Page data
Keywords Intentional communities, Utopian communities, Urban planning, Environmental design, Intentional communities, Rural community development, Ecovillages, Simple living, Green living, Sustainable agriculture
SDGs Sustainable Development Goals SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
Authors KVDP
Chris Watkins
Published 2007
License CC BY-SA 4.0
Page views 4,846

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 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.

Definition[edit | edit source]

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.[3]

Note: In recent years, Gilman has stated that he would also add the criterion that an ecovillage must have multiple centers of initiative.[4]

Characteristics of ecovillages[edit | edit source]

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.

Eco-municipality[edit | edit source]

An eco-municipality is an area that has formally adopted something like The Natural Step Framework or the APA's Sustainability Policy Framework,[5] and could possibly be considered an ecovillage.

"A framework for strategic sustainable development" provides more information.

List of ecovillages[edit | edit source]

Ecovillages in Europe[edit | edit source]

  • Mediaeval Ecovillage Transylvania

Findhorn Eco Village Scotland
Suderbyn Ekoby (Sweden):

Ecovillages in North America[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]