The Built Environment
According to the EcoVillage Design Education curriculum, established in collaboration by the Global Ecovillage Network, the four pillars of sustainable community are Ecological, Social, Economical, and World View. A sustainably Built Environment requires consideration of all of these aspects.
Permaculture Design Ethics and principles provide a foundation for establishing the built environment
- Earth Care
- People Care
- Fair Share.
Permaculture design starts with Earth Care, the source and substance of our existence. Some principles for sustainable landscape design are:
- Treat water as a resource, and manage rainfall for optimal usage
- Value your soil, and nurture it for optimal growing conditions
- Choose native and other plants that are optimal for the environment
- Conserve resources, in consideration of future generations
Green Building Design builds on the Earth Care ethic by providing principles and guidelines for energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and resource conservation.
- Optimize site potential.
- Optimize energy use.
- Protect and conserve water.
- Optimize building space and material use.
- Enhance indoor air quality.
- Optimize operational and maintenance practices.
Co-Living options for the built environment can effectively address the social aspect of People Care, and has the potential of addressing Fair Share. Some options for consideration are:
- Pocket neighborhoods.
- Co-housing communities
- Multi-family cooperative housing
- Shared housing
- Urban and rural Ecovillages
The Fair Share economics of sustainability can begin to be addressed by the relative concerns of affordable housing. Some considerations are:
- Small house design
- Alternative construction methods and materials
- Do-it-yourself building options
- Neighborhood “barn raising” efforts
- Shared commons
See the Relational Environment for more about the social and world view aspects of sustainability.