So lately I’ve been taking a permaculture class through ACC and was curious to see what a long-term permaculture community would look like. There are no good examples locally, alas. But I was in Sacramento a while back with time to kill, and Google suggested that Village Homes in Davis would be worth a visit.
Village Homes is a 70 acre subdivision in western Davis, CA. It contains 225 homes & 20 apartment units. Construction started in 1975 and continued through the 80’s. It was designed using permaculture principles to encourage both the development of a sense of community and the conservation of energy and natural resources.
Here’s Davis on the California map:
The houses are designed to take advantage of passive solar, so lots are oriented north-south. Village Homes’ streets tend to run east-west. Many homes have solar panels. Village Homes was also designed to limit light pollution, so there are very few streetlights.
In order to encourage walkability and to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting pavement during Davis’s long, hot summers, the roads are narrow, curving cul-de-sacs less than 25 feet wide. There are no sidewalks; instead there are bike paths that run through the development. This also decreases traffic speed and increases safety.
Views from the bike path:
Here are a few videos that give a general sense of the neighborhood:
There are two large community gardens in addition to private gardens:
There is also a vineyard and orchard. There are also many smaller orchards scattered throughout the development. (In general, the trees and bushes planted throughout the subdivision tend to produce edibles. There were trees heavy citrus everywhere, and I also spotted dormant figs and grapevines in people’s yards.)
UC Davis is an agriculture school and develops many new fruit hybrids. Quite a few were newly planted here, along with other hybrids I never knew existed:
Village Homes uses a natural drainage system composed of a network of creek beds, swales, & pond areas that encourage rainwater infiltration.