In this world of hoaxes, fake news, and viral stories based on unchecked facts, it can be hard to trust a story that comes out claiming something so incredible it seems hard to believe. Stories about bomb-sniffing bees and a mantis shrimp that can swing its claws so fast it boils the surrounding water require a little more research and verification, or else you risk posting it to Facebook and Twitter and being publicly shamed as gullible when the story comes out as false.
Here is one of those stories that seems hard to believe; WASP, an Italian company located in Massa Lombarda, is planning to print an entire, high-tech village using clay found in local soils and their giant, 12-meter tall 3D printer known as BigDelta. The village, which they are calling Shambhala (based on the mythical kingdom that symbolizes peace, tranquility, and happiness) is meant to be eco-friendly, have low energy consumption, and be comprised of inhabitants who will be fully self-sufficient without reliance on outside corporations, according to 3dprint.com.
And it isn’t just in the planning/dreaming stages, either. An agreement was just signed to begin work on the project and construction is set to begin in April of 2017.
The fundamental idea behind Shambhala is based on a “Maker Economy” model, where everything is self-made and the people who live in the village collaborate with each other to develop solutions to their problems. The model is meant to be used in the poorest regions of the world, but the idea of being self-sufficient is appealing to many people, regardless of a given locale's economy.