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|See also the Ecovillages category.|
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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 - 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 150 individuals, which is considered to be the maximum social network according to findings from sociology and anthropology (Hill & Dunbar, 2002). However, cooperative networks of ecovillages do exist.
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.
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.
Note: In recent years, Gilman has stated that he would also add the criterion that an ecovillage must have multiple centers of initiative. 
Characteristics of ecovillages
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:
- "Green" infrastructural capital;
- autonomous building or clustered housing, to minimize ecological footprint;
- renewable energy;
- cohousing or other forms of supportive community.
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:
- local purchasing so as to support the local economy;
- local food production and distribution;
- moral purchasing to avoid objectionable consumption;
- consensus decision-making for governance;
- a choice to respect diversity.
The term ecovillage should not be confused with micronation, a strictly legal, not infrastructural, concept.
"A framework for strategic sustainable development" provides more information.
List of ecovillages
Ecovillages in Europe
Ecovillages in North America
- Bosque Village (Michoacan, Mexico) : Facebook : YouTube : Bosque Village Wiki
- Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage (Rutledge, Missouri)
- Earthaven Ecovillage (Black Mountain, North Carolina)
- EcoReality (British Columbia, Canada)
- EcoVillage Ithaca (Ithaca, New York)
- Los Angeles Eco-Village (Los Angeles, California)
- The Farm (Summertown, Tennessee)
- A-Welcome-To-All: We Invite You Ecovillage (Olympia, Washington)
- PAZ Ecovillage (Terlingua, Texas)
- Rancho Delicioso (Montezuma, Costa Rica)
- Twin Oaks Community (Louisa, Virginia)
- Christian, D. 2003. Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-471-1
- Hill, R. and Dunbar, R. 2002. "Social Network Size in Humans." Human Nature, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 53-72.
- Jackson, H. and Svensson, K. 2002. Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People. Green Books. ISBN 1-903998-16-6
- Intentional Communities wiki
- Ecovillages on Ekopedia
- Ecovillage Wiki - intended to facilitate ecovillages to develop regional and global networks. (Still active at mid-2011, but a low level of activity.)
- Global Ecovillage Network
- Intentional Communities website
- Ecovillage Directory - List of Ecovillages in the Intentional Communities Directory
- DVDs about Ecovillages worldwide
- Living Together: Sustainable Community Development
- The Ecovillage Model
- Voices of Cohousing: Rebuilding villages in the city - Documentary on mainstream urban ecovillages (cohousing)
- Network in Suomi
- A Cluster Of Eco-villages
- Eurotopia: Living in Community - A Directory of European Intentional Communities
- THE REVOLUTIONARY CIVILIZATIONAL PARADIGM ECO VILLAGES
- Sustainable cities
- Intentional communities
- Types of communities
- Sustainable cities
- Sustainable development
- Sustainable design
- Green living
- Green communities
- Appropriate technology villages
- Sustainable city living