About Ecovillage
Towards sustainable human settlements


Fundamentally, Eco-village and communities are about tackling global problems at the level of our living arrangements. Many of us look about the world today and muse that there has got to be a better way. Being against things isn't enough. Starting from ideas such as peace, cooperation and sustainability, creative solutions are sought to seemingly intractable problems around us. 

As some one said it: "The challenge of creativity is the willingness to stand for something, to take risks, to be provocative, to challenge the judgements that are a summary of past experience." This page is an attempt to define some of the 'stands' that people are taking in relation to human settlements. I don't know that I can speak definitively about all of these perspectives, so feel free to contribute. 

As defined by McCamant and Durret, Cohousing describes a housing arrangement developed in Denmark over the last 30 years, and now adopted increasingly throughout Europe and North America particularly in urban areas. 

Developed and managed by the residents themselves, it combines the autonomy of private dwelling ownership with the advantages of community living. Although individual dwellings are designed to be self-contained, each having its own kitchen, bathroom and living areas, the extensive common facilities and in particular optional commonhouse dinners are valued features of cohousing. Cars are kept at the edge of the site to create a pedestrian friendly area designed for casual interaction and safe play for children. 

In America 30 cohousing projects have been completed and there are 150 projects in the planning stage. Nearer to home in Hobart, Tasmania, Cascade Cohousing has been recently completed. 

Housing Co-operatives 
As defined by Norwood and Smith, Co-op housing is a type of housing ownership in which residents set up, own shares in and control a legal body which owns their housing. Sometimes they have limits fixed upon resale prices. Members pay monthly assessments which include each units propertional share of all the expenses of ownership. Members agree to any type of management that suits their needs ranging from professional property management to hands-on self-management. Other principles are open membership and democratic control. 

As defined by Gillman, Eco-Villages are human scale, full featured settlements which 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. 

Eco-Villages whether urban or rural attempt to bring the many tools for sustainable human settlements that are now largely available to us. Eco-Villages being built right now in the US incorperate a number of cohousing neighbourhoods, with open space leaseable for agriculture/Permaculture. Permaculture is a key theme as is an emphasis on 'onsite livelihoods' ie work which gives these projects an economic base. In that sense they are mixed use and therefore reduce travel. 


These are the kinds of community dealt with by this website. They are usually distinguished from 'intentional communities' which have tended to have a religious or other focus and significant degrees of shared economy. Eco-Village and cohousing tends to be more autonomous financially and personally, with individuality, diversity and tolerance of difference essential to their success. 

The essential core value could be decribed as the Permaculture ethic of care for the earth and care for people. Neighbourhoods for the 21st century! 


This Page!Info about projects in progressRead or display EV or C noticesLocal 'how to'Global info resources

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has"
--Margaret Mead

"Cohousing, building a better society, one neighbourhood at a time."

--Bumper sticker  
Page maintained by Peter Scott, last update 30.6.98