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Case Study 3: Eco-Villages
Transcript of Case Study 3: Eco-Villages
Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities
Urban Eco-villages as an Alternative Model to Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods: The Eco-village Approach of the Seminary Square/ Price Hill Eco-village of Cincinnati, Ohio
What Is an “Ecovillage”? by: Linda Joseph and Albert Bates
How Ecovillages Can Grow Sustainable Local Economies by: Jonathan Dawson
And one more thing... we need more pioneers to help establish ecovillages in our world. According to Robert and Diane Gilman, in Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities (1991): "Our ecovillage movement is blessed with diversity. From rural to urban, neighborhood experiments to large districts in transition, in many cultures and geopolitical climates, people are and getting on with the work that must be done" Ecovillages provide many benefits especially environmental, social and cultural, health, and economic What are Ecovillages? Common Features: Benefits: by: Elana Abraham
The work is hard, life expectancy is short, opportunities for personal development and education are few (almost non-existent for women), and the diversity of livelihoods is small.
The success of ecovillages depend on low population densities - a luxury we no longer have.
Existing infrastructure and social patterning makes it so much easier for people to keep living in the same old unsustainable ways than to pioneer sustainable communities.
Tend to be more patriarchal (could probably change but its a current complaint.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Rutledge, MO “A human-scale, full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.” Its important to note that the ecovillage movement is too wide-reaching and experimental to fit some tidy model with enforceable standards. It can look like this.... Or even this.... References: In 1975 the magazine Mother Earth News began constructing experimental energy systems, novel buildings, and organic gardens near its business office in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and in 1979, began calling this educational center an “eco-village.” Origins: Interesting Facts:
EcoVillage at Ithica, NY Has its own internal economy, which includes bartering and an internal currency
Eventually, aim for 500 to 1,000 inhabitants.
Residents agree to follow ecological covenants and sustainability guidelines.
Build homes using straw bale and cob, and power them with renewable energy from the Sun and wind.
Vehicles are cooperatively owned and powered by biodiesel.
Eat mainly local, organic, and in-season foods including many home-grown vegetables. Interesting Facts: Conceptual Framework:
The History Behind Ecovillages The “ecovillage” is the latest conceptualization in a long history of utopian visions: model living situations that have the potential for bringing out the best in human nature.
Utopian visions were practiced, preached, or experimented on throughout history: the Puritans, the Luddites, the Zionists, the Amish, the Quakers, the Mormons, Walden and Walden Two, etc…. includes varied backgrounds – religious, secular, co-operative, political.
The 1960’s and 70’s saw a resurgence of utopian ideals. Sparked by a deep dissatisfaction with the prevailing institutions of economic materialism and global domination, responsive people took off in droves to create a better, purer lifestyle for themselves in the refuge of the countryside. This ‘back-to-the-land’ movement was a crude predecessor to the current ecovillage response.
Ideas published in In Context and by issue #29, in the Summer of 1991, the term “eco-village” was first introduced. The ecovillage concept was the ultimate synthesis and came with a definition: a human scale,full-featured settlement, in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world, in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be continued into the indefinite future
What are Ecovillages? Ecovillages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. The population can range between as little as 50 people to over 2,000 people.
Ecovillage members are united by shared ecological, social-economic and cultural-spiritual values. An ecovillage is often composed of people who have chosen an alternative to centralized electrical, water, and sewage systems. Many see the many current lifestyle trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster. Ecovillages see small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact as an alternative. However, such communities often cooperate with peer villages in networks of their own. This is model of collective action
Additional Definitions In 1991, Robert Gilman set out a definition of an ecovillage that was to become a standard. Gilman defined an ecovillage as a: "human-scale full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future."
In recent years, Gilman has stated that he would also add the criterion that an ecovillage must have multiple centers of initiative.
Johnathon Dawson, former president of the Global Ecovillage Network, describes five ecovillage principles in his 2006 book Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability:
Common Features: 1.They are not government-sponsored projects, but grassroots initiatives.
2.Their residents value and practice community living.
3.Their residents are not overly dependent on government, corporate or other centralized sources for water, food, shelter, power and other basic necessities. Rather, they attempt to provide these resources themselves.
4.Their residents have a strong sense of shared values, often characterized in spiritual terms.
5.They often serve as research and demonstration sites, offering educational experiences for others
Focus on producing and consuming locally, forging meaningful relationships and living as sustainably as possible
Building a positive community is integral to the workings of an Ecovillage
Grow the majority of their food organically, use local materials for their buildings, protect biodiversity and growing seasons and protect local water, soil and air.
Money is kept within the community and is circulated between members
Integrate various aspects of ecological design: ecological building, alternative energy, environmentally benign manufacturing or production, permaculture (landscaping designed to mimic nature and to provide the community with food, fibre and fuel), and community building practices
Made up of an intentional community and a non-profit educational organization which promotes an alternative model for suburban living
Includes two 30-home cohousing neighborhoods, FROG and SONG, and a third neighborhood TREE in the planning stages.
Residents share common dinners several times per week, and volunteer about 2-3 hours per week on various work teams to maintain the village
Community decisions are made through a consensus process
Planning for future expansion and educational programs
the more people involved with ecovillages, the more improvements we can make to them
they can become more widespread and common this will aid in reducing human footprint on the world
this would also conserve more resources
this would change the way agriculture is produced
this leads to a healthier lifestyle
this creates a deeper sense of community in the village
Ecovillages provide a sensible solution to many of our country's problems and could help solve many larger issues. Therefore, ecovillages should be considered when deciding how you want to live your life in the future. Environmental: Reducing waste; reducing pollution; reducing chemical use; increased biodiversity; developing carbon "banks"; improved water and air quality; zero transport of many materials and goods. Social and Cultural: People work less and spend more time with family; less stress; enjoyable food production; ideal environment to raise children Health: Economic: People are less stressed; lead healthier and more active lifestyles; eat better foods - ones that are organic and local AND contain no chemicals. Land is more productive and has higher yields; they rely on themselves for food - much cheaper; property values; debt free community