GEN Research

GEN Research Research Protocol Aims & Work Who are we?

The Aims of the GEN Research Working

Networking between GEN, ecovillages and academic researchers requires several different forums: discussion workshops at GEN conferences on what ecovillages want from research and how they deal with research requests, and lectures and panels at academic conferences of different disciplines. We are considering an Advisory Board for GEN Research including established professors from the academic world with the purpose of ensuring appropriate research on ecovillages (refer to Setting Standards, Values, & Goals, below).

Integration & Dissemination to acknowledge and bring into awareness how much research has  already been published on ecovillages. This is the base for further research, instead of reinventing the wheel, which still happens. We are exploring appropriate options using existing platforms in the academic world like and, rather than creating a GEN-specific database (as this would be costly, time consuming, and most likely less effective in reaching researchers than these existing platforms). The main aim is to integrate links to, and sources of existing ecovillage research in one place, and disseminate this information widely.

Setting Standards, Values & Goals refers to a ‘code of conduct’ (or code of research practice) that will set guidelines for researchers on how to approach ecovillages with research requests, how to conduct this research respectfully, and how to include means of compensation for resources and staff time that ecovillages are requested to extend in support of research projects. In the long-term we hope that the GEN Research Working Group and its Advisory Board can be involved in setting goals for future research.

Primarily, we want to raise the awareness amongst researchers to give something back to the ecovillages. Additionally, we will develop a code of conduct and recommendations on ecovillage research. In many cases, researchers from universities work for their personal accreditation or are paid, while expecting voluntary time investment by ecovillagers. In respect to this requested contribution of time, it is quite fair that researchers take care of ‘giving something back’. This can be voluntary work in the ecovillage or assistance with larger projects, a financial contribution, and/or inclusion of the ecovillage as a partner in the research proposal and project funding.

Our activities

If you are a researcher on ecovillages, or otherwise engarged in these topics, we welcome your support! Please join our email listserve (see below) and get involved. We are active in the following areas:


  1. Provide a platform for exchange:
    1. Find reviewers on ecovillage articles for journals, etc.
    2. Find other researchers to collaborate
    3. Share proposals on research ideas
  2. Offer sessions, presentations and organize meetings at scientific and other conferences
  3. Continue to send out the regular newsletter every 3 months to research mailing list:
    1. You can read the newsletters on our homepage
  4. Maintain, explore and build relations to academic researchers at universities
  5. Reach out to ecovillages and GEN - clarify needs and questions about research
  6. Explore funding opportunities for research on ecovillages

Integration and dissemination of existing research

  1. We want to create a database or overview of the research that has been done on ecovillages with two targets:
    1. Monitor and gather new publications in the field
    2. Coordinate and exchange results of research ON, FOR and FROM ecovillages
  2. We use public existing databases and platforms like researchgate and academics to publish research on ecovillages

Setting research standards, values/guidelines and goals

  1. We are in an ongoing discussion with GEN and ecovillagers to improve the approach of academics to ecovillages. This website with its protocol for researchers is the current point of discussion on this topic, including a bibliography on the current status of the field and suggestions for appropriate research methods on ecovillages
  2. Create a list of suggested topics for BA and MA research for students
  3. Other projects like an "Ecovillage Design Research" capacity-building program and handbook are planned.

Interested in becoming active? How we structure this group:

If you are interested to become more active, please let us know how you wish to be involved. The structure of GEN Research has two main subgroups: One for information exchange and the other for getting more involved.

1. The ecovillage research listserve:

As a medium of communication the focalizer hosts a listserve with more than 100 people (at present). It is used for exchange between researchers in the area of ecovillages, communities and neighboring fields. A GEN research newsletter is posted. All members of the list are invited to post their urgent news and send their information to the foculizer who compiles a newsletter.

If you are interested to join this list, please apply here.

2. The GEN research working group

If you want to get more involved: We are a working group of about eight people which organizes around GEN Research, with one main focalizer, and a separate internal email listserve.

If you are interested in getting active in this working group, you can send a paragraph, describing your intentions to [email protected]