Today’s resilient community in the spotlight is Atamai Village.
It’s a new, semi-rural developed community located in the northern part of New Zealand’s South Island. Here’s a well done video they made.
What We Can Learn From Atamai
So, what can we learn from Atamai? Atamai has done a couple of things that make them interesting to us:
- A village approach and vision.
- An incubator for promoting local business development.
- A resilient approach to reducing transportation expenses and vulnerability.
The Village Approach
Here’s an example of how they describe themselves (the best part is the bullet list at the bottom). It’s an interesting way to think about resilient communities that departs from intentional/communal, communal, or strictly commercial approaches.
A village is a settlement where people move from the privacy and separateness of their individual homes and families to their daily exchanges with others – all within the village and its environs. These are exchanges for basic needs such as food and other goods, social exchanges of support and mutual interest, cultural exchanges for fun and enjoyment, exchanges where projects are planned and carried out with others, a place where goods and services are exchanged to the benefit of both parties.
Village life is filled with opportunities for exchanges with a deeper texture, where the depth and breadth of relationships is enriching at many levels; where the joys and tribulations of a full life are felt and shared. Village life involves a sense of place and connectedness – to the land and the people – where relationships to both are rich and mutually sustaining.
A village operates on a human scale:
- where people know the land and each other
- where that knowledge translates into caring and support for both
- where people pay attention to the local because they depend on it for their well-being
- where there is a connection to the broader world, but where that connection is based on fair exchange rather than dependency.
Local Business Incubation
Another goal of Atamai is to foster the development of local work as a supplement to the global telecommuters that are moving there. The community’s goal is to enable 60% of the residents to obtain their livelihoods in the community or the immediate environs.
To accomplish this, they built a business incubator to grow local businesses, many of which will get their start supplying the community with products and services. Here’s a list of the services the community is offering via their incubator:
- Agricultural land
- Some machinery available
- Internet access
- Accounting help
- Website design
- Shared marketing efforts
- Shared sales channels
- A ready market within the village
One of the goals of Atamai is to reduce the vulnerability of the community’s residents to ever increasing gasoline prices and potentially limited future availability.
That’s smart. For example, in the US we already squander 5.3% of our income on gasoline and each family bears the expense of owning and insuring almost 2 cars. Atamai’s goal is to reduce gasoline expense to 1/5 of current needs and one vehicle for every four families (or 1/8 of the current vehicle expense).
Here’s how they are doing it:
- Help people find local work and make global telecommutes easy.
- Go car free. Atamai’s transportation grid is limited to pedestrians, bicycles, and electric scooters (vehicles can gain entry in an emergency).
- Share transportation needs. A community run car share service and mini-bus to the nearby town means that residents might be able to ditch car ownership, and the expenses it entails, entirely.
Your always interested in new ways to improve our future guide,