Featured Project: EcoVillage at Ithaca

Located on the Cornell University campus, the Ecovillage at Ithaca is up to some exciting stuff. Co-founders Liz Walker and Joan Bokaer, will be speaking at the Ecocity World Summit in April. They have a long history with the Ecocity World Summit; they were both co-conveners of the third conference in Senegal 12 years ago.

From their website: www.ecovillage.ithaca.ny.us

Ithaca 2EcoVillage at Ithaca, located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is part of a growing global movement for a saner, more sustainable human culture. Comprising an intentional community and a non-profit educational organization, the project aims to develop an alternative model for suburban living which provides a satisfying, healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing ecological impacts.

The village currently includes two 30-home cohousing neighborhoods, an organic CSA vegetable farm, an organic berry farm, office spaces for cottage industry, an education office, a neighborhood root cellar, a warm-season grasses ecosystem restoration project, a sheep pasture, and varied natural areas. Over 80% of the 175 acre site is planned to remain green space, including 55 acres in a conservation easement held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

Ithaca 1

Village residents share common dinners several times per week in the two Common Houses, and volunteer about 2-3 hours per week on various work teams to keep things running smoothly: outdoor maintenance, finances, governance, future projects, and more.

The evolving village culture includes plenty of neighborly support for families in need, various annual celebrations to mark the seasons, and plenty of ad hoc parties and music jams. For example, every Halloween there’s a great spooky dance party in the FROG Common House, and every August there’s a fabulous Guys Bakin’ Pies event (male villagers pick wild berries and bake pies, served amid song parodies and other home-spun entertainment).

Future village elements under consideration include more accessible and affordable housing, an education center, a charter school, village-scale wind power, organic orchards, a roadside farm stand, on-site biological wastewater treatment, graywater recycling, biomass energy crops, onsite biodiesel/vegetable-oil fuel production, carshare, shuttle van, a natural cemetery, and an expanding portfolio of educational programs.

8 Responses to Featured Project: EcoVillage at Ithaca

  1. matthieu says:

    you might be interested to watch the documentary ” Voices of cohousing. Rebuilding villages in the city” Award winner at 34th Ekotopfilm festival 2007. Info and trailer: http://notsocrazy.net

  2. ben says:

    The United Arab Emirates are build a massive state of the art eco city from scratch, they’ll be using lots of solar panels and the city won’t have any cars, people will move around in magnetic taxi-like pods (rapid transport vehicles). Check it out: http://www.helium.com/tm/902754/united-emirates-billions-earned

  3. ecocity says:

    Thanks for this. This is a really interesting one because the UAE is just about the most wasteful nation on earth (higher footprint per capita by far than the USA). A lot of people are grasping for insight on the implications (if many or if any) of this project. Watch for an interview coming soon with Richard Register which examines Masdar in more detail.

  4. […] Walker. We featured Liz Walker a couple of weeks ago and talked about her Ithaca, NY project the Ecovillage, one of the oldest and most successful projects we’ve featured here. Liz Walker on Tomorrow […]

  5. em says:

    Just a note, EcoVillage is alright but a brief correction on location. EcoVillage is NOT located on the Cornell Campus (that would be far to convienient). It is NOT easily accessible by car (there’s a bus stop about 1/4 mile down the road with inbound and outbound stops 3 times a day at the top of a very large hill about a mile from the center of town). In building, there were large amounts of rock brough in from locations quite far away… There is also essentially no affordable housing there unless you get lucky with a housesitting gig. If this is the future of green, only the rich will get to have the “clean” consciences. Cheers.

  6. How are these solar panels protected from hail storms? Someone who knows, please answer. Thanks.

  7. Gil Votaw says:

    Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. John Dewey

  8. Karli says:

    Hi all! I am doing an article on the village for a travel writing class and would love some input from people who live in Ithaca but outside the village. If anyone is interested let me know!

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