Rising out of the high desert landscape of New Mexico are dozens of futuristic-looking homes that are part of an ongoing experiment in off-the-grid living.
Some of the 70-plus home are almost buried in the earth, and some rise a story or two above it. Some are tiny one-room dwellings, and others are designed to shelter and to feed a family of four. All of these so-called “earthships” require no electrical grid, no water lines and no sewer systems.
The Greater World Earthship Community, the brainchild of architect Mike Reynolds, includes nearly 700 acres of rural property. The closest town is Taos, a small artsy and ski community that has a population of less than 6,000.
Reynolds began his experimental community of self-sufficient homes in the 1970s. However, it hit some bumps with permits and regulations before the county government designated the community as an “illegal subdivision” in 1997. Government officials eventually changed their position.
Today, the community is thriving again and even includes a school for training students who want to learn how to build self-sufficient housing. The county also gave the organization two acres for designing and building homes that do not meet its building code requirements.