Design & development section

Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood was initiated, developed, managed and funded by ordinary individuals who wanted to make a difference; who wanted to live in a more cooperative and environmentally sustainable way and to share what they learned with others. While a wide range of other individuals and organisations have been involved in providing advice, services or other assistance, this project has been planned, developed and led by the members of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, making all decisions by consensus of the full group. There is a huge strength in aligning the skills, passion and commitment of a diverse group of people to a common vision!

The History section of this website tells the people story of the journey of creating Earthsong. The Development Process section identifies the key elements and processes that allowed a diverse group of people to develop a project such as Earthsong. Some of these elements we learned from the Cohousing book and the Cohousing Handbook, others we invented along the way as we adapted the ideas to the conditions and culture of New Zealand.

At times it has seemed enormously complicated, as we grappled with choosing the legal, financial, and management structures we should use to achieve what we wanted. Other projects will do their own assessment of what fits best, but this is how we did it, for better or worse. It evolved over 5 years of planning and another 8 years of building, and was ultimately successful in achieving the flourishing neighbourhood we envisaged. We offer this summary in the hope it will assist others to achieve the same.

Cohousing, A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, Second Edition, K. McCamant, C. Durrett, E.Hertzman, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley California, 1994

The Cohousing Handbook, C. Hansen, Hartley and Marks Vancouver, 1996

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