Moving out from the city, similar middle aged people create an Eco Village place in a new place, men discussing energy and waste water system solutions!
Well, maybe this is how it was at the time of Njord, the oldest EcoVillage network in the world, in the 1960- 70th, now renamed to ERO, the Swedish GEN network
Now, however, we see an exciting development in Sweden where people move out to existing villages and integrate the new and old.
This coincides with a movement where often young people decided to leave the cities for a less hectic life more intune with their inner core values.
For a long time it has been true for the area around Järna, south of Stockholm, where the antroposofica movement established already in the 1930th, creating a cultural center that later has attracted people of different backgrounds.
Around the center new places have been established like the CSA Under Tallarna, Charlottendal Village and Nackunga community.
Inspired by Findhorn, a small center was founded in 1984 in the old village Stjärnsund. Later the University course, Sustainable building attracted new people leading to the start of the Permaculture Stjärnsund, NGO. Like in Järna the area around southern Dalarna has become a sort of “Bioregion”.
Lately in the 1900, textile industry, village Uddebo has become another sprawling alternative center. At the turn of 1900 people established a big textile factory on this rich farmland area. When the industry died around the millennium, Uddebo was partly deserted with many houses left empty. Some MC gangs moved in, giving Uddebo a bad reputation at the same time as the cheap houses attracted some artists, anarchist and transition people from the city.
Now Uddebo is now a sprawling center with a population of 400 and many wanting to move in, in search of a less stressful life on the countryside.
The (new) story of Uddebo, started some 15 years ago when the owner decided to tear down the old factory in the village.
A group of five people of different backgrounds, including Caroline Bergman, with a long family background in the village, decided to act and buy the house. The yellow house then became a village meeting and cultural house.
This laid the background for a unique development with Uddebo becoming a driving force for de urbanization and the search for a new way to live.
Caroline moved back to Uddebo 2005, renovating a farm and also starting several different projects,
-2008 we invited some 60 people, asking how we could beautify Uddebo?
A NGO was established making plans for the future but also leading to activities like,courses, dance parties, a common sauna and food and building projects.
Caroline also became local politician, started other NGO organizations and helped apply for EU and other founding possibilities.
The latest project she is involved in is the development of a small house settlement with 8 new self-made houses.
The new housing project is also developed on land connected to Väveriet.
-The last fifteen years I been working to establish the possibility to turn Uddebo into a living center. Now the village have all kinds of, sometimes diverting activities
which I find fantastic. Some five years ago my friends encouraged me to do less projects letting other people take more responsibility for what is to come. But a project like this does depend on some driving forces.
- For me it’s important that we don’t share an ideology, one direction, instead we embrace diversity and the relations between people, the new and old and all that is Uddebo. I´m also part of the Burner community, which is more focused on creativity than ideology.
Some people want to preserve the old Uddebo spirit, others have moved in here f. i. from Järna, with its anthroposophy background, as they don’t want to be defined into one belief system.
Another things Caroline points out is the question of scale. A place of 3-500 people is ideal to allow people to be seen and to be able to share culture and create an organizational structure. If its larger than this people tend to lose their identity.
In Uddebo people know each other and have learn to make comprises to live together.
-Most important is to have a good time. I often say that I cannot get a burn out because I have decided to work less hours and less cost of living and allow myself
a more relaxed life. Having said this Caroline is now involved in new projects both in the Stockholm region and helping other village projects to develop in tSweden. The Reco-EcoVillage, in Röstånga, Skåne being another place where new and old converse in an existing village.
At the start I mentioned Uddebo as a ”Bioregion” an area where different new initiatives develop in an organic decentralize way.
One step in that direction is the nearby Strömsund village where transition leader Elinor Askmar, normally working at Studie främjandet
adult education center in Gothenburg, and three other friends created the “Byar och Kvarter” Village and blocks company,
buying an old big wood house renovation, it and making it to a rental house.
- It turned out that the house was a former swingers center! Now we have made new apartments but people in Uddebo jokingly have asked us to keep at least the attic for its old purpose.
Life in the Uddebo region gets exported and already now more people from Gothenburg area, some 1, 5 hours driving distance, wants to join the Uddebo vibe!
Byar och kvarter
What's a “Burner”? It's the common term people use to identify their kinship with Burning Man culture and/or community. Being a Burner is more than attending an event, it's a way of being in the world.
What's happening in the ecovillage? What projects are we running at the moment? Here you can follow our work and find out about exciting news and events!