On a global level there is an increasing and urgent need for positive models of viable, sustainable human settlements. Ecovillages or sustainable communities address this need, providing sustainability not only on environmental terms, but also socially, economically and spiritually.
Robert Gilman's (1991) definition is now generally accepted by members of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). An ecovillage is a:
- full-featured settlement
- in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world
- in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.
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