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Biovilla, a Portuguese sustainability co-op, founded in 2010 and focused on Nature Tourism, education for sustainability and landscape regeneration, is a commons-based system of governance deeply inspired by Permaculture Design.

Biovilla is moving towards a Sociocratic governance model based on the horizontal concepts of zoning, closed-cycles, interdependency, systems thinking and possibility management. This allows it to have a flexible, transparent and constantly adapting organizational ecosystem. Each member is considered to have an equal share in the social capital and all members take part in all major decisions. New technological solutions such as WhatsApp support these inclusive processes, helping groups to stay connected.

Biovilla seeks to demonstrate the concept of tri-dimensional alignment within an organisation. This proposes that true sustainability can only emerge when the legal framework is fully aligned with the governance system, and in turn with decision-making processes and finally the organisation’s principles, values and mission. So managing the commons is about more than cooperative ownership: it also implies democratic, transparent, engaging and participatory management of the collective means of production.

Official website: