Innovative and transition potential of intentional sustainable communities
Towards an exploratory conceptual model
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.
Advisers Bureau of European Policy. (2011). Empowering people, driving change Social Innovation in the European Union. European Commission. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Andreas, M., & Wagner, F. (2012). Realizing Utopia: Ecovillage Endeavors and Academic Approaches. (M. Andreas & F. Wagner, Eds.). Nova Iorque: RCC Perspectives.
Avelino, F. and Wittmayer, J. (2015). Shifting Power Relations in Sustainable Transition: A Multi-Actor Perspective. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning.
Avelino, F., & Kunze, I. (2009). Exploring the Transition Potential of the Ecovillage Movement. In European Conference on Sustainability Transitions: Dynamics & Governance of Transitions to Sustainability. Amsterdam.
Avelino, F., Wittmayer, J., Dumitru, A., Longhurst, N., Hielscher, S., Weaver, P., Haxeltine, A. (2015). Transitions towards New Economies? A Transformative Social Innovation Perspective. TRANSIT working paper series. Bang, J. M. (2005). Ecovillages: a practical guide to sustainable communities. New Society.
Bates, A. (2003). Ecovillage Roots (and Branches) When, where, and how we re-invented this ancient village concept. Communities, (117). Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/35048590/Ecovillage-Roots-and-Branches
Bauman, Z. (2001). Community - Seeking Safety in an Insecure World. Oxford: Polity Press.
Bissolotti, P. M. A., Santiago, A. G., & Oliveira, R. De. (2006). Sustainability evaluation in ecovillages. In The 23rd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture (pp. 6–8). Genebra.
Blackshaw T. (2010). Key concepts in community studies, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Bund, E., Hoelscher, M., & Mildenberger, G. (2015). A methodological framework for measuring social innovation. Historical Social Research, 40(3), 48-78.
Cajaiba-Santana, G. (2014). Social innovation: Moving the field forward. A conceptual framework. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 82, 42–51.
Chitewere, T. (2017). Sustainable communities and green lifestyles: consumption and environmentalism. Routledge.
Christian, D. L. (2003). Creating a life together: practical tools to grow ecovillages and intentional communities. Toronto: New Society Publishers
Comeau, Y. (2004). Les contributions des sociologies de l’innovation à l’étude du changement social. In Y. Comeau, Innovations sociales et transformations des conditions de vie. Actes du colloque tenu à l’Université Laval, le 16 avril 2004 (pp. 29-44). Les Cahiers du CRISES Collection Études théoriques ET0418.
Delanty G. (2010). Community, 2nd edition, Oxon. Routledge.
Ergas, C. (2010). A model of sustainable living: Collective identity in an urban ecovillage. Organization and Environment, 23(1), 32–54.
Ergas, C., & Clement, M. T. (2016). Ecovillages, Restitution, and the Political-Economic Opportunity Structure: An Urban Case Study in Mitigating the Metabolic Rift. Critical Sociology, 42(7–8), 1195–1211
European Commission. (2013). Guide to Social Innovation. Brussels: European Commission.
Franz, H.-W., Hochgerner, J., & Howaldt, J. (2012). Challenge Social Innovation: Potentials for Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Welfare and Civil Society. Dordrecht: Springer.
Geels, F. (2005) ‘Processes and Patterns in Transitions and System Innovations: Refining the Co-evolutionary Multi-level Perspective’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 72 (6): 681–96.
Geels, F. W. (2002). “Technology Transitions as Evolutionary Reconfiguration Processes: A Multi-level Perspective and a Case Study.” Research Policy 28 (5): 469–488.
Gillwald, K. (2000). Konzepte sozialer Innovation. Querschnittsgruppe Arbeit und Ökologie. Berlin: WZB.
Gilman, R. & Gilman D. (1991). Eco-villages and Sustainable Communities: A Report for Gaia Trust, s.l., Context Institute.
Hall, R. (2015). The ecovillage experience as an evidence base for national wellbeing strategies. Intellectual Economics, 9(1), 30–42.
Haxeltine, A.; Avelino, F.; Wiitmayer, J.; Kunze, I.; Longhurst, N.; Dumitru, A. & O’Riordan, T. (2018). Conceptualising the Role of Social Innovation in Sustainability Transformations, in Backhaus,J.; Audley, G.; Lorek, S.; Vadovics, E.; & Wittmayer, J. Social Innovation and Sustainable Consumption - Research and Action for Societal Transformation. Chapter 2. Routledge
Hellström, T. (2004). Innovation as social action. Organization. 11(5): 631–649.
Hong, S., & Vicdan, H. (2016). Re-imagining the utopian: Transformation of a sustainable lifestyle in ecovillages. Journal of Business Research, 69(1), 120–136.
innovation. A deliverable of the project TEPSIE. Brussels: European Commission.
Joubert, A. K & Alfred R. (2007). Beyond you and Me, Inspirations and Wisdom for Building Community. Hampshire, Permanent Publications.
Joubert, K., & Dregger, L. (2015). Ecovillage - 1001 Ways to Heal the Planet. (K. Joubert & L. Dregger, Eds.). Triarchy Press Ltd.
Kanter, R. M. (1972). Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in
Kemp, R., Schot, J. and Hoogma, R. (1998) ‘Regime Shifts to Sustainability through Processes of Niche Formation: The Approach of Strategic Niche Management’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 10 (2): 175–98.
Kirby, A. (2003). Redefining social and environmental relations at the ecovillage at Ithaca: A case study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23, 323–332.
