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Living Our Values: Greek Village Cohousing as a Model of Sustainable Development in Greece

 

Living Our Values: The Sustainable Model of Greek Village Cohousing

Our commitment to sustainability transcends the traditional, embedding itself into the very fabric of our community design and our daily lives.  

 

We are a values-led group of people, and our mission to create cohousing is based on the organizing principal of fostering a culture of interconnectedness and mutual care.  This organizing principal goes hand in hand sustainable living through shared values and resources. Here’s how we are living our values by striving for a more sustainable model of development:

 

Community Connection and Resilience

Central to cohousing design is the power of community. In Greek Village Cohousing, connection and deeper relationships among neighbors aren't just pleasant byproducts—they are the organizing principles of our community.

 

By sharing meals, tools, and even leisure amenities like our pool, we not only reduce our individual footprints but also strengthen our bonds. Shared spaces such as laundries, workshops, and gardens mean that resources like water, energy, and land are used more efficiently than in traditional housing setups. This collective approach reduces the environmental impact per capita, which helps in conserving precious resources for future generations.

 

This communal way of living doesn't just conserve resources—it builds a resilient network of support where neighbors look out for one another, share responsibilities, and collaborate towards common goals.  However, a resilient network of support in Greece is not sustainable if it does not include Greek citizens.  Despite the wage gap and forces that create separate expat and local enclaves, we have designed into our budget a “values-led” investment initiative that enables Greek’s earning Greek wages to better afford our homes. In turn this enables expats to benefit from having Greek neighbors who can help them acculturate and learn the language.   

 

Energy Conservation and Self-Sufficiency

Our dedication to energy conservation is exemplified by our integrated solar park and geothermal heating systems. These initiatives not only reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy sources but also ensure that our homes maintain a minimal ecological footprint.

 

While these initiatives do add to the cost of our homes, and while we are not off-grid and 100% self-sufficient, we have decided that climate change and the need for conservation and energy self-sufficiency are important to us and have balanced that goal with our mission to provide homes affordable for multiple generations and a diverse populations.  

 

Water Conservation and Permaculture Initiatives

At Greek Village Cohousing, our commitment to sustainability extends deeply into our water use practices, and we seek to integrate with the natural elements surrounding us. Nestled at the foothills of the snow-capped Taygetos mountains, our community is privileged to harness high-quality mountain water, rich in natural minerals. This not only enhances our health and wellbeing but also reduces the need for processed water.  The conservation of this beautiful water is important to us.

 

Embracing the principles of permaculture, we strive to create systems that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature. Our water conservation efforts are bolstered by the use of sustainable irrigation methods and rainwater harvesting systems that ensure every drop of precious mountain water is used efficiently and conscientiously. This approach not only preserves the vital resource but also supports our extensive community gardens and landscaping, fostering a lush, green environment that thrives year-round on the natural bounty provided by the Taygetos mountains.

 

Through these initiatives, we not only sustain our beautiful landscapes and agriculture but also fortify our commitment to living in harmony with our environment, making Greek Village Cohousing a model for sustainable water management.

 

Waste Management:

Like most cohousing communities, we will be actively engaging in recycling and composting, to help decrease our environmental footprint.

 

Furthermore, the use of a grey water system within the larger, multi-community development that we are part of, further supports our sustainable water use practices, reducing waste and promoting the recycling of water through environmentally friendly processes as much as possible.

 

Shared Resources and Reduced Footprints

In the spirit of minimizing waste and promoting efficiency, residents of Greek Village Cohousing benefit from a shared 'Common House'. This central hub provides communal spaces and resources like kitchen facilities and tools which all members can access. The philosophy here is simple: share more, waste less. This not only leads to significant reductions in individual consumption levels but also helps in keeping our living spaces smaller and more energy-efficient.

 

Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture

Collective meal preparation and dining are not just social activities but are steps towards sustainable living. Cooking and eating together multiple times a week, we not only use ingredients grown in our own community gardens but also significantly cut down on food waste. This approach not only ensures that we eat fresh, healthy, and sustainably from local sources, but also strengthens community ties—a meal at a time.

 

Cohousing Culture: Sharing Beyond the Basics

Our cohousing culture extends beyond sharing meals and tools; it includes sharing cars, and potentially even boats. This practice not only reduces the number of vehicles on the road, hence lowering our collective carbon emissions, but also fosters a sense of community ownership and mutual trust. Car sharing not only diminishes individual expenses but also complements our commitment to lower our environmental impact.

 

Conclusion: A More Sustainable Development Model for Greece

 

At a time when where sustainability is more crucial than ever, cohousing emerges not just as a housing alternative but as a transformative approach to living. This community-centric model offers a blueprint for sustainable living by combining private homes with shared facilities and spaces, fostering a lifestyle that is both environmentally conscious and socially vibrant.

 

At Greek Village Cohousing, we live our values every day, creating a sustainable model that others might follow. The fabric of our community is woven with the threads of mutual care, shared resources, and a collective responsibility towards the planet. By choosing to live sustainably, we aren’t just benefiting our environment, we are strengthening our communal bonds, making us more resilient, interconnected, and prepared for the future. Join us in shaping a sustainable, interconnected community where we thrive together and live our values.



The folks at Bridgeport Cohousing putting up their greenhouse


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