Pittsburghers have a chance to Live in an EcoVillage

Chatham University announces plans to build 35 sustainable houses for the public in 2022.

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Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus in Gibsonia is taking its mission of sustainability beyond the classroom and into the home by adding the Rachel Carson EcoVillage, a collection of 35 residences ranging from one-room studios to three-bedroom units.

Studios will cost between $160,000 and $180,000, whereas the largest spaces will be in the $400,000 range. Most of the residences will be priced between $200,000 and $300,000. Rental options are also being explored.

Each resident will have their own private space but there will also be a common house with a large kitchen and dining space, guest rooms and even office space. Sustainable architecture company evolveEA is directing the project, which is expected to begin in 2022.

It’s named after Pittsburgh native and Chatham alumna Rachel Carson, famous for her 1962 book “Silent Spring” detailing the danger of DDT use.

“What makes Eden Hall so special is the chance to experiment with living in a better future, today. The Rachel Carson EcoVillage has a similar mission,” says Lou Leonard, dean of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment housed on the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, which was given to Chatham in 2008 by the Eden Hall Foundation. 

Residents will be expected to participate in a sociocracy, a collaborative style of community decision-making. They have the option of taking classes and participating in research with Chatham students and faculty.

“No one will be asked to participate in any research, but there is a great interest among prospective EcoVillage residents in taking part in many of the activities and research projects that are going on there at the campus,” says Stefani Danes, a co-founder of the Rachel Carson EcoVillage.

“Going forward, I’m excited about the possibilities that will come with a multi-generational residential community that shares our values and can support and stimulate our efforts in the classroom, on the farm and across campus,” Leonard says.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, there will be an introductory Zoom meeting for anyone interested in learning more about the EcoVillage.

Categories: The 412