(Animated by Lily Ericsson)

There is a world in which humans integrate into the water-nutrient cycle. Welcome to Greenway, an achievable, sustainable vision from Earle Barnhart and Hilde Maingay.

Greenway is a vision of an ecological neighborhood, where basic needs – food, water, shelter, transport, communications – are provided in ecologically sustainable ways with renewable energy. It’s a network of homes, greenhouses, garden, and businesses, connected by sheltered corridors. Housing is integrated with agriculture. Biology is integrated with technology. People are integrated with the cycles of the Earth.

Greenway – then & now

New Alchemy Institute first explored the concept of bioshelters from 1970 to 1990, including design, research and testing of prototypes.

Among our major tasks is the creation of ecologically derived human support systems – renewable energy, agriculture, aquaculture, housing and landscapes.  The strategies we research emphasize a minimal reliance on fossil fuels and operate on a scale accessible to individuals, families, and small groups.

– Bulletin of the New Alchemists, Fall 1970

How do we get to Greenway?

The Greenway is a blueprint for a next-generation bioshelter. Its eco-architecture  includes housing, a close connection to outdoor agriculture, and recycling of food nutrients, designed at a community scale. It is a realizable vision of a sustainable habitat for humans on this planet.

  • Safe food is produced locally, efficiently, and organically in greenhouse gardens and fish ponds, as well as outdoor chicken coops and permaculture gardens, fields, and orchards.
  • Water for drinking and irrigation comes from capturing, storing and purifying rainwater.
  • Shelter is provided by apartments and homes connected by sheltered corridors.
  • Nutrient recovery and recycling is enabled by eco-toilets and composting centers.
  • Renewable energy provides power for electric vehicles, heating, cooling, and all equipment.
  • Communication is by conventional WiFi, Internet and GPS.

Read more about the Greenway vision in a downloadable PDF here.

We are all climate refugees

Environmental refugees will need to be housed in new, well-designed, low-energy inland villages or self-reliant settlements, minimizing transport and fossil fuel uses.

Bill Mollison, Permaculture, 1988
Eco-infrastructure provides essential food, water, shelter, and utilities.

Greenway infrastructure is well-suited to provide housing and basic needs to people displaced by climate change, without adding emissions. The architecture is decentralized, but is also interconnected to facilitate travel and communication. It is modular, to allow for mass-production and rapid assembly.

By integrating housing with food production and community-scale utilities, this eco-infrastructure has the potential to 1) provide humane shelter and security for climate refugees and 2) replace the climate-destroying industrial infrastructure that supports our current society. 


The following videos were produced by The Green Center. Subscribe to the Greenway YouTube channel for updates as more videos are added!

Cape Cod Ark

A real life version of a Greenway, where Green Center founders Earle and Hilde live.

(Produced by Levi Baruch)

Follow the Water

(Animated by Lily Ericsson)

Follow the water through the Greenway to a more sustainable way of life. Rainwater from the roof is collected inside, where it passes through aquaponics ponds, is used to store solar heat, and then is used to irrigate indoor and outdoor gardens. Some rainwater water is purified for drinking and cooking. After multiple uses the water is evaporated back to the sky by plants or is released into the environment as unpolluted groundwater.

Water tubes

(Animated by Lily Ericsson)

These Greenway Passive Solar Heat Storage Tubes absorb and store excess heat from greenhouse air during the day and release the stored heat into the greenhouse at night. Water is the best material for heat storage, storing the most heat for its volume. Each tube, made from Teflon, is 100% transparent, letting sunlight pass on through to growing plants in the greenhouse. Heat is absorbed automatically from warm air, and is released automatically back into colder air. Water tubes are most efficient if hung high in a greenhouse where the air is warmest and above the soil and crops. Water tubes are : — automatic; the air and heat move naturally — silent; no fans, no power, no fuel, no burners — simple, no mechanical or digital controls — you can see them working; water condenses on the outside when it is actively storing heat — more attractive than ducts.

Build a compost box in less than 2 minutes (and reduce your carbon footprint)

This Greenway Compost Box system is easy to make, easy to use, easy to move and will reduce your carbon footprint in multiple ways. Waste organic material is added at the top and slowly sinks down as it decomposes. Finished compost is removed from openings at the bottom. These compost boxes efficiently recycle waste organic materials, produce compost and at the same time prepare and improve soil underneath for future garden beds. Locust tree logs are the best material for these compost boxes because they last longer than any other hard wood.

Simplest, most adaptable siphon for aquaponic systems

This Greenway Siphon is easy to make, never leaks, doesn’t damage the integrity of the tanks and is very adaptable for moving water from pond-to-pond in aquaponics systems. When water is added to one pond, it flows through the siphon to the other pond. Siphons over the top are easily moved and two or more can be used to increase the flow from pond-to-pond. If a siphon gets air in it, the air can be removed simply through the small opening and tube at the top. The transparent plexiglass tube in the center can be made any length to adjust to the distance between two ponds.

More videos coming soon!

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