Global Ecovillage Network
The Global Ecovillage Network is a global association
Voluntary association
A voluntary association or union is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement as volunteers to form a body to accomplish a purpose.Strictly speaking, in many jurisdictions no formalities are necessary to start an association...

 of people and communities (ecovillage
Ecovillages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Some aim for a population of 50–150 individuals. Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that...

s) dedicated to living "sustainable
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 plus" lives by restoring the land and adding more to the environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 than is taken. Network members share ideas and information, transfer technologies and develop cultural and educational exchanges.


Hildur and Ross Jackson from Denmark established the Gaia Trust, a charitable foundation, in 1991. Gaia funded a study by Robert Gilman
Robert Gilman
Robert C. Gilman is a thinker on sustainability who, along with his late wife Diane Gilman, has researched and written about ecovillages. The Gilmans’ work was important in giving definition to the ecovillage movement and shaping the direction of the Global Ecovillage Network...

 and Diane Gilman
Diane Gilman
Diane Gilman , was a painter, potter, writer and co-founder of the Context Institute. She played a key role in the initial development and coordination of the Global Ecovillage Network, a support network for model communities to show how to live more sustainably on the planet, in urban, rural,...

 of sustainable communities
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

 around the world. The report, Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities, was released in 1991. The report found that although there were many interesting ecovillage projects, the full-scale ideal ecovillage did not yet exist. Collectively, however, the various projects described a vision of a different culture and lifestyle that could be further developed.

In 1991 the Gaia Trust convened a meeting in Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 of representatives of eco-communities to discuss strategies for further developing the ecovillage concept. That led to the formation of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). In 1994 the Ecovillage Information Service was launched (see Global Ecovillage Network link below). In 1995, the first international conference of ecovillage members, entitled Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century, was held at Findhorn, Scotland. The movement grew rapidly following this conference.

By 2001, GEN had obtained consultative status at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In October 2005, at the conference to celebrate the tenth anniversary of GEN, a group of young adults joined together to found NextGEN (the Next Generation of the Global Ecovillage Network). GEN does not have a verification procedure to select ecovillages or member subscriptions on their website. A Community Sustainability Assessment tool has been developed that provides a means to assess how successful a particular ecovillage is at improving its sustainability.


The network includes a variety of types of sustainable settlements and ecovillages:
  • Ecotowns, such as Auroville
    Auroville is an "experimental" township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Pondicherry in South India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa and designed by architect Roger Anger...

     in South India, the Federation of Damanhur
    Federation of Damanhur
    The Federation Of Damanhur, often called simply Damanhur, is a commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community situated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy about 30 miles north of the city of Turin. It is located in the foothills of the Alps in the Valchiusella valley, bordering on the Gran...

     in Italy and Nimbin
    Nimbin, New South Wales
    Nimbin is a village in the Northern Rivers area of the Australian state of New South Wales, approximately 30 km north of Lismore, 33 km southeast of Kyogle, and 70 km west of Byron Bay....

     in Australia;
  • rural ecovillages, such as Gaia Asociación in Argentina and Huehuecoyotl
    In Aztec mythology, Huehuecóyotl is the auspicious god of music, dance and song of ancient Mexico. He is depicted in the Codex Borbonicus as a dancing coyote with human hands and feet, accompanied by a human drummer...

    , in Mexico;
  • permaculture
    Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. It is based on the ecology of how things interrelate rather than on the strictly biological concerns that form the foundation of modern agriculture...

    , including Crystal Waters
    Crystal Waters
    Crystal Waters is an American dance music singer and songwriter.-Childhood and young adult life:Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Waters is the daughter of Betty and Junior Waters, a famed jazz musician; her great aunt, Ethel Waters, was one of the first African-American vocalists to appear in...

    , Australia, Cochabamba
    Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and is the fourth largest city in Bolivia with an urban population of 608,276 and a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 people...

    , Bolivia and Barus, Brazil;
  • urban rejuvenation projects, such as Los Angeles EcoVillage and Christiania in Copenhagen, and
  • educational centres, such as Findhorn Foundation
    Findhorn Foundation
    The Findhorn Foundation is a Scottish charitable trust registered in 1972, formed by the spiritual community at the Findhorn Ecovillage, one of the largest intentional communities in Britain....

     in Scotland, the Centre for Alternative Technology
    Centre for Alternative Technology
    The Centre for Alternative Technology is an eco-centre in Powys, mid-Wales, dedicated to demonstrating and teaching sustainable development. CAT, despite its name, no longer concentrates its efforts exclusively on alternative technology, but provides information on all aspects of sustainable living...

     in Wales and the Ecovillage Training Center
    Ecovillage Training Center
    The Ecovillage Training Center is a "total immersion school" for sustainability. It is located at The Farm, an intentional community/ecovillage in Summertown, Tennessee, USA. The curricula of the center are "holistic and comprehensivist" and foster hands-on learning.Albert Bates, a long-time...

     in Tennessee.


The Global Ecovillage Network's aim is "to support and encourage the evolution of sustainable settlements across the world." The network does this through:
  • Internal and external communications services; facilitating the flow and exchange of information about ecovillages and demonstration sites;
  • Networking and project coordination in fields related to sustainable settlements, and
  • Global cooperation/partnerships (UN Best Practices, EU Phare, EYFA, ECOSOC).


GEN has offices and volunteers in each of its three Regions: GEN Europe, GEN Oceania and Asia (GENOA), and The Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA).

External links

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