(Claude Lewenz proposes to build a self-contained “VillageTown” of 5,000 to 10,000 people to be located in McDowell Valley, Southeast of Hopland on 423 acres.
The purpose of my interview was not to learn more about the project — which was well-presented at the recent forum in Hopland, and in his book How To Build a Village, and on the website MendoVito.com — but rather to find out who he is. He says that he is not a “developer” looking to make a profit, but rather a “social entrepreneur” defined on the website as “individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.”
On the website… “A VillageTown is a set of organizational principles designed to enable people and communities to regain control over their own economies and lives. It is used to design and build a self-created, self-funded, self-governing settlement, an archetypal country town that is made of villages, and that does not use a developer. Car-free within its urban core, its people work within walking distance of home… Based on common sense, not utopian ideals, it is what happens when timeless “patterns” proven to work are integrated with the best potential of new technology. Environmentally, socially and culturally, it focuses on balancing life to be sustainable, so present generations leave the earth and its people in better condition than what they inherited from those who came before.”
Here is Claude’s personal story…)