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EXPERIMENTAL ECO-PROJECT A PLACE OUT OF TIME CALLED VELATROPA

There is a virgin spot in the city which has remained almost pristine until now. Luckily its present inhabitants have set preservation as the key objective for their project. Velatropa stands then as an open invitation for anyone who is eager to be surrounded by nature, right in the middle of a city that has been weeded out for the sake of progress. Hidden among trees, vegetation and concrete, the Velatropa eco-village occupies a space that was meant to house the fifth pavilion of the University City –a project abandoned long ago. A trail behind the fortunately constructed pavilions leads to the entrance of the village. A welcome sign and a trail marked with stones helps us not to get lost but also leave us a little bit disconcerted. Is this a jungle path? Where are we going? Why such a warm greeting to complete strangers? Some years ago, a group of friends started to clean the area up. The idea grew, and now the project is defined as ‘an ecological, sustainable, interdisciplinary, experimental, self-managed node’ that promotes ‘global consciousness and rebirth through the connection to nature’. And it doesn’t matter if all this sounds a little bit strange or idealistic to you first time. Because making a statement about a project that claims to work for the rise of ‘a new culture based on solidarity and peace’ is not something for which we were as heavily trained to understand as a blockbuster movies or TV ads. Heavily criticized by those who don’t share their opinions and values, and mostly by those who don’t even know what Velatropa is all about, the collective organization of the village is deeply concerned about how the project should evolve and growth. So decisions are made on consensus, and internships are even open to enrich this collective experience. Led by the principles of permaculture, the design of the whole settlement tries to replicate the relationships found in natural ecosystems. One of the pillars of this approach is to assemble the different elements in relation to one another, so that the products of one element feed the needs of adjacent elements. In short, this means producing less wastes and using less energy. Continuing with the eco-theme, all materials used for building the village infrastructure are totally natural or recycled.  This means not only promoting an ecological consciousness, but also spreading the word about techniques that are by far more accessible, convenient and eco-friendly than modern concrete construction. Among the various activities that take place in Velatropa, music, dance, theatre and other artistic expressions, blend with meditation, reiki and talks about the Maya cultural and its philosophical legacy. In its essence, the project is about ‘leaving a dream, for making possible the impossible. Playing and listening to each other, to remain true to our dreams and our deepest desires’, say the ‘velatropenses’ in their blog. If you want to visit Velatropa, the best time to do so is during weekends, as most of the people involved in the project don’t live there on a regular basis. Mostly, you’ll find workshops, courses and food being shared with all those present. But please bear in mind that a lot of energy has been invested to give this project reputable shape. So drinking alcohol is not allowed inside the village, while smokers are confined to a specific area if they want to light up. COORDINATES: Pabellón 5 – Ciudad Universitaria Bus Nr. 28, 33, 37, 42, 107 or 160 www.aldeavelatropa.blogspot.com Referencia: the Nose – BA’s city paper www.thenose.com.ar

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