Australia needs well considered regional expansion that ticks: sustainability,healthy living, work environment. Innumerable farming communities exist that produce food,source water,build shelter and yet people move away seeking work. Paradigm change?
Eco-villages that have all necessary needs met: vertical farming, water collection, animal husbandry, cadetships for upskilling, modest effective housing solutions, opportunities to free one self from welfare, opportunities to own and share in 'the great Australian dream' based on a community-lead approach (viz. shared urban farming on a larger scale and more in regional setting). Eco-villages could offer food production, schooling, construction skills, farming skills, trade qualifications (still through the auspices of RTO's).
Each Eco-village could have core-competencies in (eg. construction, education, horticulture, solar farming etc or a combination). Many people have interest in such initiatives including the under-employed, welfare recipients, the eco-conscious with interests in sustainability, people wanting healthy-living alternatives.
Significant areas and infrastructure already exists and so too people with knowledge and skill sets to work with the resources they are handed. The Eco-village concept does not require significant sums of investment money, businesses could sponsor and support in a mutually beneficial arrangement where appropriate.
This initiative is somewhat of an attempt to decentralise and take pressures away from the endless need to build and upgrade costly infrastructures in our existing cities. Eco-villages could lead to regional hubs and regional expansion and give hope and opportunities to people that cannot see an existing roadmap to leave 'the big smoke'.