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Case #908

Title:
Land Regeneration at Crystal, Australia

Summary:

Crystal Waters is well known for its groundbreaking work in sustainable living. The 1996 World Habitat Award commended the village for its 'pioneering work in demonstrating new ways of low impact, sustainable living'. Established in 1989, it was one of the first villages in the world designed using Permaculture principles. It is a wildlife sanctuary in which kangaroos, platypus and many species of animals and birds are abundant. Mountain ranges and forests surround the beautiful valley. Rivers and creeks border Crystal Waters with clear, fresh water. In this idyllic environment there is a community of 200 people with a multitude of businesses and food producing gardens. Eighty per cent of the land is owned in common and can be licensed for sustainable agriculture, forestry, recreation and habitat projects. The village centre is zoned for commerce, light industry, tourism and educational activities.

Comments:

THE STRATEGY: Purposefully create a village and surrounding land based on sustainable living principles.

WHAT WORKS:
*** Reforestation commitment
*** Trees grown specifically to be harvested for on-site wood heating needs.
*** Residents are responsible for the provision of their needs and the disposal of waste within ecological parameters.
*** They use a wide variety of healthy building materials, including local timber and rammed earth.
*** Houses are sited to maximise passive solar possibilities.
*** Working from home and employing residents means time and energy are saved.
*** Rainforest planting
*** Soil improvement
***River restoration
*** Dams
*** Habitat development (wildlife corridors, habitat restoration, especially on common land in community clusters, balancing needs of nature and needs of the villagers
*** The Crystal Waters EcoCentre (a rammed earth and timber building incorporating appropriate "green" technology and passive solar design) used for seminars, courses, movie screenings and conferences.

IMPORTANT POINTS:
*** In 1985, the year we started the design process for Crystal Waters, the property was often described as 'degraded farmland'. The fact is that after twenty or so years of cattle grazing followed by horses, the land was probably a little tired of grazing animals. The major impact occurred in the sixties, when most of the large trees were cleared, leaving the hills and gullies bare.
***Crystal Waters today is an example that people and wildlife can live together. But the work to do and the learning will never end.
*** The Crystal Waters EcoCentre, has won the 2001 Sunshine Coast Environment Council Sustainable Building Award and the Australian Social Entrepreneurs Network Award 2002 for Most Promising New Venture. Built for the Global Eco-village Network Oceania/Asia (GENOA) Inc in 2001, it is an exceptionally comfortable venue and an education in itself
Location: Australia
Action: Restoration
Setting: Developed World, Agricultural
Extent of Action: Local
Issues: Agriculture, Conservation, Resources
Year(s): 1989
Outcome successful for now
Source: Living Lightly, #20, Summer, 2002, p.23

Contacts:

MS 16-15 Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, Queensland 4552, Australia, Tel: 617 5494 4741, Web: http://oceania.ecovillages.org, Email: lindegger@gen-oceania.org
Prepared By: sl, 11/09
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