An Eco-Friendly Town of the Future

Report from a Colorado town of the future that has established an environmentally sound, no-cars, self-sufficient eco-community.

| March/April 1975

Eco-friendly town near lake

As you can see, our town is going to be a very nice home for ecologically focused, community loving people once it's built, that is.


If you've been thinking that THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS is fighting a solo battle when it comes to establishing an environmentally sound, no cars, self sufficient eco–community you've got another think coming. Several other such projects are already underway at various spots around the country ... and, here's a report from one of them. 

It's interesting (at least to us) that Cindy Cutting's gang is running smack into the same exact problems; that MOTHER's home people have been grappling with: initial financing, local ordinances, the establishment of a workable government for the settlement, etc. Little wonder that Cindy has come up with the same conclusion that we have: once the "right" core of families has been assembled and the red tape is cut, the actual construction of the village should be easy! 

Let's see now ... just what can I say about life in a new town that isn't even built yet? Never mind that there are already 50 full fledged residents and unnumbered residents to be. The fact remains, we're living in a dream.

The goal? A little town of just over 2,000 people on the slopes of the north shore of Lake Dorena, near Cottage Grove, Oregon. Not your average sort of place, though ... a planned, ecologically sound community. The projected number of residents is based on the amount of water available on the site, for example. And the land has been studied down to the last gopher hole, so we know just where a building should or shouldn't go, and where the garden will have the best chance and where to put the holding ponds for otherwise runoff water.

One thing we aren't too worried about is where to locate the streets, because there won't be many. Our aim is to become a car–free society. We're investigating alternative forms of transportation ... and getting in shape for walking, just in case that takes longer than we thought.

We're hoping to make it easy to go without an auto by building in clusters so one place isn't too far from another. There'll be a village center, of course, with shops and industry (small, non polluting) close at hand so that no one has to commute to his or her job. Education, too, will be an integral part of the community. Already, with nary a desk to put an apple on, a preschool, kindergarten and elementary project is underway.

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