Former military property getting new lease of life
Germany is a country littered with former military installations. After the second world war, both the US and Russia introduced their own military locations to gain a foothold in the fallen German state. Patrick Henry Village, near the German city of Heidelberg is one of these places. Opened by the US Army in the 1950’s, this village was intended to replicate America for the soldiers stationed there.
By 2013 the US government decide there was little need for this station. With the site closed, and the land returned to the German government, it lay dormant while a decision could be made for its future.
Step in Prof Carlo Ratti, head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Senseable Cities lab. Having looked for a location for his "experiment for future living" this location seemed perfect. "We started this project with a question, 'What would a commune based on digital sharing look like?' And an island of America in Europe seemed like a good test bed."
The 1-sq-km site has the capability to host up to 4,000 resident, with an aim to initially attract students and entrepreneurs. They will then look to open the site to everyone using an online application process, with the community voting on who they think will add value to the commune.
The ultimate goal is the make the commune completely self-sufficient, including the creation of both building materials and on-site tech. Using 3d printing methods, and the sites old buildings this goal should be achievable. This site is seen as a testbed for cities of the future, and if this experiment is a success we could see more of these old sites being utilized across the globe.
Image copyright: Carlo Ratti Associati®