from
the fact that it uses a renewable resource and that
makes it sustainable.

Similar to a Sunroom, a room built largely of glass to afford exposure to the sun.
Solariums have glass roofs (and often curved glass corners), unlike sunrooms. Solariums
are designed for warmth, whereas sunrooms are designed for scenic view.
A solarium is a structure with a glass or plastic roof and frequently glass or plastic walls;
it heats up because incoming solar radiation from the sun warms plants, soil, and other
things inside the building faster than heat can escape the structure. Air warmed by the
heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall. These
structures range in size from small sheds to very large buildings.

Literature list


Primary consulted literature
Time to Eat the Dog?
The Real Guide to Sustainable Living

Robert and Brenda Vale
Thames & Hudson, 2009

8 projekten voor woning- en stedebouw;
OSA Sovjet-Unie 1926-1930'

Frits Palmboom
SUN, 1979

Compiled literature

#1 Bauer, Michael. (2009) Green Building: Guidebook for Sustainable Architecture, Springer Berlin Heidelberg

#2 Steele, J. (2005) Ecological architecture: a critical history, Thames and Hudson

#3 Adriaens, F. (2005) Duurzame stedenbouw, Blauwdruk

#4 Timmeren, A. van (1999) High-tech, low-tech, no-tech, Publikatieburo Bouwkunde

#5 Brouwers, J. (1998) De duurzame stad, Aeneas

#6 Schumacher, E.F. (1977) SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL; a study of economics as if people mattered, Blond and Briggs

#7 Baek Pedersen, P. (2009) Sustainable compact city, Arkitektskolens Forlag

#8 Gissen, D. (2002) Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century, Princeton Architectural Press

Consulted websites