UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the environmental practices and impacts of intentional communities: an ecological footprint comparison of an ecovillage and cohousing community in southwestern British Columbia Giratalla, Waleed


The ecological footprint of the average Canadian is three times greater than the global per capita biocapacity of the planet. The purpose of this research is to gain insights from intentional communities on how to reduce household ecological footprints in Canada. Intentional community is an inclusive term for a variety of community types, including ecovillages and cohousing, where residents have come together to achieve a common purpose. Studies show that intentional communities have per capita ecological footprints that are less than those of conventional communities. I corroborate these findings through my own ecological footprint analyses of Quayside Village and OUR Ecovillage, in southwestern British Columbia. These communities have per capita ecological footprints that are smaller than some conventional averages. Overall, Quayside Village and OUR Ecovillage also have comparatively similar per capita ecological footprints, suggesting that residents of both urban and rural intentional communities may demonstrate similar environmental behaviours. Intentional community living is currently confined to small‐scale grassroots initiatives so even the aggregate environmental benefits are insignificant. Municipalities and land developers can help to advance the pro‐environmental practices of intentional communities by increasing incentives for this community model and adapting intentional community practices to a conventional context.

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