GEN’s definition of ‘ecovillage’ is broad, allowing for many different kinds of communities and projects to be recognised. Because each ecovillage is designed by the people who live there, according to their vision, context, culture and interests, no two are alike.
What is an Ecovillage?
An ecovillage is an intentional, traditional or urban community that is consciously designed through locally owned participatory processes in all four Areas of Regeneration (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate social and natural environments.Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)
Within GENOA, ecovillage refers to intentional communities, indigenous and traditional villages and communities, faith-based and spiritual communities and urban eco-neighbourhoods – and where people identify themselves with an intention to live in a holistic sustainable manner. There are many projects, networks, like-minded organisations, government agencies and alliances within the GENOA network who help support the transition of ecovillages in our region, and in integrating ecovillage principles and solutions into the wider community.
What ecovillages are not
• An Ecovillage is not a particular outcome, but an ongoing process. Each ecovillage is a living and learning center for a regenerative future, a place of continuous exploration.
• Ecovillages are not designed by outside developers, architects or experts, but by communities themselves.
• Ecovillages do not focus solely on ecology, even though many ecovillages start with a strong focus on the ecological dimension. Preservation and restoration of nature can only succeed when the social fabric is strong, cultural heritage is celebrated and people find ways to marry their love for the planet with their need to make a living. Experience has shown that, given enough time, ecovillages will naturally develop to encompass all four dimensions of sustainability.
• Ecovillages are not islands for the rich and middle class. Some of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the ‘Global South’ and communities with the lowest recorded eco-footprints in the ‘Global North’ are engaged in GEN. Ecovillages in the ‘North’ typically focus on simplifying lifestyles to bring their ecological impacts below local and global carrying capacities. They have some of the lowest recorded eco-footprints with respect the national averages in their countries. Ecovillages in the ‘South’ typically focus on preserving precious low-impact traditions, while improving living standards.
Communities do not need to call themselves an ‘Ecovillage’ in order to be recognized by GEN.
Join the community of Global Ecovillage Network
Ecovillages come in many different forms, size and scale. Explore the GENOA Ecovillage Projects to see if there is an ecovillage or ecovillage project near you.