#018 Norman Brooks: Experiments in Community Development and Lessons Learned Along the Way (Punta Mona, Alegria, Ecovilla)

Sep 13, 2022

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Experiments in Community Development and Lessons Learned Along the Way

The episode you’re about to hear is with Norman Brooks,

Norman is a veteran pioneer in community development here in Costa Rica. Norman found his way to the jungle in a different manner than most of our guests. He followed and supported his children’s passions. He’s commonly known by many around these parts as the father of Stephen Brooks, a well-known permaculturist and community leader in the country. 


While his backstory gives an impression that Norman has been following in the footsteps of his son’s relentless passion and inspiration, the rest of the interview, as well as most of the other conversations I’ve had with Norman before setting a date to record, reveal him to actually be one of the pillars of practicality and fountains of wisdom that have been instrumental in his co-creators’ dreams coming true.


In this interview, you’ll hear the story of how their three projects, Punta Mona, Alegria, and Ecovilla, have evolved one out of the other.  You’ll hear lessons learned and descriptions of adjustments made in response.


We also get into some of the legal and logistical details of building a community in Costa Rica and how Alegría was designed to make residential lots accessible to locals. His experience working with the local community has taught Norman that cultural regeneration is a first step on the path toward agricultural and even financial regeneration.


One of my favorite takeaways from the interview is Norman’s reflection that “If your dreams aren’t scaring you, you may not be dreaming big enough.”






Alegria Home Owners Association Condominium Bylaws

Casa Sula (The school at Ecovilla)


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Special thanks to Peter Mukuru and Ariel Poltronieri for editing this episode!

Music: Rite of Passage by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4291-rite-of-passage


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