The first city to be built according to life cycles management process.
Never the world has been so open and so complex and never the social, economical and political organizations so restrained.
The sudden disappearance of the last century ideological and political frontiers that gave birth to the today dominant model that rules our lives is shaping a new world where all humans feel simultaneously happy and trapped, reason for their call for a paradigmatic shift of the present social and economical foundations of our society.
Let this Portuguese small scale but “real study case” break all routine and open a breathing space and new sources of hope, Ecovila Vale de Caparide is about bringing back, in our overall thinking process spring waters, biodiversity, soil fertility, forest and the sun.
DaST’s proposition is to integrate, through a new systemic approach to social and environmental challenges, the principles of sustainable1 design into the Cascais community built in environment.
The DaST task in Portugal will be to plan the to be named ,for the time being, Ecovila Vale de Caparide, and its related eco-centres.
The planning and construction of Ecovila Vale de Caparide will not only be dealing about reducing the environmental impact of any new “greenish” construction programme looking for eco efficiency and pollution prevention. It will deal with the life cycle management process, meaning that DaST team will have to address all questions linked to policy in regard of what we know about the Sciences of the Earth.
The Ecovila Vale de Caparide is intended to become a high Profile European Living Demonstration Model, and should be classified as a Project of National Interest (PIN), where the most talented individuals from Portugal and the World will converge all the energy of the people working on/in Ecovila Vale de Caparide will be focused on developing the high-end research and techniques, learning tools, production, maintenance, control processes, new legal, and social analysis, economic instruments, that are needed everywhere, to sustain on the long term the ecosphere.
DaST will align its outlook with the work of Karl Henrik Robert who was awarded the Green Cross Award for International leaders and the Blue Planet Prize (the « environment » Nobel) in 2000.
«A long term sustainable society must have stable physical relations with the ecosphere. This implies sustainable material exchange between the society and the ecosphere as well as limitations on society’s manipulation of nature».
Physically, “ sustainable development “ then means development towards such a sustainable relation and, after this has been reached, development within the boundaries of sustainable relation. Thus the principles require changes of paradigm and culture, and a thorough discussion of cultural roots.
The values that should be honoured in a sustainable society are the value of human life and dignity and the value of life on Earth.
The former implies that human welfare and justice are societal goals. The latter implies that life and life-supporting systems are valued in their own right and not only for their support of the human society».
And the one of Phil Hawes, PhD architect who designed Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Who explains that there is a need and huge concern worldwide in the coming years for:
Building “full service” community able to live within the “solar increase” by the establishment of a new paradigm, a new standard for development of “full service” communities setting the standards for sustainable building of communities and related activities.
Working within the conceptual framework that there is a limitation of both global and local carrying capacities for human settlement. Using the concept of « Ecological Foot print ». (Ecological Footprint analysis is an accounting tool enabling us to estimate [according to the level of technology involved] resource consumption and waste assimilation requirements of a specific human population in terms of a corresponding productive land area. Meaning, just how big would an area of land around any new settlement have to be in order of actually support all of the ecologically derived resources necessary for its on-going existence.
Obviously, the answer to this will vary from place to place because of differing climates, soil types, water resources, and level of technology involved) aso.
Is to be located in the middle of the Cascais district, 2km north of the Atlantic ocean, 7km south of Sintra’s mountains, 18km away from the sprawling Capital City of Portugal, Lisbon, on a piece of land of 244ha (225 ha almost untouched land controlled by 10 old traditional well travelled families, and 19 ha, in the middle of uncontrolled housing developments).
Recently, the Cascais City Council, conscious of the exceptional qualities of that micro region(classified mainly in REN and RAN), ordered new studies to the best experts, mainly Pr Ribeiro Telles and Professora Graça Saraïva.
The objective of those studies was to define and plan the protection of one of the last, untouched and most needed Ecosystem existing in the Cascais District, named Vale de Caparide consisting of 225 ha.
The present zoning of the first piece of land (225 ha corresponding to the ecosystem of Vale de Caparide) was voted in 1997 and was reviewed in 2005.
DaST’s team started studying the zone in January 2005 and made a first presentation of the concept to the President of the Cascais Council in May 2005.
This meeting has been followed by innumerable and productive ones, at all levels.
Today, after considering all recommendations and the necessity to guarantee the sustainability of the Ecosystem of Vale de Caparide, DaST, has limited the additional space needed to 19ha. To comply to all the “musts “listed by Pr Ribeiro Telles and Professora Graça Saraïva.
DaST’s proposal will consist in planning and organizing, on the downstream and upstream level, a city, where “life and life supporting systems will be valued in their own right and not only for their support of the human society”. Which means a fully serviced city that can live within the “solar increase” integrating not only Eco-efficient houses but information -gathering recreation and education centres, research labs linked to the best Universities and private Companies, collective investments and additional natural assets necessary to sustain this new development, (food production, renewable energy, carbon-neutralization ,waste treatments, fossil fuel neutralization a s o).
“The planning and construction of Ecovila vale de Caparide will make a paradigmatic shift in community building and will become a high profile European Public full size demonstration model”3 and research centre. A real scale laboratory-city to work on new analytical approaches. (health, education, state accounting principles, tax assessment procedures, legal rules, human fulfilment).
While increasing all natural supporting assets and decreasing all needs for non renewable products.
