Growing Eco-Communities

Practical Ways to Create Sustainability

Jan Martin Bang

Out of print

Quick Look

A candid examination of how human communities grow and develop from their original plans, through the Pioneering, Maturity and Stability & Old Age phases.

244 x 188 mm
Floris Books
Philosophy of Human Life
66 colour photographs
240 pages
Publication date:
22 Mar 2007


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.


'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

'If you are part of a community, are thinking of establishing one or just wondered what makes a successful one work, this book will guide you through the thorny issues and how they can be dealt with. An invaluable handbook.'
-- Juno Magazine, Spring 2008

'An accessible and well-written book, adding to the debate around eco-communities.'
-- Permaculture, Autumn 2007

'As a sequel to the author's best-selling Ecovillages title, Growing Eco-communities takes the next step on in the process of developing a community and examines the best ways to see that community grow and flourish. This title provides a step-by-step guide to the best ways of handling situations, from raising capital to allocation of rooms and the onset of old age.'
-- The Environmentalist, December 2008

'A candid, inspiring and practical book - essential reading.'
-- Positive News, March 2009

'Both these books by Jan Martin Bang [also 'Ecovillages'] a long time member of the kibutzes and alternative communities are therefore very welcome for anyone interested in the concept, but has no practical experience with which to decide whether or not it's for them. Both books are basic in a good way: a readable overview of the essential physical considerations -- food, energy, transport for successful community living -- uncluttered by details that you don't need to know unless/until you actually decide to take this path.'
-- Les Wallace, New Leaf News, Autumn 09


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.

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