GEN Research

GEN Research Research Protocol Aims & Work Who are we?

GEN Protocol for Ecovillage Research
Information for Researchers and Journalists

Are you an academic searching for an ecovillage as a case study for your survey?
Are you a student intending to write an academic paper on an ecovillage?
Are you a journalist interested in reporting on an ecovillage?
Or are you an ecovillage community or member receiving requests from students or researchers asking to study your ecovillage?

The GEN Research Working Group wants to support your research endeavor by providing a basic guide including information on the status of the field and research protocol. Please read the following information before you approach an ecovillage or the GEN network:

We, representatives of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) welcome your intention to research or report as a journalist on ecovillages. We kindly ask you to carefully read first the following information before contacting the ecovillages you wish to approach. This will make things easier for both you and our member communities.

First step: Understanding the existing field of research on ecovillages

Ecovillages are increasingly approached by science, politics and media from almost all areas of science and research or in many different sub-disciplinary aspects. Ecovillages seem to be increasingly interesting as “all-round laboratories” of the future. Thorough research has already been conducted. An increasing number of publications are available to refer to. At this time, GEN can only provide basic information. However, we appreciate receiving more information from in order to update and improve this website.

Please read and refer to the large variety of exciting, quality research and literature that has already been published. There is likely to be existing research that can improve and sharpen your research question. We have brought together the following links for information on the current status of the field of ecovillage research:

Bibliography of Research

Links to academic research websites on communities and ecovillages:

Links to research networks around communities and ecovillages:

Links to research projects on ecovillages

Links to research networks of like-minded movements:

Second step: Approaching and visiting ecovillages for field research

  • For approaching the ecovillage you are interested in, please visit an officially announced information day or weekend, if offered. This is the most authentic way to get to know an ecovillage. Take enough time to connect to the ecovillage, as this is the basis for profound research.
  • Ecovillages are generally not able to afford accommodation and food for students  and otherwise provide support your studies. You should look for resources on your own or ask your university. Be prepared to pay as a guest.
  • Please read the requirements and guidelines on social empirical field work at your university and in the literature on scientific methods. These can give direction on how to deal with privacy, approaching interviewees and publishing data.
  • You should let the organizers know about your research project in advance and they may be able to put you in contact with experts who you can connect with when you are there.
  • If you want to raise the interest of an ecovillage, it is recommended, and will be highly appreciated, if you can offer a favor in return. For example, you can offer to contribute through volunteering like other guests in the kitchen, garden etc. or offer your skills in facilitation or minute-taking, etc.
  • Please let GEN know about your work by sending an e-mail to

Third step: Documenting your research

  • It is very important to us to keep a record of existing research and reports. Ecovillages are often quite interested in a view from the outside and appreciate your work. At the same time, this can also help your reputation.
  • Please send an e-mail on your finished work/ publications to
  • Please set up a profile and upload your research report or publications on researchgate or academics and use ecovillage as a keyword.

Email Listserve of the GEN research working group

If you want to connect to other researchers around ecovillages, for networking on conferences, calls, and/or research funding, you are welcome to subscribe to our email listserve. Find more information under the “Work and Activities” part of this website