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EcoVillage at Ithaca


Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Title: EcoVillage at Ithaca

EcoVillage at Ithaca

Ithaca, New York, USA

EcoVillage at Ithaca, Inc. is a not-for-profit foundation, formed to envision and actualize a more sustainable kind of neighborhood development, by creating a model village on a site in the Town of Ithaca, NY. A related organization, EV/CRESP is a project of Cornell University's Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy, and serves as the educational arm of the EcoVillage project. The EVI site is 176 acres of fields, woods, and wetlands, about two miles west of downtown Ithaca, NY.

The basic idea is to create a pedestrian village which maintains open space and agricultural land within the urban area, by densely clustering housing in appropriate-sized neighborhoods. It is thought that the EVI site can eventually accommodate 4-5 such neighborhoods. The Danish Cohousing model is being used as a taking off point. In cohousing, households cooperate to design, build and manage their neighborhood. Key aspects of cohousing are a Common House where meals can be shared, and pedestrian-oriented commons areas. The development of the ecovillage will hopefully correspond to an increasing proportion of the resident's energy and materials needs being met by on-site or local sources. A big step has already been taken - West Haven Farm, a 3-acre organic CSA farm, has been operating on the EVI land for five years.

Development Guidelines for EVI were created in Land Use Planning workshops by over 100 persons, including future residents, architects, landscape architects, students, professors, planners, ecologists and energy experts. Ideas for future implementation include orcharding, agroforestry, aquaculture, on-site biological wastewater treatment, greywater recycling, and a Visitor/Education Center. Currently there are educational programs in ecology and agriculture at EVI for local youth. Agriculture is a major component of the EVI vision. A recent project of EVI/CRESP was the 3rd International EcoCity Conference in Yoff, Senegal, the sister-city of EVI. Hundreds of experts and government officials from around the globe came together to share ideas on creating and maintaining sustainable cities and villages.

The first neighborhood is being built by EcoVillage Cohousing Cooperative, and is due to be completed in July 1997. A second neighborhood group, SoNG, is now in the planning stage, with about 16 households involved. A third project, "Neighborhood IIII" is in the early envisioning stage.


For more information, contact:

EcoVillage at Ithaca
Anabel Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Further Surfing:

The Gaia Trust's EcoVillage Information Service
Cohousing Network
Fellowship for Intentional Community
Context Institute
Oikos - Green Building Source
Yahoo: Sustainable Development
CSF: Permaculture and Sustainable Living