Conference “Choosing a Sustainable Future: Learning from experiences – Eco-village at Ithaca (USA)” was held on 16 June 2013 in Cetinje, with the support of the US Embassy in Montenegro and the Old Capital Cetinje. The conference is part of the architectural and urban workshop “Bajice or city in the field”, which for the second year in a row the Petrovic Njegos Foundation is organizing in order to valorize and foster the sustainable development of Bajice.
While opening the conference, Prince Nikola Petrovic Njegos implied that the story of the Eco-village in Ithaca is actually a story about very sensitive issues that are important to our environment, taking into account the crisis and transition faced by today’s society. Among other things, this is an issue of urban-rural relations. In his opinion, the city and the countryside are complementary like the “heart and lungs” and it is this complementarity that can reveal sources of food and energy self-sufficiency, which will help citizens to fight the social and economic crisis. Prince Nikola also pointed that a distinction should be made between concepts of ethnic villages and eco villages, and that in this sense the eco-village is not a touristic but, above all, a life project. Finally, he stressed the importance of the participation of all individuals in the protection of the biosphere and reminded the participants that people all over the world are gathering to improve their life, in harmony with the environment.
Special guest at the conference was Liz Walker, co-founder and CEO of Eco-village in Ithaca (New York State, USA), who gave a lecture on the basic principles that make the concept of eco-villages achieving a great success in the world, and on the importance of living according to nature. Walker spoke about the way in which the idea about eco-village in Ithaca was born, its goals, the first actions taken in the direction of its transformation into reality and, finally, about life in the eco-village. Relying on a twenty-year experience in this field, she mentioned that the idea of eco-villages can be an inspiration for both urban and rural settlements. She also made a parallel between Ithaca and Bajice, indicating that by learning from the rich experience of other countries, a solid foundation can be built for creating self-sustainable settlements in Montenegro.
After the lecture, a round table dedicated to sustainable development was organized, with an emphasis on the following topics: “From ideas to design – tools and ways to successful ecological project” and “From design to implementation – strategy, investment, main actors, time required”.
Thanks to this conference and the participation and support from the US Ambassador to Montenegro, Ms. Sue K. Brown, basic conditions for the beginning of collaboration with the city of Ithaca were created. Edith Fikes, assistant professor at the Department of Architecture at Cornell University in the USA and one of the participants on the round table has collected and forwarded basic data and information necessary to enter into the process of town twinning between Cetinje and Ithaca. She showed a desire to present this project in Ithaca and to help strengthen relationships, as well as launching new initiatives for cooperation.
Ecovillage Lessons Learned .pdf
|Date:||July 28, 2014|