EVA Lanxmeer was a destination I was delighted to explore in August while I was in the Netherlands. I went there to visit Peter Merry, Founder of Centre for Human Emergence Netherlands and discover why he had moved to this eco-village.
Peter and I walked around EVA Lanxmeer and I recorded his commentary – to listen to the Meshcast click here. What impressed me about EVA Lanxmeer was that it had been designed from the bottom up using many principles that I have woven into Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive.
Firstly it has very strong Contexting Intelligences. It was designed with a deep embrace of the environment where it would emerge from – recognizing climate, water tables, natural vegetation, and the cycles of life.
Secondly it had powerful Integral Intelligences – both Individual and Collective. The Individual Intelligences took into consideration that people of different ages, abilities and interests could co-exist. It enabled families at different stages of the human lifecycle to locate here and enjoy each other’s company to as much or a little as anyone would wish. The Collective Intelligences have been addressed by the many ways that “eyes on the street” have been enabled – cars restricted to perimeter parking lots, opportunities to engage directly with neighbours on walkable streets and courtyard arrangements of residents. Schools are embedded in the eco-village from infant to highschool and the whole eco-village is within a 10 minute walk to the inter-city train line.
Strategic Intelligences show up in EVA Lanxmeer through the ways that residents have committed to living within EVA Lanxmeer principles – as defined by the requirement to belong to a Foundation as a condition for living there. These principles enable bottom up agreements (and culture) to emerge, along with support for the environmental conditions which everyone must support. Interaction and Inquiry occur at regularly scheduled village meetings which are organized by the residents themselves. This creates the natural conditions for a Meshwork, because the Eco-Village has an ecological/educational/social justice goal; requests participation from residents for supporting roles; enables self-organizing connections and structures to be built; and connects to a larger whole in the City of Culemborg (of which it is a community/neighbourhood). The ways that EVA Lanxmeer measures its success comes not only from the feedback it gets directly from residents, but with its agreements with the City and through the many international visitors and experts who come to observe its way of living, working and playing.
The final observation about EVA Lanxmeer in terms of the intelligences is that it is an Evolutionary examplar. Over the last ten years it has emerged from the vision of one person (Marleen Kaptein) to the embrace of a whole village and it is continually adapting and emerging new ways for fulfilling a sustainabile way of living that satisfies body, mind, heart and soul.
In these ways I found EVA Lanxmeer to be full of much more life than the city of Almere (which I visited in April, 2011). Almere was designed as a top down Garden City and is struggling to gain the participation of its residents in sustainability decision making in ways that EVA Lanxmeer demonstrates as its natural way of being. No doubt Almere could take lessons from EVA Lanxmeer in the power of self-organization, bottom up decision making and citizen participation.
And no doubt I could take lessons from Peter Merry in finding a place to live that provides such a positive bio-psycho-cultural-social-active stimulus for himself, his young family and his life work. Thank you Peter for the invitation to visit 🙂