What legal challenges do Ecovillages, the Permaculture and Transition Town movements face?

ECOLISE is working with a Europe-wide survey to map the legal challenges and successes related to construction, ownership and administration of Ecovillages and Permaculture and Transition Town initiatives. Many such  community-led initiatives encounter administrative and bureaucratic hurdles in the course of their work.

These obstacles impede their unique role in promoting sustainability solutions, for example in construction, farming and gardening, community economies, energy consumption and nutrient cycles of black and grey water.

Ana Margarida Esteves, an ECOLISE researcher in the area of sustainability transitions and regenerative development, leads the analysis and interpretation of the survey responses.

The survey follows two main goals:

  • Develop national-level databases on best practices from more established ecovillages or community eco-projects, so as to support the forming of new and emerging initiatives.
  • Identify legal blockages to Europe’s sustainable development and efficient policy work by ECOLISE and the national networks, so as to influence policy processes and demand change in legal and policy frameworks.

With the help of the national ecovillage networks, the survey for ecovillages has been translated to various European languages, has reached ecovillages in 12 countries and has so far yielded almost 100 responses. Co-working with SKEY, the Finnish ecovillage network, the master student Aino Hellberg has designed her thesis around the survey questions. Aino cycled a total of 500km by e-bike in order to conduct interviews with about 20 ecovillages and community eco-projects all over Finland. Aino writes in her blog: “I made the experience that living in an ecovillage is at times tough, but also luxurious in its own way, and most of all, possible! (…) I think this work spawns a lot of discussion and takes things further. There is definitely an infinite amount of research topics about ecovillages and much more to be learnt!”

ECOLISE is still working on the survey for the Permaculture and the Transition Town movement and looking forward to the cooperation with their national networks in Europe.

Are you part of an Ecovillage, Permaculture and Transition Town movement? Or do you belong to a national network of one of the mentioned community-led initiatives yourself?

Don’t miss the opportunity to tell us about your problems and experiences! Contact us for details and the respective survey for your country at .



We are working on a new website for ECOLISE.

Meanwhile you can follow our work on the Communities for Future website.

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