What is an ecovillage, and would you ever live in one?

Explore and envision your ideal community in this class.

How to build an ecovillage

The stuff permaculture dreams are made of, an ecovillage could be the goal of your design project, it could be one small part of it, or it could be something you want to learn about but not necessarily live in. There are a lot of different ways to create living communities that make sense for permaculture people, and this class is about exploring those options!

​An ecovillage is a whole-systems design. All of the same principles apply. In 5 easy steps?

1. Find the right people.

2. Find the right place.

3. Establish shared ethics and goals.

4. Make a plan.

5. Do the work.

As is obvious, each of these steps will need a lot of time, energy, and understanding! It’s real easy to say “I want build an ecovillage,” but the very best way to become adept at this skills you will need to build one is by spending some years living in one (or several.)

Here are a eight very different examples:

Exploring Earthaven Ecovillage, a 25-year old community
My Life in the Dancing Rabbit Eco Village
Wana Duma Eco-Village
LA ecovillage: self-reliance in car-free urban homestead
Ecovillage Design Education Documentary Auroville | Youth Link | GEN | Auroras Eye Films
O.U.R. Ecovillage Permaculture Based Sustainable Community
Maitreya EcoVillage
Medieval Spanish ghost town becomes self-sufficient ecovillage


  • Include common spaces and shared community resources in your design. 
  • Survey your neighbors and co-imagine ways to make your neighborhood more like a village.​
  • If you live in an urban or suburban area, go out into your neighborhood and make a map of it. Observe and make a note of as many details as you can. Interview your neighbors, be it in your street or in your apartment block. Make a list of their names, jobs, interests, skills and needs.
  • If you have land and want to start an intentional community on it, flesh out your plan. You have come a long way already in the course and you have plenty of tools to start designing. Highlight what you hadn’t yet thought of before this module and present us with your plan to implement.

Relevant Links and Resources​

  • People’s Manual: Guidelines on Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests​. This is a new international instrument that can be used by peasant, fishing and pastoralist organisations, indigenous peoples, the landless, women and youth, and civil society as a whole, to assert their rights. Starting with a myth from the Guna or Kuna people, the experiences and views of peasant, fishing and pastoralist constituencies from all regions in the world have been included.
  • The Sustainable (Re)Evolution Project. Website and book documenting community projects including farms and ecovillages around the world.
  • The Economics of Happiness. This film produced by Helena Norberg-Hodge spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today’s global economy. It also highlights the many benefits of a shift towards the local and showcases some of the steps people are already taking worldwide. Featuring interviews with Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Samdhong Rinpoche, and other inspiring thinkers and activists.The film has been translated into 26 languages, including French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Russian.
Ecovillage living - a new source of hope | Kosha Joubert | TEDxGeneva
Transition Towns Movement

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). This website includes a map of urban and rural ecovillages and communities all over the world, and these videos will give you more info about the network and about ecovillages in general.​

What is an Ecovillage?

The Global Ecovillage Network

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