“Think Globally, Develop Locally’’

At present times, the balance between nature and society is harder to find and many people start to think on how to attain such a thing, advocating for sustainable development. Some of those people, the Silveira Tech Regeneration Village staff, are building a regenerative and technologically advanced community in an abandoned village, located in Serra da Lousã, Portugal.

SilveiraTech was founded in 2017 and at the heart of their project are the villages, mountains and human beings. Composed by a team of 9 people they work on a daily basis, in order to make the idea become reality by 2025. Arthur Folkmann, co-founder of the project, is in charge of the “Community and Partnerships” briefcase, and says that the concept of these villages is to connect people with nature stating: “We are nature, we are not apart from it”.

Schist house located in Casal Novo

In Cerdeira village, a similar project is already ongoing, and is run by some of  the people that now make up SliveiraTech’s team. It started about 20 years ago, when the abandoned houses were rebuilt and refurbished, in order to combine nature, comfort and schist houses. Due to its success, it has received the National Tourism Award for authentic destinations.

The idea of the project is to create global change by local action. To do this they are renovating an abandoned village in the municipality of Lousã, in the renowned Schist Villages area, merging Silveira de Cima and Silveira de Baixo. Apart from merging the two villages, Silveira Tech aims to merge the latter together with the mountains and human ethics.

The “Tech” part of the name comes from the aim of using technology to connect the villagers, as Folkmann exemplified: “There will be a phone app that will run many of the villages’ activities.” Everyone can help, doing activities for the community, submitting them to the app, so that the community can be informed and even attend to it. There will be a series of workshops for the inhabitants, in order to “change mindsets”, because, as Folkmann said: “We can’t be in nature with a big town mindset”. The project is thought to be integrated within the community with a culture space that will represent the vision of the villages, called MINA.

Apart from that, the project aims to implement permaculture. The latter is a method of land management that imitates the configurations found in thriving natural ecosystems. These ideas are applied in areas including community resilience, rewilding, and regenerative agriculture. They also plan on having an economically sustainable village eliminating the need to work outside of it.

Unplanned monocultures of eucalyptus and acacia have been encroaching on Portuguese woods, causing deforestation and helping causing fatal wildfires. This is why, around the Portuguese village of Silveira, 220 hectares of land are being replanted by them.

This project is an innovative and inspiring idea that encourages economic growth, environment regeneration, job creation, talent attraction and an increase in population in the area. By 2025 this project is expected to become a reality, giving the way to sustainable development worldwide.

Gustavo Santos, Inês Amaral, Roze Aleksa Bogdane, Sara Mifsud, Tjaša Tanja Marolt