When you think of an ecovillage, the images that come to mind are generally pastoral—small pretty homes amidst gardens overflowing with organic vegetables, flowers blooming, children playing on swings suspended from graceful old maple trees. We focus on the visual and social amenities of living in community, and yet the physical and legal infrastructure are the less visible but no less critical components of an ecovillage community’s success.
Before you buy that beautiful property with the spectacular view, there are a number of questions you need to ask. First and foremost are questions about two critical life support systems that no community can be without—potable water and adequate human waste treatment capacity. Beyond that, you want to know what the zoning regulations are in the community where you plan to live, building codes, and any other regulatory issues that might apply to a large development project.