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In his first book, Ecovillages, Jan Bang explained at the principles and practice of setting up a sustainable community, including difficult decisions about management, design and architecture, farming and food, water, sewage, energy sources and economics.
Growing Eco-Communities looks at what comes next. Groups aren't fixed by those earlier decisions and directions: they grow and develop, and not always in expected directions. Jan Bang here provides a comprehensive overview of the different changes that groups can undergo and offers experienced advice on how to handle particular situations. As in Ecovillages, the book is anchored by numerous case studies of real-life communities and how they've dealt with change.
There are sections on The Pioneering Phase (including 'everybody does everything' and 'decisions over dinner'); through the Maturity and Stability Phase (including 'Procedures for new members and the rule of law' and 'I want my own room'); to Old Age (including 'the professionals take over', 'the next generation' and 'dynasty!'). Throughout, the author addresses practical issues of flexibility, self-sufficiency, neighbours, technology, spirituality and money, among others.
This is a candid, inspiring and practical book which should be essential reading for anyone involved in a community or non-residential group, club or association.
Jan Martin Bang has spent a lifetime working in alternative communities, ranging from Kibbutz in Israel to his present home in the Camphill community of Solborg in Norway. He leads training and development for new Ecovillage projects around the world.
'Taking an inspiring, serious look at sustainability in alternative communities across the world, Growing Eco-communities is food for thought for anyone wanting to rationalise their carbon footprint.' -- Wave Magazine, May 2007 'Practical in its approach and with a critical eye, the book paints a vivid picture of a variety of communal lives. For those of us not living in communities, it gives an excellent introduction to the problems faced and the joy in overcoming them.' -- Living Lightly, Summer 2007 'A wealth of factual information ... It's recommended for those who are interested in taking a closer look at this way of life, and even those who already enjoy this lifestyle but want to know more about other communities.' -- The Mother, Sept/Oct 2007 'I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the development of the Camphill movement or any other community endeavour ... Jan Bang challenges us to honestly and dispassionately look at our own community and see where we stand, so that we can better help to reinvigorate new growth within it.' -- Camphill Correspondence, Sept/Oct 2007 'The book, beautifully illustrated, is also full of practical advice and vignettes about particular communities. It has to be essential reading for anyone embarking on creating a new community.' -- Scientific and Medical Network Review, Summer 2007