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Self-constructed house from natural materials at Zaježka ecovillage.

It is no coincidence, community-led initiatives are impressively innovative in the area of housing. Housing doesn't refer merely to constructions but even more importantly, how they are owned, shared, managed, maintained etc. Smart housing solutions address a whole range of problems relevant to climate change and sustainability. This article explores alternatives to the dominant housing norms and standards.


The quality of buildings is essential to the quality of human life and activity. Over centuries, communities across the planet have developed technologies of construction adapted to geographic and climatic specifics. During the 20th century, cheap energy and mechanisation have hastened urbanisation and improved the standard of living for most of humanity. This came with the side effect of a high environmental footprint and increasingly artificial lifestyles that foster a myriad of modern diseases.

Many community-led initiatives are creating living environments that better support human health and wellbeing. There are many ways to achieve this: applying eco-construction to build new units and retrofit old buildings, creating community gardens, co-working and other common spaces, greening neighbourhoods etc.

In ecovillages, people strive to design human-scale settlements integrating human activities into the natural world.


Origins and history

Main concepts

One approach in creating housing from locally sourced, low carbon materials is bioclimatic building.

Practical application in communities

Links to key examples



Research on Housing and community-led initiatives


External links