Planning Principles and Technologies
Mandala Village will incorporate the best features of both ancient and modern planning and building technologies for healthy living, environmental sensitivity, and sustainability. Combining residential and commercial elements in one location is the essence of a village. Having many of the essential daily working and shopping needs within reasonable walking or biking range of where you live reduces car dependence—good for the environment, our health, and our social interactions.
The Best of Modern and Ancient Design
Mandala Village draws on modern approaches to community planning such as New Urbanism, which emphasizes walkable, human-scaled, sustainable living. Yet as ideal as some modern eco-communities are, Mandala Village goes a step beyond by providing essential experiences often lacking in modern life, such as peace and contentment.
To enliven these elusive but all-important inner values of life, Mandala Village incorporates principles of ancient Vedic architecture and town planning. This age-old tradition is rooted in a deep spiritual appreciation of the value of community and its connectedness to nature.
A key principle used throughout Mandala Village, for instance, is to orient each home toward the rising sun, creating a harmonious relationship between the homeowner and natural law and a restored sense of place in the cosmos. Sense of place—feeling intimately connected to your environment—has been closely linked with sense of self. As the environmentalist and author Wendell Berry said, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”
Another Vedic architecture principle is proportion, which means the dimensions of each dwelling and public building are precisely chosen to resonate with the rhythms of nature, creating a naturally harmonious atmosphere for the individual, family, and community from the design up.
While these sacred geometry and design principles are invisible to the eye, the benefits are often dramatic. For instance, people often describe an entirely new experience after moving in—an unshakeable feeling of serenity, well-being, and happiness. By enlivening the nourishing and life-enhancing qualities that form the basis for healthy community living, this design approach provides solutions to many modern problems of architecture and city planning.
Mandala Village’s developers, Richard Bialosky, AIA, and David Ederer, have worked extensively with certified Maharishi Vedic Architecture consultants while designing and building residential homes in Vero Beach, Florida, and recently in designing Mandala Village. The result is village planning that combines the best of modern sustainability with deeply transformational ancient design principles.
Non-Toxic, Healthy Home Construction
Most people are aware of sick building syndrome (SBS), a condition caused by toxic modern construction materials. Yet this problem has not evoked a serious response from the construction industry. At Mandala Village, building with healthy materials is our highest priority. Our design and construction team has over 30 years of experience using a wide range of non-toxic and low-toxic structural and finish materials and protocols, ensuring that the community’s homes and public buildings, including the hotel, are healthy and nontoxic.
Energy Efficiency and Self-Sufficiency
Mandala Village will be a Net Zero Energy Ready community through the use of energy-efficient construction, energy-efficient in-home technologies, and optional energy generation from solar panels and integral on-site renewable sources. Energy-producing technologies are rapidly evolving. We are evaluating various technologies for solar photovoltaic battery storage to community solar farms.
The community is designed for electric and shared vehicles. Charging stations will be available for residents in multi-family condos and apartments, and garages in single-family homes will be pre-wired for electric car chargers and golf-cart chargers. There will be public charging stations in the commercial center.
Homes and public buildings in Mandala Village will be designed to be “Green Certified” under the guidelines of the Florida Green Building Coalition. We are currently exploring a number of other certification programs, including the Living Building Challenge/Living Community Challenge and Living Building Net Zero Energy Certification, as well as Well Certification.
Hurricane-Resilient Design and Construction
Hurricanes in the last decade have proven that the powerful forces of nature are ignored at great peril. In addition to Florida’s building codes, which are among the world’s most stringent when it comes to hurricane-resistant design, Mandala Village will incorporate state-of-the-art protocols and technologies for structural and community-wide resiliency.
Living Lightly on the Land
Mandala Village will become one of the first non–golf course projects in Indian River County to implement its own Best Management Practices (BMPs) to ensure that good intentions are transformed into best practices that enable homeowners to live lightly on the land. Mandala Village’s BMPs will ensure that the most effective and sustainable means for conserving water supplies, improving water quality, and protecting natural resources are implemented. In this way, we will protect our water resources by encouraging water conservation and preventing pollution.
Permaculture and Landscaping
The landscape design of the village will rely on sustainable, permaculture-based landscaping, with edible plants, trees, and Florida native species. Landscaping with Florida native plants minimizes the need for fertilizers and pest control, while providing friendly environments for birds, bees, and butterflies. Lawns replaced with native species not only conserve water, but keep the air cleaner and quieter by reducing the use of noise-polluting lawn mowers and other gas-powered garden tools. NFC Landscape Architects, Inc., a landscape architectural firm that specializes in the use of Florida Native and Florida Friendly plants, is part of the Mandala Village development team.