Friday, August 1, 2014
Why the property and its location are ideal for this project


La Décentrale is a 10 room, 1904 built art-nouveau villa, surrounded by a 1 hectare property with mature park trees, sunny meadows and a small forest area. The house has in recent years been reverted to it's original state and will be minimally renovated to preserve it's historic value. It is structurally in good condition and is on the list of buildings for monumental protection.

La Décentrale is located in the heart of the hamlet Mont-Soleil, at 1200m altitude, near the mountain top and on the mountain ridge that carry the same name. Mont-Soleil is well known for its renewable energy installations, Switzerland's largest solar power station and wind-power plant. It serves as a research and demonstration facility that attracts a significant amount of visitors. Mont-Soleil is also well known for its astronomical observatory and its Vipassana meditation center.

Mont-Soleil is reachable by a funicular from the community of St-Imier, 400m lower down in the Vallon de St-Imier, which in turn is connected to the Swiss railway network. Also, small roads connect Mont-Soleil with St-Imier and in the other direction with the other villages of the Franche-Montagnes plateau.

The Mont-Soleil hamlet is not currently in any construction zone and is governed under agricultural zoning restrictions, with exceptions granted on a case by case basis. Establishing a new zoning plan for the hamlet is a long overdue promise of the community of St-Imier, but as was seen based on an information evening earlier this year, will be controversial, with different groups of people unhappy for several different reasons about solutions proposed by the community. There is an opportunity to develop an alternative proposal for a special "Permavillage" zoning plan that will be better able to accommodate and balance the various interests at play. The newly formed, local alternative-green party "Libertaire" will support us in developing this project, mobilizing support by the people and getting the political backing and approval.

The region belongs to the state of Berne, but with some neighboring districts having gained independance to form the state and republic of Jura, the Bernese-Jura region is being granted special autonomous rights. On November 24, 2013, the peoples of the region voted against a proposed formation of a larger canton Jura. With that, the region is set on a path to further strengthen its autonomous status.

St-Imier was at the center of history in 1872, when anti-authoritarian worker-associations from around the world gathered for the Congress of St-Imier to form the first international anarchist organization. The anarchism movement has advanced since then in many different regions in the world and has flourished to an abundance of political philosophies and related movements, such as the green movement and more recently the Occupy movement, which has sprawled a large set of new bottom-up and grass-root-democratic organizations active today.

All these historic dimensions tie in well with different aspects that are at the core of the vision for the La Décentrale property and the Permavillage project, such as permaculture principles, the transition town network and eco-villages. With the Permavillage we intend to embrace this abundance of influences and innovate to a new level of collaborative living.

We want the Permavillage to be a project that integrates well with the context that it is placed in. The environmental, socio-economic, historic and political circumstances of the area make Mont-Soleil an ideal fit for this project.

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Address concerning projects:
Coopérative La Décentrale
Mont-Soleil 59
2610 Mont-Soleil
Address concerning property:
Association Permavillages
La Décentrale
2610 Mont-Soleil

Compte PostFinance:
14-723660-2
Merci pour tout soutien!
Phone, email, location:
+41 329 41 41 41
info@decentrale.ch
Map: Mont-Soleil 59
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