An alternative economic model: Locally sustainable eco-community to break ground in Costa Rica.
The owners of Finca Las Brisas — an eco-community in the mountains of Costa Rica overlooking the Pacific Ocean — will break ground in mid-January 2009. Their goal is to create an co-community combining co-housing, sustainable development and a viable economic model in these troubled financial times.
"For people looking to make a sound investment in the current global
economic climate – while also simplifying and de-stressing their lives and
reducing costs -- our project makes sense," says Finca Las Brisas Majority
Partner Al Benner.
"Our 150 acres are paid for in full; our soon-to-be-built community center is
funded from lot sales; and most everything anyone could ever need or want
will soon be on site, " he says.
The development's first phase will feature construction of a community center,
built as a rancho or simple countryside dwelling. Recycled banana bags, called
earth bags, will be filled with a special mixture of sand and soil obtained on
site, stacked on top of one another and plastered to form the main structure.
The open-air center will include indoor and outdoor areas to gather, dine and
enjoy the outdoors. Guest quarters and a community kitchen for all lot owners
to use are incorporated in the design. The first phase, expected to be
complete within six months, will also include a caretaker's home, solar panels,
and a plant-based waste management system. Roads, trails, vegetable patches
and fruit gardens – in addition to pure, solar-pumped well water – are already
Ten of the 24 two-acre plots have already been sold to build 1,500-square-
foot year-round or vacation homes. The development, its community
gathering places and all of its homes will rely on self-supporting energy,
farming and community connections with local people and resources. The
owners are creating an alternative sustainable economic model by, for
example, hiring locals for professional and construction needs; creating an
infrastructure to support fully sustainable energy and locally produced food;
and instigating a farmers' market and bi-lingual school just outside the
"We want to do the right thing by the land, the people of Costa Rica and those
who will live in this beautiful setting of waterfalls, ocean sands, rivers and rain
forests," says Benner. "This is a sea-change model for future developments
worldwide because of its built-in social and economic sustainability," he says.
Benner and the other Finca Las Brisas partners have completely self-funded
the development, thus avoiding current liquidity issues with real estate loans.
"The best time to visit Finca Las Brisas and Costa Rica is January through
March," says Benner. "We encourage anyone who would like to explore this
international, sustainable living concept to see it for themselves." For more
information, go to www.FincaLasBrisas.org or call 484-213-5345.