Natural building in an environmentally-focused intentional community
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation seeks to address the general need for more research in the area of sustainable living. Specifically, this study is concerned with natural building and sustainable neighborhood design in an ecovillage, an environmentally oriented intentional community. The question of how ecovillagers learn and teach natural building guided this inquiry. Using an ethnographic approach, data was collected primarily through participant observation and interviews. Documents produced by the ecovillage provided background material and the buildings were treated as a form of material culture. While ecovillagers relied on a number of resources, such as books, workshops, and the internet, the builders overwhelmingly emphasized that they learned to build by doing it. The ecovillage setting facilitated the creation and exchange of building knowledge. The high-density housing plan ensured that builders would come into frequent contact with one another, allowing for informal opportunities to discuss projects. All ecovillages had constant visual access to 'pedagogical buildings' that served as technical models and also reflected the ecological values held in common by the community members.
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