We at Altair are forming an ecovillage built around the following objectives:
A diverse community providing the opportunity for all generations, economic levels, and religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to live together in supportive relationships.
Where the architectural design promotes a comfortable balance between community interaction and privacy.
Where attractive homes and common facilities will be designed on a model that is ecologically sound, emphasizing moderate consumption, resource sustainability, and horticulture.
Planning for Altair EcoVillage in Kimberton is guided by the following values:
We believe that trust and respect are fostered in an active community (or neighborhood) environment.
The village is solely governed by its residents in a non-hierarchical model.
Rather than majority-rule, decision-making is a group process in which all present must consent before action is taken.*
Because everyone has a piece of the truth, this method can help spread power throughout the whole group.
At our May, 2015 Discussion Group, we listed some of the values we honored:
- Regular study groups
- Group crafts
- Be an example to rest of world
- Teaching each other
- Governance respecting cultural autonomy
- Governance respecting economic autonomy
- Diversity of individual family wealth
- Seeking/striving for community
- Deeply human in thinking and actions
- Surrounded by nature
- Opportunities for growth
- Celebrating diverse spiritual paths
- Diverse cultural and racial backgrounds
- Consensus decision-making
- Child rearing
- Environmental sensitivity
- Promoting the Arts
- Beautiful Architecture
- Many growing plants
- Community garden
- Helping each other
- Sharing skills
- Creating a smaller footprint
- Energy self-sufficiency
- Wellness community
- Healthy environment
- One-floor living
- Sharing resources
- To encourage land development to occur on a sustainable basis.
- To continue to enhance the reputation and history of Kimberton Village and East Pikeland Township as centers of progressive thought, progressive practices, and stewardship of the land.
- To encourage land development regulation in a manner that permits and enhances protection of ecologically sensitive areas while permitting economic land development.
- To permit development to occur in a manner that harmonizes with the Kimberton Historic District.
- To promote a mix of downsized and less impactful residential housing uses in a neighborhood that encourages social interaction among the residents and within the community.
- To minimize the use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of renewable energy sources.
- To minimize the use of automobiles, encourage walkable connections to Kimberton Village and within the community and the use of ride-sharing to work and remote shopping, both within the EcoVillage and the wider community.
- To limit the extent of impervious surfaces including streets, hard surfaced parking lots, driveways and sidewalks and to replace them with pervious surfaces including pedestrian pathways, walkways, and trails that encourage physical activity and social interaction.
- To create opportunities to live and shop in Kimberton Village and work in the same area or nearby.
- To continue to enhance the economic revitalization within Kimberton Village and adaptive reuse of its historic resources.
- To encourage infill development and redevelopment within existing villages and towns and thereby limit the expansion of suburban sprawl and encroachment on rural landscapes.
- To encourage the preservation and use of open space including expanding the scope of active recreation activities to include active horticultural and woodlands preservation pursuits, and walking and bicycling and to encourage healthy living and physical fitness.
- To distribute smaller areas of active and passive open space uses within the community to enhance their visual impact.
- To minimize the impacts of development activity by maximizing tax revenue relative to the cost of providing services.
- To promote development that is has less ecological impact while fiscally no more impactful than traditional development styles.
- To promote ecological practices within the wider community through outreach and education activities.
- To provide an example of sustainable development and a learning experience in order to foster sustainable development practices within East Pikeland Township, Chester County and the region.
- To promote sustainable living.
Altair's Consensus Policy
The goal of the consensus process is to reach a decision with which everyone can agree, without resort to the win-lose decision-making process of voting.
As a group process, consensus requires that each person places a higher priority upon the good of the group as a whole, with personal needs and wants being secondary. Proposals and decisions should be evaluated in terms of whether they are consistent with the stated goals and values of the group.
Consensus does not necessarily mean unanimity. A group can proceed with an action without having total agreement. In the event that an individual or small group cannot agree with a given proposal and is blocking consensus, the facilitator may ask if the individual(s) are willing to “stand aside” and allow the group to act, or if they feel so strongly about the issue that they are unwilling for the group to act. If the individual(s) agree to stand aside, their disagreements can be noted in the minutes of the meeting, and the group is free to act on the decision.
Blocking or “standing in the way of” a decision is used only when individual(s) feel that what is happening is going to have disastrous effects for the group (not for personal disagreement). If the individual(s) are not willing to stand aside, and state that they block action on the proposal, it becomes their responsibility to work for a compromise or substitute agreement.
The group will try to resolve all concerns by discussion, compromise, and other nonviolent conflict resolution methods. In trying to resolve a blocking situation, a proposal can be tabled, to be revisited at up to two subsequent meetings. If the group feels that a block is in accordance with the group’s stated goals and values, the block stands. If not, it is declared invalid, and the group can act on the decision.
The group agrees that in the event of a block, it will reevaluate the definition of the consensus process and the group’s understanding of the process.
ADOPTED FEBRUARY 2000