Ecovila de Vale de Caparide The “full service” community of Cascais, apart from being a global concept, designed and ruled according to the life cycles management process, will have to be a productive and diverse community with a strong economic and social vitality high-end research centre specialised on sustainable products and services, Learning centre, Cultural, Tourist and Sportive destination and receive full support from the Institutions
To achieve those objectives DaST’ has:
A/ Chosen the “frame work” through which all decisions will be taken, during the planning process and afterwards (Table 1 Four system conditions).
B/ Defined all collective investments (natural assets and technological devices) to be plugged on the Ecovila in order to ensure its sustainability.
C/ Calculated the corresponding size of the public, residential, commercial, office, industrial ,research, service centres recreational and cultural areas that can be sustained by this newly engineered ecosystem.
D/ Studied the best zoning in order to guarantee the restoration and on going life of the ecosystem Vale de Caparide.
E/ Proposed future use for the Architectural Landmark included in the zoning: Quintas of Manique, Pesos and Samarra.
F/ Defined all legal requirements needed to secure the efficiency of the concept, complete the project and guarantee it’s success, socially and economically.
G/.Evaluated the optimum job level to be offered on site.
DaSt is now in the process of selecting the best consultants in Portugal and worldwide with specific additional skills such as being consensus builders and doers International PR team working on all supports, writers, TV, film, internet.
DaST is also working on the different “specifications” and processes to conduct the project.
Considering the offer, the additional cost of such a project is acceptable (the study is based on present market values).
The total estimated capital requirement to build the DaST “full service Ecovila Vale de Caparide “(minimum 265000m2 developed area of construction/118000m2 of ground area / 3000 inhabitants,800 jobs) will amount to euros 360 millions including on site cost of land and euros 69 millions( for all utilities, additional natural assets and studies to balance all pollutions born from the new constructions and long term maintenance).
– However, through the sale of on site perpetual “right to use”, dwelling units, space for businesses, offices, and industries which will generate revenues, the actual built-out cash needs are estimated to be in the range of euros 130 m.
– ROI will average 14% plus ongoing profit on the operation.
– Peak expenditures are expected in years four and five of an approximately six years project.
It is DaST’s objective to provide the project the required funding an investment fund will be set up for that purpose it is DaST’s understanding that this investment fund will be opened , if they wish so:
– To the Cascais City Hall,
– All present owners of the land included in the Cascais zoning of Vale de Caparide,
– And outside funds specialized in renewable energy,CO2 neutralization, water and waste management, sustainable living construction, aso.
The present legal environment existing in Portugal allows DaST to proceed. However different legal tools are still missing in the Portuguese law (even if they are included in the spirit of the law).
Until the approval of these small adaptations by the Parliament the financial structure to be set up, through the leadership of DaST will substitute itself to the different parties concerned in order to guarantee full efficiency of the global concept.
Which means that all collective investments necessary to provide a sustainable life to the 3000 inhabitants and the workers of the Ecovila will be incorporated in a Trust or Funds and will be accounted and managed according to the life cycle non negotiable rules.
All legal instruments and financial commitments will have to guarantee that: This piece of land (244 ha in the Cascais Council and 4300 ha outside the Cascais Council will have to be considered as a “one and unique“, “balanced living unit” or a “3000 inhabitants plus 812 workers footprint”, where the development and afterwards maintenance and ongoing control process, size and type of the rights to be granted will be limited to the carrying capacity of the overall zone.
DaST will submit at a later stage to the Cascais authorities, the Portuguese Parliament and UE new legal structures to be discussed in order to develop the concept at a National scale.
Ecovila Vale de Caparide is a demonstration project it will promote:
– Social cohesion and participation
– Best practices techniques in integrated management of the urban environment
– Local Agenda 21
And will also improve:
– Attractiveness to Cascais(image, employment ,investment and tourism) and provide, in different sectors such as, education, health, social, urbanism, economy, all necessary datas to monitor and evaluate the results and impacts of the project. All natural assets (4544ha) and necessary equipments to balance all carbon emissions and provide full autonomy in water, waste, energy and food supply will be frozen ad infinitum.
The “on site” high-tech cluster will give birth to a tremendous amount of technology, and know-how(in all technical sectors related to the project ) for National use and exportation.
We assume that more than a 1000 articles worldwide will be published. And we estimate the number of visitors to be in the range of 135000 /year Ecovila de Vale de Caparide is a very challenging, doable, global concept/project.
All theoretical tools are available and accepted by the scientific community.
– The Sciences of the Earth provides all the first datas needed.
– All the techniques to be used are under control.
– The specialists /doers are available and willing to go ahead.
– The location is superb.
– The project is profitable.
– The funding is accessible.
– The existing legal pre-requirements are acceptable.
– The citizens are expecting a move of this magnitude in the political thinking process.
– The political timing is right.
– Ecovila de Vale de Caparide has also the merit to cost nothing to the community, while offering a better return to the present owners.
We believe that this scenario, integrating a human community into the life cycle process, will become one of the biggest growth industry in the coming years.
It would be fair to see Portugal, discovering the World 500 years ago in one of the most peaceful manner coming back to its pole position and be ready to assist at all levels when time comes.
It’s also a simple , peaceful and enjoyable way to test how to build tomorrow’s society on solid foundations.