RE:Cohousing Groups Calling Themselves Ecovillages
From: Robin Allison (
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 23:11:55 -0600
Sure, cohousing and environmental awareness don't necessarily go
together, but as Michael Mariner has pointed out, there are many aspects
of cohousing which facilitate living more lightly on the earth. And as
buildings consume enormous resources in their construction, lock us into
certain patterns of land use and energy use over their lifetimes, and
can be expected to last 100 years or more, isn't it important to make
every effort to build in a way that safeguards both our health and the
health of the planet as much as we are able? I see the goal of
environmental sustainability as going hand-in-hand with cohousing
(social sustainability) and economic sustainability - all of which
become determining factors when making decisions about the design and
construction of a project. Our group the Waitakere Eco-Neighbourhood
certainly has these principles as our guiding vision. To what extent
we'll be able to finance the on-site water collection and wastewater
disposal, photovoltaic roofing system, choice of sustainable materials,
etc. remains to be seen, but certainly as an architect I believe passive
solar, energy efficient architecture is just good design, and a lot can
be achieved in that direction without it necessarily costing more.

About names: we very purposefully chose the name Eco-Neighbourhood as we
felt it best described the nature of the community we envisaged: an
intentional neighbourhood of people willing to cooperate to achieve a
more supportive home-base; the concept of neighbourliness. We are not an
ecovillage because we won't have the full range of services that
'village' implies, but hopefully our eco-neighbourhood will help to move
the wider area towards being an ecovillage.

We've now added 'Cohousing' to our name, making it quite a mouthful!!
But it does describe what we're on about, and with Katie and Chuck here
for the next month it should start being a name people recognise and

Robin Allison
Waitakere Eco-Neighbourhood Cohousing Project
Auckland, New Zealand.

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