Due to serendipity or perhaps Jungian synchronicity, we were invited to attend the second meeting regarding the formation of a new ecovillage/cohousing community in the Asheville area known at The Villages at Crest Mountain.
The Villages at Crest Mountain is a "developer-driven" sustainable eco-community that hopes to serve as a model for the entire country. Rather than begin with a group of residents who hash out all of the nitty gritty particulars over a number of years (as is done with most new cohousing neighborhoods), this community is being developed and designed by several developers and consultants with input from residents who are buying into the project. Avoiding the endless committees, subcommittees and interpersonal struggles faced by so many newly forming communities, this particular community is already in motion, and new residents will apparently have ample opportunity to influence design and governance decisions along the way, and decision-making will most likely be made using the techniques of sociocracy.
Impressively, a permaculture consultant (who also happens to be the founder of Earthaven Ecovillage) has been hired to develop the landscaping, orchards and gardens. Rather than high-maintenance lawns, most areas will consist of low-maintenance edible plants and other flora and fauna that provide either food or natural beauty.
The community will also make use of ultra-energy efficient building techniques, including "hempcrete", a mixture of lime and industrial hemp that offers excellent insulation and high resistance to moisture and mold.
We are very interested to see how Crest Mountain develops, and we plan to keep in touch as we continue our search for community. The Asheville area has a great deal to offer, and some of the smaller units at Crest Mountain may prove to be affordable and attractive for those of modest means like ourselves.