According to "Intentional Communities Through the Ages" by Geoph Kozeny, in 6th century BCE first ecovillage started in southern Italy by Pythagoras. Pythagoras was the founder of Homakoeion, a vegetarian commune, based on intellectualism, mysticism and the gender equality. In India, the followers of Buddha joined together in ashrams to live in a productive, spiritual manner. In 4th Century CE the first Christian monastery communities established.
Ecovillages are an intentional and sustainable communities and neighborhoods, both urban and rural that committed to live in a sound way both ecologically and economically. Examples of this kind of village are at Ithaca in upstate New York and the Whole Village at the northwest of Toronto, Canada.
The meaning of an intentional community is vast. It depends on the vision and purpose of the group who wants to share some certain features with organizations, sects and social movements. An intentional community is a relatively small group of people who have created a whole way of life to attain a certain set of goals.
In the United States alone several hundred of ecovillages are existing. It has become a movement for a better world. The 2000 Edition of the Communities Directory has showed that there are 627 communities in North America and worldwide there are more than hundred ecovillages. However, the number may rise as many ecovillages do not want to be enlisted. There is vast variety of intentional communities. Those can be categorized in many ways. Such as, Anarchistic, Therapeutically, Religious, Spiritualistic, Authoritarian, Environmental etc. But some community can share all of the above visions and purpose.
Ecovillages are not always located in rural areas. Some do thrive in rural areas but there are also many growing ecovillages around the United States in more urban and suburban areas. A quick search in the internet will bring up dozens of ecovillages in many busy cities promoting peaceful life in the surrounding communities.
We all need a community to thrive as individuals and as a society. We are creating this through our work, education, relatives, internet, cultural and social activities. In today's urbanized environment if anyone wants to be a part of an ecovillage community, it's not so hard to find. Most of the ecovillages have their websites and books about their work and success.