EcoErf Vathorst –> Groenvoort

EcoErf Vathorst -> Groenvoort

Twelve families wanted to buy a piece of land together in Amersfoort Vathorst and build a sustainable residential group which would be largely self-sufficient in energy, food and water. They used One Planet and its concepts and designs EcoVilla and EcoErf as a springboard for their ambitions. Under professional guidance, they organised themselves into an association and made a financial plan. However, in the end they could not compete against the established project developers and speculators who had quietly sewn up, in cooperation with the municipality, all land and building rights in the Amersfoort region. These commercial developers expected big profits when the municipality expanded in the direction of Vathorst. They were not prepared to drop their land prices to the official valuations. Even though the Province of Utrecht offered the citizens group a sizeable subsidy to bridge the gap, it was not enough for the developers. The residents’ group eventually disbanded in bitter disappointment, literally in tears, after four years of hard work, organisation and hope.

This and other projects taught One Planet how very difficult it is to build sustainable and sociable communities, when you are up against speculators and local government officials who have already sold off future land rights to them. Land, sea and air are natural resources that belong to everyone, but the profits from exploiting them end up in only a few sly and greedy pockets.