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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.

We are not apart from nature, but of it… This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond ‘mitigating’ and ‘adapting’ to it… It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere that seems, frankly, better than where we are right now.

– Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate, 2014

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)

Water tubes

(Animated by Lily Ericsson)

More videos coming soon!