Following on from yesterday’s post, I thought it might be helpful to talk about the goals of a permaculture eco village.
In addition to adhering to the core ethics and principles of permaculture, a permaculture eco village should:
- Allow and enable co-operation in various enterprises and associations.
- Provide for the material needs of inhabitants. (Food, water, shelter, energy etc..)
- And for many of the non-material needs of inhabitants too. (Work, purpose, education, recreation & entertainment, a rich natural environment etc..)
- Generate enough yield to provide a surplus. (To trade, share & for outreach potential.)
- Reduce the need to work externally. (Though provision of material needs.)
- Provide the opportunity for right livelihood within the village.
- Reduce travel requirements and travel costs.
- Allow for privacy within homes and gardens for ‘family’ units.
- Enhance co-operation and collaboration through provision for human companionship, including inter-generational interrelations.
When considering the establishment of a village, it is important to consider the implications of the size of the settlement.
Human settlements vary in their ability to provide resources, develop a high level of self-reliance and function in a co-operative and collaborative manner according to their population size and function.
At around 100 income-producing people, a significant financial institution can be village based. A village of around 500 people can all know each other if social affairs are organised from time to time. Interestingly, the neighbourhood factor (knowledge of one another’s names) has proven to be a major factor in community resilience and disaster survival.
When a community has over 2,000 people, crime and competitiveness are more common and the ability for effective co-operation is reduced. Starting small, at around 30 adults, for example, is usually the best policy – building up to form a village of no more than 200-500 people in total.
Villages allow us to build – literally from the ground up. Not everything will always go according to plan. But it is important to remember that the stability of a village is of an evolutionary kind, and any settlement will change and evolve over time. As long as common ethics remain, however, a community should be able to retain balance and harmony – between individuals, with local ecology, and with the wider social and natural environment.