Since the 1960’s, considerable efforts have been made worldwide to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues. However, the modern industrial economy still continues to maintain sprawling cities of consumerism that impact natural life-support systems, and widen the gap between the rich and the poor. In North America especially, conventional suburbia is not only auto-dependent and wasteful, it is also culturally dull and segregated. The original abundance and natural charm of the countryside has in many areas been degraded into resource exploitation zones supplying cities with water, energy, food, mineral and forest products.

Fortunately, this crisis is now being reversed by a progressive shift in lifestyle values and economic thinking, bringing hope for a successful transition to a “new earth”. An exciting restructuring of community is already being demonstrated by thousands of new energy-efficient buildings, ecovillage projects, town centre regenerations and other sustainability initiatives. Green pioneers are gaining momentum in creating new forms of urban and rural development that foster economic self-reliance, utilize innovative technologies, and protect important environmental features and functions.

Many of the emerging sustainable communities also promote social equity and diversity, so people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can live, work and play together. These citizens have restored their sense of place and community identity. With less emphasis on material accumulation, they typically enjoy lifelong learning and engage in ethical enterprises, wellness activities and cultural pursuits. New neighbourhood designs incorporate some shared uses and a healthier balance of social connection and personal space.  

Avalon has taken these positive trends to another level by creating an all-encompassing SHIFT Sustainability Framework and Community Planning Principles that transform the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Our project management and consulting services have applied our SHIFT-certified process and methodology to many aspects of sustainable community planning and design, including ecovillage development, green building systems and infrastructure, environmental stewardship, organic farming and landscaping.  

We define Avalon SHIFT as:  

Sustainable enterprises and best practices that achieve individual and community aspirations within a framework of social justice and environmental stewardship for future generations.

Harmonic approaches to living and building that design with nature and aesthetic symmetry, support healthy development of the whole human potential, and reduce socioeconomic and cultural disparities.

Integrated whole systems design and community improvements that foster creative innovation and effectiveness through interdisciplinary collaboration and wide participation.

Feasible "win-win" solutions that meet market demand and financial cost and time-efficiencies while being aligned with ethical principles.

Transformational education and leadership structures that empower people, inspire loving kindness and guide organizations to make the world a better place. 

The Avalon Alliance also prepared Kelowna’s first comprehensive development plan for an ecovillage neighbourhood, as part of our larger proposal for Avalon World Centre and Sustainability District. This prototype campus village has been designed to help transition the Okanagan valley towards sustainability, and inspire the formation of a global network of model ecovillage communities.  We envision that Avalon World Centre and these SHIFT-certified satellite projects will include extraordinary “living-learning” facilities for both residents and visitors.

Avalon's professional Green Design-Build Guild offers sustainable community planning, environmental management, design-build services, experimental research, educational programs and training to the public and private sectors.  Over the years we have been forming a local and international consortium of leading green sub-trades, suppliers and technology partners, so we can reach more landowners, organizations and communities worldwide.

Explore the expansive philosophy of our Sustainability Framework

Discover our Guiding Principles for Sustainable Community Planning

Consider our Comprehensive Ecovillage Services for revites and new developments

Choose innovative alternatives to conventional buildings and industrial utilities

Evolve your municipality through Integrated Community Sustainability Planning

Engage our Sustainable Landscaping and Environmental Stewardship Services

Apply to join our Green Design-Build Guild and Consortium


Participate in creating Green Discovery Expo for demonstration and training

Partner or invest in our Sustainable Development projects and services