Kunze, I. (2012). Social Innovations for Communal and Ecological Living: Lessons from Sustainability Research and Observations in Intentional Communities. Communal Societies, 32(1).
Kunze, I., & Avelino, F. (2015). Transformative Social Innovation Narrative of the Ecovillage of Schloss Tempelhof (TH). TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169.
Litfin, K. (2014). Ecovillages: lessons for sustainable community. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki N. and Avelino, F. (2017). Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal Change. Annual Review of Environment and Resource. 42:4.1–4.28.
Macbeth, J. (2000). Utopian Tourists – cruising is not just about sailing. Current Issues in Tourism. 3(1). 20-34.
Marckmann, B., Gram-Hanssen, K., & Christensen, T. H. (2012). Sustainable living and co-housing: Evidence from a case study of eco-villages. Built Environment, 38(3), 413–429.
Mulder, K., Costanza, R., & Erickson, J. (2006). The contribution of built, human, social and natural capital to quality of life in intentional and unintentional communities. Ecological Economics, 59(1), 13–23.
Mulgan, G., Tucker, S., Ali, R., & Sanders, B. (2007). Social Innovation - What it is, Why it matters and How it can be accelerated. Oxoford Said Business School Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship - Young Foundation, 1-52.
Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J., & Mulgan, G. (2010). Introduction. In R. Murray, J. Caulier-Grice, & G. Mulgan, The Open Book of Social Innovation (pp. 1-224). NESTA - The Young Foundation.
Namey, E., Guest, G., Thairu, L., & Johnson, L. (2008). Data reduction techniques for large qualitative data sets. In G. Guest & K. M. MacQueen (Eds.), Handbook for team-based qualitative research (pp. 137–162). Lanham: AltaMira Press.
Nicholls, A.; Simon, J.; Gabriele, M. (2015), New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research, Palgrave macmillan, 1-28.
Nogueira, C.; Pinto, H.; Sampaio, F. (2017). Social Innovation and Smart Specialisation: Opportunities for Atlantic Regions. European Public & Social Innovation Review (EPSIR), Vol. 2 (2).
Phills Jr., J. A., Deiglmeier, K., & Miller, D. T. (2008). Rediscovering Social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 34-43.
Raven, R. (2012). “Analysing Emerging Sustainable Energy Niches in Europe: A Strategic Niche Management Perspective.” In Governing the Energy Transition: Reality, Illusion or Necessity? edited by G. Verbong and D. Loorbach, 125–151. Abingdon: Routledge.
Sargisson, L. (2003). Surviving Conflict: New Zealand’s Intentional Communities. New Zealand Sociology, 18(2), 225–251.
Sargisson, L., & Sargent, L. T. (2004). Living in utopia: New Zealand’s intentional communities. Ashgate Pub.
Schlaile, M.P.; Urmetzer, S.; Blok, V.; Andersen, A.D.; Timmermans, J.; Mueller, M.; Fagerberg, J.; Pyka, A. (2017) Innovation Systems for Transformations towards Sustainability? Taking the Normative Dimension Seriously. Sustainability. 9, 2253.
SCIE (2010). SCIE Systematic Research Reviews: Guidelines,2ndedn. Social Care Institute for Excellence, London.
Seyfang, G. & Longhurst, N. (2016). What influences the diffusion of grassroots innovations for sustainability? Investigating community currency niches, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 28:1, 1-23.
Seyfang, G., and A. Smith. (2007). “Grassroots Innovations for Sustainable Development: Towards a New Research and Policy Agenda.” Environmental Politics 16 (4): 584–603.
Seyfang, G., S. Hielscher, T. Hargreaves, M. Martiskainen, and A. Smith. (2014). “A Grassroots Sustainable Energy Niche? Reflections on Community Energy in the UK.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 13: 21–44.
Smith, A., Stirling, A. and Berkhout, F. (2005) ‘The Governance of Sustainable Socio-technical Transitions’, Research Policy, 34 (10): 1491–510. Sunstein, C. (2006) Infotopia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, Rogers M. (2004). ‘The Politics of Identity and the Tasks of Political Science’, in Shapiro, Smith and Masoud (eds.), pp. 42–66.
Sociological Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Steinmo, Svein (2008). Historical institutionalism, in Della Porta, Donatella, & Keating, M. (Eds.), Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences: A pluralist perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stengel M. (2005). “Was ist Gemeinschaft? – Definitionssuche und Überblick”, In: Stengel, M (Ed). (2005), Eurotopia 2005 – Gemeinschaften und Ökodörfer in Europa, Poppau: Einfach Gut Leben e.V., 10 – 15.
Taylor, J. B. (1970). Introducing Social Innovation. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 6 (6), 69-77.
The Young Foundation. (2012). Social Innovation Overview – Part I: Defining social
Van Der Have, R. P., & Rubalcaba, L. (2016). Social innovation research: An emerging area of innovation studies? Research Policy, 45, 1923–1935.
Verbong, G. Geels, F.W. & Raven, R. (2008). Multi-niche analysis of dynamics and policies in Dutch renewable energy innovation journeys (1970--2006): hype-cycles closed networks and technology-focused learning, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 20(5), 555—573.
Ware, C. (1986), Estudo da Comunidade, Buenos Aires, Humánitas.
Westley, F.; McGowan, K.; Tjörnbo, O. (eds), The evolution of social innovation, Edward Elgar, 1-17.
Copyright (c) 2019 Carla Nogueira, Hugo Pinto, João Filipe Marques
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Cidades, Comunidades e Territórios by DINÂMIA'CET-IUL is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribuição-Uso Não-Comercial-Proibição de realização de Obras Derivadas 4.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.