Ecovillage Sieben Linden was founded in the late nineteen-eighties as a group of people intending to live more ecological and communal. After the German wall came down they first bought a farm, the so called project centre of ‘Chüden’ in 1993 to experiment in daily living together. In 1997 the site of ‘Sieben Linden’ in East Germany was bought. The land is owned by a cooperative and the ecovillage members are shareholders in a second cooperative which supports the members to build eco-houses in groups of about 10 to 20 people. The community planned a completely new ecovillage: No paved roads, no street lights, car-free, eco-houses built with regional materials in the self-developed straw-bale-clay house building style. With so far 140 inhabitants, the greater goal is a reduction of their ecological footprint in all aspects of life. So far, they have cut it down to one third of the average ecological footprint in Germany. They share their experiences and knowledge with the public through a diverse range of educational offerings.
The young initiative realised after 3 years of planning and meeting that it needs a step in between planning and building the actual ecovillage. Therefore they purchased an old farm house for experimenting with communal and ecological living.
This turning point describes the major breakthrough and spatial formation of the ecovillage of Sieben Linden. The 22ha large piece of land including an old farm house was found and bought and it followed the exceptional permission to build a new village.
‘ZEGG Forum’, a group communication method, was introduced in Sieben Linden. Since then, the community decided to have an annual retreat to share personal issues, give space for community building and work on the social aspects of community.
The experiments with local building material and straw caused a kick-off of this newly re-discovered construction technique in Sieben Linden, the foundation of the German national organisation of straw bale building (FASBA) and the acceptance of straw in the German building law.
The ecovillage was involved in yearlong disputes on how to fulfil their ecological and ethical intentions in the aspect of consuming animal products, with husbandry and slaughtering animals. The dispute ended with a final, differentiated resolution in 2005.
The ecovillage was growing in residents and visitors and decided to enlarge their education centre. After receiving state funding the old farm house was renovated to host rooms for the education centre. Controversies between the three owning organisations emerged
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