In an era where environmental, social, and economic challenges are a daily occurrence, the need for sustainable communities and practices has become increasingly important. As some people see it, embracing sustainability is no longer an option but a global imperative, urging us all to reimagine the way we live, work, and interact with our surroundings.
Written By: Gala, Co-founder & Lead Writer @ Travel & Tapas
Incorporating sustainable practice into one’s life is not an easy task, especially if we are alone in our efforts. With a world not built for sustainability, finding alternative solutions requires patience, innovation, creativity, and persistence.
So, because this path is sometimes rocky when we’re on it by ourselves, coming together around the idea and supporting one another is crucial. That is where sustainable communities come into play as the key to fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and the environment through collective commitment and mutual support to create a better future.
Eco Isleta Coliving is on its own mission to build a safe and inspiring environment where sustainable communities thrive. Working hard every day to bring people together around a mutual goal, as well as introducing and educating those who don’t know much about sustainability, Eco Isleta has already become a place under whose roof sustainability is not a topic that scares us.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what sustainable communities are, how they are created, and what these communities can be. Let us dive in!
What are Sustainable communities?
In the past few years, sustainable communities have emerged as powerful agents of change, addressing pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges that confront our global society. At their core, sustainable communities embody a commitment to sustainable practices that strive to achieve a balance between human needs and the well-being of the planet.
Communities like these recognize the interconnectedness of environmental, social, and economic factors, and emphasize the importance of reducing carbon footprints, conserving resources, promoting social equity, fostering community engagement, and nurturing local economies. By embracing these principles, communities like these aim to create environments that are resilient, inclusive, and environmentally responsible, as a collective.
With voices that hold more power than those of individual practitioners, sustainable communities educate the world around them on how sustainable practices can address the challenges of climate change, resource depletion, social inequity, and economic instability.
And, of course, with the world not seizing to come up to challenges and the urgency to confront them intensifies, the importance of sustainable communities continues to grow, providing inspiration and practical solutions for more and more people.
Components of sustainable community
Even though there are many perspectives on what sustainable communities are and what they need to encompass, what is sure is communities like these take a holistic approach to sustainability, considering a range of interconnected components and human aspects to create a harmonious and resilient living environment.
First, let’s take the list of components adopted from the Egan review and EU Bristol Accord (Office of the Deputy … 2003; Roberts and Jeffrey 2006). According to this list, there are 8 components of sustainable communities. These components represent all the aspects of human life and societies that should be taken into consideration when building sustainable communities. According to this list, these aspects are governance, transportation and connectivity, services, social and cultural aspects, environmental aspects, housing, economy, and equity.
Of course, on a smaller scale, such as in a coliving space, governance, accessibility, education, and balance become imperatives. On a smaller scale such as coliving, the components of sustainable communities encompass energy efficiency, waste management such as recycling, composting, and minimizing waste generation, promoting public transit, cycling, and walking to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, social cohesion to foster community engagement, inclusivity, and equitable access to resources and services, and supporting local economies.
Creating sustainable community
To create a sustainable community, community engagement becomes crucial. The focus should be on encouraging active participation, collective ownership of initiatives, and collaborative decision-making.
This will empower members to contribute with their diverse perspectives, enhancing the inclusivity and effectiveness of sustainable community projects.
Long-term planning is essential for creating a roadmap that prioritizes sustainability goals and balances the needs of current and future generations. Setting up rules and educating members from day 1 is a must. Individuals can contribute by adopting sustainable practices, supporting local businesses, and actively participating in community initiatives, and leaders should facilitate this to happen.
For example, in Eco Isleta Coliving, there are very transparent and clear messages all over the space that show how important sustainability practices are. With these messages around (notes on the walls, instructions, books on sustainability, eco-friendly DIY furniture, and active conversations with the operators), colivers start understanding the importance (and beauty) of sustainable practices and come together and help each other to make them happen. The conversations about sustainability always happen and when outsiders visit the space, the members proudly take them through their sustainability achievements and practices, adopting it as their own and sharing their newly acquired knowledge further.
Without a roadmap, clear messages, and engagement, it is impossible to create a sustainable community.
What can be a sustainable community?
Here are a few examples of sustainable communities:
Nomad Colivings: These are mid to long-term accommodation solutions where like-minded individuals come together to practice mindful living, slow down, and work collaboratively on mutual goals.
Eco Farms: Living in an eco-farm community involves learning how to grow your own food, appreciating sustainable agriculture practices, and promoting eco-friendly products. These communities prioritize animal welfare, balance nature and societal needs, and fight against mass production.
Rural Coworkings: These communities aim to repopulate villages and support local economies. They repurpose existing spaces, provide education on rural life, and offer opportunities for people to have fulfilling lives outside of urban centers. This helps distribute population density and contributes to environmental sustainability.
How Eco Isleta is building a sustainable community
Eco Isleta is dedicated to building a sustainable community through various initiatives.
First, there is an emphasis on a do-it-yourself approach, creating a space and furniture using reclaimed and repurposed materials, which promotes purposeful and practical living.
Additionally, there is a promotion and support for the local neighborhood through collaboration with local vendors and small businesses. One of the key objectives of Eco Isleta is to foster a sense of unity between colivers and locals, encouraging them to share experiences, learn each other’s languages, and exchange valuable skills.
Eco Isleta also offers workshops to locals, such as helping them improve their skill sets, providing insights into sustainable practices, and organizing classes for kids and teenagers on important aspects of life, travel, and work.
Maintaining and promoting local traditions and customs is another crucial aspect of community-building in Eco Isleta. The operators prioritize the use of eco-friendly products within the coliving and have implemented a strict and clear waste management system to minimize environmental impact. In addition to providing community experience and housing, the operators of Eco Isleta actively educate their members on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, encouraging responsible and conscious living. Lastly, as the first sustainable and eco-friendly coliving in the neighborhood (and probably the island) Eco Isleta maintains a culture of continuous learning and improvement, constantly striving to enhance their sustainable practices and contribute positively to the community they have established. And that is how Eco Isleta is successfully building a vibrant and environmentally-conscious sustainable community.