John Mongard Landscape Design, located in Queensland, Australia, specializes in sustainable and ecologically conscious landscaping. The company’s designs are focused on everything from urban commons to a “living classroom”. But while browsing their website, the design that caught my eye the most was what they did for the Ecovillage at Currumbin. This award winning sustainable community, nestled in 271 acres the rolling hills of south-east Queensland, barely inland from beautiful beaches, houses over 200 people. Currumbin is a relatively new ecovillage, founded in the late 1990s, but not settled until 2006.
The residents came to the community from diverse backgrounds, for their own reasons, yet they all agree that living a sustainable life is very important. The people aren’t connected in any other way, as in they aren’t religiously motivated, a cult, or anything like that. When they build their houses, the building must be up to a strict code to ensure the lowest amount of waste and emissions. There is almost no electricity. Currumbin is also very focused on restoring natural habitats and ecosystems. There is a no dog or cat policy, as to protect local animal and plant populations. The area itself has some incredible biological diversity, for example residents have spotted over 160 different species of birds alone.
A large reason for the large number of bird species is Currumbin itself. The land it is located on used to be a large farm, which wiped out any indigenous plants, forcing animals to look elsewhere to get their grub on. Because of the restoration and preservation of the natural plants by the Ecovillage, the return of animal populations has been observed over the past few years. To me, the fact that a community of people can directly influence animal and plant populations in a positive way shows how incredible ecovillages actually are. When living at an ecovillage like Currumbin, not only are you lowering your emissions, living sustainably, and becoming a healthier person, you are also helping the wildlife around you. It is amazing what happens when humans can live in harmony with an ecosystem.
Now back to John Mongard Landscape Design. Below I am posting a group of photos from their website of the maps and designs created for Currumbin. The maps include the concept, as well as “open space strategy” plans, along with two blueprints with corresponding pictures of the areas today. From the pictures you can tell how beautiful the area is, and how smartly they were able to work the buildings and structures into the landscape. By utilizing the creek and ponds for sustainable agriculture, and equipping the residents with open spaces, housing, as well as multipurpose buildings, they really have created a beautiful, natural working community.
Ecovillage at Currumbin website: http://theecovillage.com.au
John Mongard Landscape Design Currumbin Photos: http://mongard.com.au/key-projects-currumbin-ecovillage.php
BONUS: Cool video about the Ecovillage at Currumbin