Glossary of Terms


A self-managed community where residents live in private homes but share access to community facilities and resources for social and practical benefits. Shared activities include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and community governance. The concept of “cohousing” began in Denmark in the 1960’s. Today there are hundreds of cohousing Communities throughout the world, but few models exist for dense urban environments, and fewer for live/work environments.


A community that strives to be have a “low ecological impact” and be self-sustaining through the use of energy saving, resource recycling, and energy producing systems and practices.


The term permaculture combines the words permanent and culture, or permanent and agriculture, and that is the first hint to what it’s all about.  The philosophy behind permaculture was developed about thirty years ago in Australia. The aim is to create systems that are ecologically-sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term.  Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supporting system for city and country, using the smallest practical area.


Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has ecological, economic, political and cultural dimensions. Sustainability requires the reconciliation of environmental, social equity and economic demands – also referred to as the “three pillars” of sustainability or (the 3 Es).


Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, ultimately creating good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being. Placemaking is both a process and a philosophy.


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