Even academia is changing slowly towards new paradigms. Ecovillages are increasingly approached as “research objects” often because of their exciting experiments for sustainable living, social and technical innovations. The one year ago started GEN research working group organized three sessions at GEN+20 to first exchange experiences and perspectives on research about ecovillages with the facilitation method of a world café. A general agreement was that we need a forum between academics and ecovillagers. To understand “the other side” is still often not easy and took many years for the individual researcher. Ecovillagers often have exciting questions that would need translation and adaptation into academia. Academics often have a certain, maybe narrow disciplinary perspective that can become more applicable through collaboration with ecovillages.
A major outcome of our meeting was the idea to work on a code of conduct for researchers who want to approach ecovillages. Second, we intend to work on a better coordination of existing research projects, including funding and documentation of research that has been done. Several academics presented their research projects and it is amazing what is been done already. Some presented their projects in a poster exhibition in the upper universal hall.
A planned project looking for further partners is “share the vision + tour”: http://sharethevision.eu
More information and contact details about the GEN research working group can be found on this website: http://gen.ecovillage.org/en/page/research-ecovillages
Iris Kunze and the GEN research working group