“Why don’t you live in an ecovillage yet?”

This question appeared on my Facebook feed. It was a post from the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and it’s very worth visiting the original post to read the comments.

Also, Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC) shared the post from DR, and it’s very worth visiting their comment section to read the answers there also.

The exact question they posted was: SERIOUS QUESTION: Why don’t you live in an ecovillage yet?

And my answer:

Serious answer: Because besides being expensive (defeating the purpose of living collectively), too many of them are rural.

Rural is problematic for two reasons, as I see it:

1 – Rural areas, at least in the USA, are car-dependent. There’s little point in trying to be a sustainable village if we are still going to be dependent on cars. Even if it’s a shared car.

2 – The social fabric in rural areas (at least in the USA) is not resilient enough when there is not enough of a concentration, critical mass, DIVERSITY of people. Not enough different talents; not enough mix of personalities. It becomes a brittle thing.

Brittle except for maybe only a very select few ecovillages that have managed to attain some longevity — such as Dancing Rabbit.

The original “Ecovillage” is the urban neighborhood. Most of us probably need to stay right in the neighborhoods where we are, and relearn the skills of networking and cooperating with neighbors, local businesses, etc.

Suburban neighborhoods, even, offer some possibility for sustainable collective living. David Holmgren’s book RetroSuburbia, is a good resource for suburbanites seeking to build community that is informed by Permaculture design principles and ethics.