Ecovillages in Scandinavia

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Hurdal Ecovillage outside Oslo, Norway is the first formal ecovillage in Norway. In Sweden you may experience Utsikten Ecovillage, near Gothenburg, Suderbyn Ecovillage in Gotland and Tuggelite Ecovillage in Karlstad.

What is an Ecovillage?
According to Wikipedia, Ecovillages are intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Most range from a population of 50 to 150 individuals, although some are smaller, and larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller sub-communities. Certain ecovillages have grown by the addition of individuals, families, or other small groups who not necessarily are members settling on the periphery of the ecovillage and effectively participating in the ecovillage community.

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Hurdal Ecovillage, Norway
The organization CTV (Change the World) has contributed to the development of the Hurdal ecovillage with both technical and social aspects.

Hurdal Ecovillage was established on the former rectory Gjoding farm in 2001. Initially small houses of straw and massive wood were erected, but during the last decade the philosophy, plans and organization have been changed.

The vision is “to create a place to enjoy life” through a combination of ecofriendly housing, ecological lifestyle and a good social fellowship.

Within two years 175 family homes in addition to several other facilities for businesses and leisure time will be completed.

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Svanholm Ecovillage, Zealand, Denmark
Denmark’s largest intentional community and ecovillage, is a collective with a multifunctional agriculture operation, including dairy cows and sheep, and the home of about 140 people. It began in 1978 when the founders bought 400 hectares (998 acres) on the island of Zealand, 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Copenhagen.

About half of the population work onsite — in maintenance, administration, farming, cooking, or teaching in their kindergarten, etc. — and half have jobs in the local area.

As an income-sharing community 80 percent of each person’s income goes to Svanholm for taxes and common living expenses such as maintenance, food, electricity, childcare, etc.; 20 percent is kept for personal use.

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Tuggelite Ecovillage, Karlstad
Tuggelite is an urban ecovillage with 16 households in five apartment houses near Karlstad, a city of 60,000 inhabitants in the center of Sweden. It’s a 10 kilometer (6.2 miles), 20 minutes, bus ride to the city center.

Their website reads: “We hope Tuggelite can serve as an inspiration for other housing developments with social cohesion, active stewardship, and low-energy and resource use.”
And due to the close distance to Karlstad the community has proved to be an inspiration for similar enterprises.

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Sunderbyn Ecovillage, Gotland

Sunderbyn is an old farm property located just outside Visby (population 22,000), the main city in Gotland. Robert Hall and Ingrid Gustafsson took the initiative in establishing the ecovillage.

“We realize that our approach is not attracting masses of people,” Robert observes. “I don’t think this because we don’t have a flush toilet. I think what scares people off the most is that in an ecovillage project we have to do thingstogether, we have to create a community where people work together — as that’s how you can reduce costs and energy consumption,” the couple told Etienne Gernez, a French engineer, working in Norway and Iceland.

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Etienne Gernez works with technologies to reduce the environmental impact of shipping (for example through the use of wind energy. Etienne designed and led the One Step Beyond project, assisted by Toril Mentzoni, leader of the urban cohousing project Økobo.

Feature image: From Naturbyn Ecovillage Central Sweden (Photo Visit Sweden/Jacque de Villiers)

Ecovillages in Scandinavia, compiled by Admin