Eco-villages are people-based initiatives to model sustainable, low-impact, human settlements and lifestyles.
They are applicable to both rural and urban settings and accessible to all. Eco-villagers utilize green energy technology, ecological building techniques, and human-scale design to reduce exploitation of natural resources, facilitate community self-reliance, and improve quality of life.
It is about creating new settlements as well as retrofitting existing rural villages and urban areas. An eco-village is designed in harmony with its environment instead of the landscape being unduly engineered to fit construction plans. By thinking in terms of bioregions/ecosystem environments, sustainable settlements are planned considering water availability, the ability to grow food, and accessibility.
In 1991, Robert Gilman one of the pioneers in the world ecovillage movement, set out a definition of an ecovillage that was to become a standard. Gilman defined an ecovillage as: Human scale, (somewhere where you can feel you know the neighbors in your community); fully-featured settlements, (comprising housing, businesses/livelihood, agriculture, culture, spiritual & educational development, as appropriate to the local setting); human activity is integrated harmlessly into the natural world; supports human development; can be continued into the indefinite future; and must have multiple centers of initiative.
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go to: Global Ecovillage Network