Urban design now recognises the need for alternatives to soulless and dispiriting residential developments located far from jobs, schools, shops, leisure and social opportunities. There is a rising awareness, too, that in its quest for short-term returns, conventional speculative property development passes onto communities the long-term risks of biodiversity loss, social fragmentation, environmental degradation, energy and transport costs, and more. Explored here is a prototype for an alternative model to residential development that puts holistic resilience and sustainability first. In these compact “urban cells”, cars have been designed out. Work is local and self-sufficiency in power, water and food is possible. Social cohesion is allowed to emerge. Importantly, the financial instruments needed to seed and grow such communities already exist.