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In 1991, Robert Gilman set out a definition of an eco-villages that was to become a standard. Gilman defined an eco-villages 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.
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 eco-village usually relies on:
  • "Green" infrastructural capital;
  • Autonomous building or clustered housing, to minimize ecological footprint;
  • Renewable energy;
  • Permaculture;
  • cohousing or other forms of supportive community.
  • 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 commitment to respect diversity.

Be sure to take a look at Intentional Communities and CoHousing.

Eco-Village at Ithaca, NY

The Eco-Village - a viable alternative?

Green: Ecotopia at 30

Eco-City Builders

This a non-profit organization dedicated to reshaping cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems.

Its goals include returning healthy biodiversity to the heart of our cities, agriculture to community gardens and the streets, and convenience and pleasure to walking, bicycling and transit.

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