In the early 1970s, a group of South American visionaries realized that the coming population crisis would one day require people to live in places formerly considered unsuitable for human habitation. They decided that this was an opportunity to try to design a workable future, by and for the Third World, from limited resources.
The place they chose was on the desolate, barren plains of eastern Colombia, a country too often thought of as producing only coffee, cocaine, and bloodshed. The village they founded, called Gaviotas, has become a bright example of how to fashion an ideal tropical society.
Many of the ingenious, affordable technologies they’ve created have spread to other developing nations, and may have much to offer the developed world as well.
This piece formed the basis of Alan Weisman’s book Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World.