Innovative and transition potential of intentional sustainable communities

Towards an exploratory conceptual model

Keywords: ecovillages, intentional sustainable communities, transition studies, social innovation


The number of ecovillages – intentional sustainable communities – is showing signs of growth all over the world. These self-organized groups can be seen as agents of change that may contribute to the transition to a more sustainable environmental, social, economic and political paradigm. This article seeks to reflect on the ‘transitional potential’ of intentional sustainable communities as mechanisms that foster the development of social innovation practices. It is an exploratory study that debates the articulation between an empirical phenomenon, the existence of this type of communities, and a theoretical perspective, the study of transitions. This study is based on a systematic literature review to identify relevant analytical dimensions and suggests a conceptual model that provides comprehension of the phenomenon of intentional sustainable communities as a mechanism for social innovation and transformative change.


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