An Ecovillage, Anywhere? : Part I

Naturally, I am fascinated by the idea of living in ecovillage, but does everyone feel the same? Sure, these communities may be in vogue today, but will they ever be commonplace? In a previous post, I discussed Russ Purvis’ article on the affordability of ecovillages; keeping his article in mind, it seems obvious that ecovillages are better situated in some places than others. This begs the question: can ecovillages thrive anywhere? In order to figure this out, I decided to set my own parameters and see what would happen.

A current student at the University of Vermont, I thought, what better place to study than my home? If an eco-village could take root within the parameters of a public university, my faith in the accessibility of ecovillages would surely be restored.

My first step in exploring this possibility was to poll UVM students, and ask them a few questions about ecovillages. The poll included these multiple-choice and write-in questions:


1)    What is an ecovillage?

2)    Would you consider living in an ecovillage?

3)    Where is an ecovillage best located?

4)    Can an ecovillage be successful in any location and at any scale?

5)    Can anyone live in an ecovillage?

6)    Who lives in ecovillages?

7)    Will ecovillages ever become commonplace?

Only half the respondents (30 people) were able to give a description of an ecovillage, the other half answered with some form of “I don’t know”, or an incorrect response. Because the definition of an ecovillage is somewhat subjective, in my analysis I accepted multiple answers as correct, so long as they reflected a basic knowledge of what an ecovillage might be.

In regards to the other write-in question, “who lives in ecovillages?”, common answers included “anyone who wants to” and some form of “people who care about the environment”. Approximately a quarter of the respondants failed to answer the question, or included a negative remark like “dirty hippies” or “smelly hippies”. Some of the most interesting responses included “people with a trade”, “people who understand that the world isn’t ours for the taking”, and a rant about capitalism.

As for the other questions, I have included graphical analyses of them below. Feel free to scroll through and check out what UVM students think about ecovillages!

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.34.36 PM


Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.34.36 PM


Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.34.36 PM


data compiled online using the surveymonkey platorm 

Note: as this data was not collected in a perfectly random scenario, and because the sample size is very small, even though one can look at the trends, this data cannot be recognized as fact about what students at UVM and should be taken with a grain of salt. 



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