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Default.png    See also the Ecovillages category.
for subtopics, how-tos, project pages, designs, organization pages and more.

Ecovillages are a kind of sustainable neighbourhood, which are typically planned and managed cooperatively. They are intended to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable intentional communities[1][2] - though they include models that may be less intense and offer more privacy than some intentional communities. Compared to sustainable cities, they are smaller and typically aim for a population of no more than 50-150 individuals, which is considered to be the maximum social network according to findings from sociology and anthropology (Hill & Dunbar, 2002). Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals may, however, exist as networks of smaller "ecomunicipalities" or subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that allows for social networks within a broader foundation of support.

Ecovillage members are united by shared ecological, social or spiritual values (see Intentional community). An ecovillage is often composed of people who have chosen an alternative to centralized power, water, and sewage systems. Many see the breakdown of traditional forms of community, wasteful consumerist lifestyles, the destruction of natural habitat, urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels, as trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster. They see small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact as an alternative. However, such communities often cooperate with peer villages in networks of their own (see Global Ecovillage Network for an example). This model of collective action is similar to that of Ten Thousand Villages, which supports the fair trade of goods worldwide.


In 1991, Robert Gilman set out a definition of an ecovillage that was to become a standard. Gilman defined an ecovillage as a settlement:

  • which is human-scale
  • which is full-featured
  • in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world
  • in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and
  • which can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.[1]

Note: In recent years, Gilman has stated that he would also add the criterion that an ecovillage must have multiple centers of initiative.

Ecomunicipalities explained[edit]

An eco-municipality, (also known as eco-town) is a local government government that has adopted environmental and social justice values in its charter. The development of eco-municipalities stems from changing systems in Sweden, where more than seventy municipal governments have accepted varying principles of sustainability in their operations as well as community-wide decision making processes.[3] The purpose of these policies is to increase the overall sustainability of the community.

The distinction between an eco-municipality and other sustainable development projects (such as green building & alternative energy) is the focus on community involvement and social transformation in a public agency as well as the use of a holistic systems approach. An eco-municipality is one that recognizes that issues of sustainability are key to all decisions made by government. Many eco-municipality projects also incorporate the Natural Step into their change processes.[4]

History of ecomunicipalities[edit]

In 1983 the Övertorneä community of Sweden first adopted an Eco-municpality framework followed by a formal organization in 1995 (SEKOM).

Characteristics of ecovillages[edit]

The principles on which ecovillages rely can be applied to urban and rural settings, as well as to developing and developed countries. Advocates seek infrastructural independence and a sustainable lifestyle (for example, of voluntary simplicity) for inhabitants with a minimum of trade outside the local area, or ecoregion. Rural ecovillages are usually based on organic farming, permaculture and other approaches which promote ecosystem function and biodiversity. Some ecovillages integrate many of the design principles of cohousing, but with a greater ecological focus and a more "organic" process, typical of permaculture design.

An ecovillage usually relies on:

The goal of most ecovillages is to be a sustainable habitat providing for most of its needs on site. Its organization also usually depends upon some instructional capital or moral codes - a minimal civics sometimes characterized as eco-anarchism:

The term ecovillage should not be confused with micronation, a strictly legal, not infrastructural, concept.

List of ecovillages[edit]

Ecovillages in Europe[edit]

Findhorn Eco Village Scotland
Suderbyn Ekoby (Sweden):

Ecovillages in North America[edit]



Interwiki links[edit]

External links[edit]

External links of ecomunicipalities[edit]

See also[edit]