Creating an ecovillage
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"The tensions and contradictions of navigating the creation of the biggest ecovillage in The Netherlands Abstract In the next ten years, we will see a shortage of one million homes in the Netherlands. Feel free to call it a crisis, because the need is great. As a reaction to the housing climate and other social-cultural developments, alternative ways of living are gaining ground. Besides the impossibilities of getting (social) housing, there is also the factor of loneliness, which is mainly caused by the individualistic objective that is perpetrated in capitalist society. As a reaction to these social-cultural movements communal living arrangements are becoming more common. Ecovillages offer the opportunity to plan, present and put into practice alternatives for an increase in four different dimensions of sustainability; economic sustainability, ecological sustainability, cultural sustainability, and social sustainability. The ecovillage is a place to embody and articulate norms, patterns and principles that explore sustainability and holistic living. However, the term “ecovillage” is self-assigned, the question still remains how ecologically sustainable the community actually is (Dias et al. 2017). The most sustainable aspect was the fact that most residents realized more sustainable solutions in their houses by working together as a community, they realized things that would be inaccessible for the individual (Dias et al. 2017). Ecovillage Zuiderveld is the biggest ecovillage in The Netherlands. Their goal is to create a more sustainable way of living, they do this by trying to choose more ecological options regarding the houses they live and the choices they make. But also, by changing the dynamics of a more individual society by providing and maintaining more communal living arrangements. I examine the ways in which members of this ecovillage experience building an ecovillage, their relations with external parties and how they try to live in a sustainable context. Their journey is not without its trials and tribulations. Residents try and incorporate structure and equality in the community by governing according to sociocratic values. "