What is an ecovillage?

“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, with multiple centers of initiative, and (which) can successfully be continued into the indefinite future.”

—Eco-Villages and Sustainable Communities, a Report for Gaia Trust by Context Institute, Robert and Diane Gilman, 1991


Ecovillage take different forms in various cultures and geo-climates, including development of housing cooperatives, conversion of urban neighborhoods, traditional villages, rural settlements housing projects, ecotourism facilities, intentional communities, spiritual centers, transition towns, communes and kibbutzim. Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people, who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. The eco-villages are communities dedicated to creating and demonstrating sustainable livelihoods socially, ecologically, economically and spiritually.

To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more. Ecovillages are living models of sustainability.

They represent an effective, accessible way to combat the degradation of our social, ecological, and spiritual environments.

Principles of Ecovillages:

1. Ecovillages are private citizens’ initiatives. They’re grassroots.

2. Ecovillagers value community living.

3. They are not overly dependent on government, corporate, or other centralized sources for water, food, shelter, power, and other basic necessities.

4. Ecovillagers have a strong sense of shared values, often characterized in spiritual terms.

5. They often serve as research and demonstration sites. Many offer educational experiences for others.

—Paraphrased from Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability, by Jonathan Dawson