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What is an Ecovillage Laboratory?

An Ecovillage Laboratory is a place which enables the establishment of temporary communities to provide extraordinary experiences of communal living and learning. It offers the infrastructure and framework to allow groups of people to come together for training, inter-project research, inspiration, experimentation, development and creative output.

While the Ecovillage Laboratory provides the infrastructure similar to an Ecovillage, it is not inhabited by an established community.

The concept of "Ecovillage Laboratories" was developed by Achim Burkard and presented to the Global Ecovillage Network in 2014. Valle de Sensaciones aims to set up a prototype of an Ecovillage Laboratory, to be replicated in other projects around the globe, each with its own unique focus.

Below you can find out more, in case you are interested in the general concept.
Please study this website to find out about the specific adaptation of the concept in Valle de Sensaciones.

Use of an Ecovillage Laboratory

Inter-ecovillage: research and collaborative development

Members of different Ecovillages and like-minded projects meet in a neutral space to develop and experiment with relevant aspects of regenerative living. A certain number of participants with minor experience might be accepted as learning experience and to provide unconventional approaches.
Meetings might have a thematic focus, for example:

  • Communal living in intercultural context
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Love & sexuality
  • Music & community
  • Permaculture, renewable energy, and natural building

Group experiences: Post-EDE (Ecovillage Design Education), NextGEN etc

Graduates of the EDE can take part in a eco-community experience program where they can experiment with putting learned skills into practice, where they can test new experimental approaches with the freedom to make mistakes.

Ecovillage incubator

New and emerging groups can establish temporary communities, with the guidance of experienced facilitators. This helps to define the circle, the common vision and values, and make common learning experiences before stepping into long-term and risk-full commitments towards a common future.

Group processes of established communities

Communities can step out of ordinary settings and structures they are used to, to take advantage of communal extraordinary experiences. Potential uses include:

  • communal process work
  • resolution of social conflicts
  • development of innovative initiatives
  • retreat / holidays

Co-Working Space

The GenLab can allow undisturbed concentration and focus on projects while celebrating an inspired connection as community. People outside of the Ecovillage movement might use GenLabs for collaboration with like-minded professionals, for example:

  • Activists
  • Social entrepeneurs
  • Creators and Artists

Characteristics of an Ecovillage Laboratory

Existencia de una apropiada infraestructura de vida comunal que apoye y demuestre aplicar buenas prácticas basadas en las cuatro dimensiones de la vida sostenible.
Un espacio neutral para explorar nuevas posibilidades.
Ninguna comunidad establecida habita el espacio. Como consecuencia, se ofrece un espacio neutral para realizar procesos temporales
libres de sofisticados patrones de comportamiento establecidos
libres de sofisticados sistemas de creencias establecidos
libres de procesos y conflictos humanos en desarrollo

Minimal services provided

In a likely case the laboratory will avoid services in a touristic sense. In change participants are encouraged to take over most tasks needed to run and maintain the place. This provides the most realistic community situation, can be used as generator for social processes and reduces the costs.

Community building tools

Specific tools support the instant creation of community and rapid individual and common responsibility are provided and getting constantly developed. A toolkit will be provided to the temporary communities, including...
Good documentation of the place, the infrastructure, the plantations and possibly animals.
Clear flexible and adaptable organisational systems.
Game approaches.

Extraordinary setting

By their setting or infrastructure some laboratories might provide extraordinary experiences which influence the processes. Examples:
Living in close touch with nature / pure use of natures resources.
Urban context
Artistic environment
Living spaces supporting individualism
Living spaces shared by whole community
Educational infrastructure