The components of a village:
1. small clustered homes. (high density)
2. adjoining, adjacent or surrounding agriculture and food production
3. adjoining, adjacent or surrounding nature and forestry preserves.
4. shared community spaces and structures.
Combining these four elements creates a very liveable and meaningful place that can function continuously for a long time. The first pictures below are of America's longest continuously inhabited community, the 1,000 year old "pueblos" or villages of Taos, New Mexico. The 1,000 year old structures of these villages are made of unfired earthen mixtures.
The village principles can be seen in these photos (taken from www.taospueblo.com)
Below is a picture of an ancient village of France called Gordes. You can see the clustered homes offset and surrounded by wilderness open space and fields of agriculture that feeds the village.
Clustering the homes in one space preserves the other space for agriculture or forestry. Clustering homes together densely creates community. A village square is central and basic component of a village.
Food production in direct proximity provides the farmers a direct market, and the residents the freshest food without transportation costs added to the environment. Living next to an abundant source of food production provides a sense of security thereby enhancing the quality of life. Living near the forest enhances quality of life.
I learned these ideas during my internship with Village Habitat Design a village design and education firm, (www.villagehabitat.com) that draws it's inspiration from the villages of France where the founder grew up.
Each year the firm takes people on a tour of this region of France that most of these photos are from.