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Many intentional communities such as ecovillages and cohousing communities form around broad principles such as sustainability, but residents find that social sustainability proves a much greater challenge. In researching Living Sustainably, I visited communities that developed a range of strategies for governance and conflict resolution. These strategies helped residents through difficult dialogues about what constitutes sustainability and, more important, how can we productively translate conflict into creative solutions.
A. Whitney Sanford is a professor in the Religion Department at the University of Florida. She is currently conducting ethnographic research on the Florida rivers, exploring human attachment to place and water, for a book tentatively entitled “River People of Florida”. Her books include Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us About Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence (University Press of Kentucky, 2017), Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture (University Press of Kentucky, 2012) and Singing Krishna: Sound Becomes Sight in Paramanand’s Poetry (SUNY 2008).