village homes davis

In 1972, Judy and Michael Corbett were inspired to build their eco-friendly dream community. Their dream was met with opposition, criticism, and financial roadblocks. The visionary concept focused on ecology and sociology to establish a balance between environment, economics, and human needs for sustainability. The emphasis was on conservation as residential areas were embedded within expansive open space.

Persistence paid off when the first phase of construction began in 1975. Passive solar energy was captured by homes that were oriented to face the rising sun. The landscape was designed for effective, natural resource management. Many of the residents were in the planning process and formed work parties in a “community-built process”.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY: The Corbetts vision was completed in 1982 as an Ecological Living Community. The community was composed of 242 single and multi-living units housed on 60 acres with bike path, swimming pool, community center, nine bedroom co-op, commercial office space, 12 acres of greenbelts, agricultural land, and village greens. The community was designed to generate revenue to supplement its management costs. The majority of residents have enjoyed a sense of community, stability, and improved safety.

SUSTAINABILITY: Village Homes Community was designed for convenience; edible landscapes; passive and renewable energy resources; efficient water management; backyard community, social networks; open channel bio-drainage; narrow streets; multiple cul-de-sacs; and resident participation community management.

ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE: The green Village has become an economically successful development, with homes valued at $10-25 per square foot higher, experience 30 percent less market time, realize one third less energy costs, and consume 50% less energy than those in neighboring areas. Conventional storm sewers were not created, which saved the community $200,000 in development costs. Up to 50% and 100% hot water needs have been provided during winter and summer, respectively. The community center has offered rental space to residents and to the extended community. Day care center and exercise opportunities have been provided on site.    

VILLAGE PROJECT REALIZED: Natural active and passive cooling and heating systems have been designed to include an optional active solar hot water system. The narrow streets and sidewalks are intentionally shaded by trees to reduce them from absorbing heat from the sun.

The Home Owners Association is responsible for the agriculture and community management tasks.

Common walking and biking areas have been located behind homes and away from the streets to reduce travel time and increase safety for adults and children.

Creek beds, bio-swales, vegetation, and water holding areas have allowed water to percolate through soil, be purified, and replenish underground aquifers.

Communal greenspace has been used for enjoyment, recreation, and social activities. Flowers and food are harvested and sold for a small profit while using drought tolerant, native vegetation and hydrozone gardening techniques.

Residents have experienced a higher amount of social interactions then those who live in the neighboring area.

We are embraced by historic times of rapid change. The Green Economic Revolution is taking the world by storm. Join the game by redesigning your home, business, neighborhood, parks.

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Corbett, Judy and Michael N. Corbett. 2000. Designing Sustainable Communities: Learning from Village Homes. Washington, D.C. Island Press.

Francis, Mark. 2002. Village Homes: A Case Study In Community Design. Landscape Journal. Vol. 21:1-02. Pgs. 23-41. (Ref. 5)


  1. I wish I could have lived here and raised our son here. He was born in 1980, but in New Hampshire. This sounds like one of the many co-housing communities we thought of joining/starting, also, but we just couldn’t get to do it. Thanks for posting.

    best to you,


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