Empowerment of sustainable lifestyles through Intentional Sustainable Communities
Since about 5 years an old, sometimes forgotten economic concept is causing sensation: the commons, which work beyond and in addition to state and market. One case of the new commons movement are Intentional Sustainable Communities (ISCs). Ecovillages can be seen as prominent examples of these ISCs. Ecoviallges are major intentional or traditional community which is deliberately shaped through participatory processes. They work with local property concepts and have the objective to protect and regenerate the social and natural environment. Today approximately 500 ecovillages are existing in Europe, around 30 of them in Germany.
With their aim to establish ways of life which can be continued infinitely into the future or even regenerate the natural environment, ecovillages became models for the establishing of an ecological, social, economic and cultural sustainable lifestyle in the last 25 years. As intentional communities they practice social modes of encounter, that allow a high degree of proximity, solidarity and participation in decision-making and therefore contribute to an ecologically attentive and resource-saving consumption and production habit. To achieve their objectives, ecovillages are acting on broad fields such as ecological design, ecological construction, permaculture, sustainable production and renewable energies. They have often reached a remarkable size and have established independent structures of life, residence, work, economic activity, nutrition and entertainment. In the sector of climate and resource protection they have established their own technical solutions, which have reached a remarkable efficiency of resource consumption through constructional design, social processes or codes of behavior.
So far the exchange of knowledge and practice of new economic systems is marginal between ecovillages and companies of the sustainable aligned economy. But also the networking and exchange of know-how between milieus oriented towards rural areas and the ones which address the needs of urban milieus (above all in the sector of communication technology) could provide useful impulses for new innovations within the meanings of sustainability.
- 2015/2016 – Communities as answer to demographic challenges This project focuses intentional sustainable communities (ISCs) as space pioneers in emptied regions. It is sponsored by the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA). More information here.
- 2013/2014 – Ecovillages as Models for Sustainable Living. This project searches for sustainable economic innovations within intentional sustainable communities (ISCs) and initiates their implementation into the mainstream. It is sponsored by the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA). More information here.