Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hoffman, David

Committee Member

Peacock, Evan

Committee Member

Copeland, Toni

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


This project investigated the sustainability of homes within three intentional communities. Semi-structured interview and photographic walkthroughs examined the variability of architectural and technological approaches toward sustainability. These include: passive solar design, green roofs, radiant flooring, composting toilets, ground assist heat pumps, solar water heaters, multiamily units and modular construction. It was hypothesized that variation in sustainable construction is related to socioeconomic status and that economics would be a constraint. This project investigated whether communities were transmitting their practices to wider society, if individuals were copying vernacular architecture and if architectural practices followed individual beliefs regarding sustainability. It was found that the Internet is the main method of conveying these practices; that variability was tied less to individual beliefs than to the communities’ institutional documents; and that copying vernacular architecture was for aesthetics not sustainability. Intentional communities are good models for sustainable development, but knowledge transmission is limited.



Built Form||Strawbale||Architecture||Vernacular Architecture||Green Building||Ecovillage||Sustainability||Co-housing||Intentional Communities||Maryland||Virginia||Radiant Flooring||Multi-Family Units||Duplex||Modular Construction||Formal Consensus||Dynamic Self-Governance||Sociocracy||Green Technologies||Solar Water Heater||Composting Toile||Photovoltaic||PVs||Geothermal||Ground Assist Heat Pump