Visit the forum instructions to learn how to post to the forum, enable email notifications, subscribe to a category to receive emails when there are new discussions (like a mailing list), bookmark discussions and to see other tips to get the most out of our forum!
Describe your ideal resilient community
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2011
    The title says it all. Let your imagination run free and tell us about the community you'd set up if you had unlimited access to land, people and money. What would you eat? How would you live? What sort of buildings would you live in? How many people would there be? Would you live communally? How would you farm? Would sort of technology would you have? How would you spend your days?
  • 44 Comments sorted by
  • Now this is a fun thread and an exercise in city planning for those who actually wish to achieve this.
    For me I will answer your questions in bullet form with a thoughts and conclusion afterwards.

     - We would eat organic produce. Fruit, vegetables and fish via Aquaponics. Wheat, corn, fruit trees from plotted land.

     - I would live like I do now with only one change to my schedule, the maintenance of the land verses working for someone else.

     - The buildings that I would build would be those of CEB or Earth Bags with wood reinforcement and possibly some kind of hemp   insulation, Hempcrete may even be manufactured and used in the construction of buildings.

     - The amount of people is predetermined by those I consider Family and very close friends. Those others that would compliment this group would be of a specialty skill sets; IE Those in Medical backgrounds as well as Scientific.

     - We would live communally and we would have open trade with those of similar communities.

     - Farming is covered in question one, however an addition would be of Poultry for Eggs and Meat as well as Cows PRIMARILY for Dairy products such as cheese and milk. Maybe goats for Milk and Cheese as well.

     - Technology would be of what we have now as there would be abundant power for all houses. Each house will be setup with a solar array to manage its power requirements with a secondary wind turbine field powering a localized grid. A long with these I will create power harvesters to regain some power used from other electrical components. Additional; We would build Cold Fusion reactors along with many other ZPE devices once they become available or researched.

     - I would spend my days living a free life... A life free of bounds and limits, free to follow my own spiritual path. Apart from that, I would tend to what I need to for the day and look at improving the community where I could. Additional; In a community thriving for its own independence, there is never a shortage of work to be done. When there would be spare time, I would sit in a cool breeze and relax. Of a night I would gaze at the stars with my own personal observatory.

    Not a bad way to live ones life.

    With the technology that we have available to us now, there is no reason to have any limiting factors when going off the grid.
    There are just smart ways of living your life off the grid and if there has been plenty of preparation done, then you should be able to achieve your goals with minimal set backs.
    CNC machines, Solar Forges, Solar Thermal Heaters, Hydrogen generators for welding/cutting as well as heating and cooking...
    We have the means, all we need now... Is the will.
    As well as the funds ;)

  • In my ideal community:

    -  We would eat a rich, balanced, optimally-nutritious diet of organic, sustainably-raised foods.
    -  All of our basic needs for food, water, energy, and waste management would be met efficiently and sustainably within our neighborhood, and the work to maintain these life-support systems would be shared among the neighborhood members on a rotating basis. 
    -  Since all of our basic survival needs will be met in such an efficient way, most of our time and energy will be liberated to pursue learning, personal growth, meditation, art, music, dance, sports, invention, entrepreneurship, and helping others.
    -  We would have the tools and resources available to facilitate a virtually unlimited number and variety of artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial endeavors.
    -  We would have the facilities, resources, and expertise among community members to support integral life-long learning for all community members.
    -  We would share a common vision and ideal to live fully, love fully, and from our position of great surplus and health to work for the sustainable prosperity and ultimate freedom of others around the world.

    In such a community I would spend my time eating healthy food, meditating, practicing yoga, playing sports (Ultimate Frisbee, martial arts, basketball, soccer), dancing, making music, creating art, studying (philosophy, economics, ecology, physics, history, music theory, and whatever else inspires me), teaching others what I know, and helping to create new sustainable businesses and communities elsewhere.  I would also like to create some means for traveling to other parts of the world. 

    I would also like for this community to be situated in or near a major metropolitan area so that we could experience a balance of natural countryside and city, and over time I would like to help transform that major city into a sustainable, carbon-neutral metropolis in which sustainable prosperity is being realized for its citizens.  If we can create our own sustainable community as a model for human and ecological thriving, and then from that community (with the help of others in the region) transform a major metropolitan area into a sustainable city with high quality of life for its citizens, then by doing so we could lay out a model by which the majority of the world's population could transition to modes of sustainable prosperity, health, and freedom. 

    My ideal community cannot just be an isolated utopia, but must be a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of sustainable health, happiness, and freedom for all. 

    May this vision, and all of our dreams be quickly realized!


  • hello everyone

    i started to write a novel titled

    ascende, maima, perma and mary the lifeship 


    in where one of the basic ideas is that there will arrive several very sophisticated technologies what are given freely to every human being on the planet 

    also a strong relaxation of copyright protections do i describe within my writing, 

    the reason for this giveaway of sophisticated tech so to empower everyone to step into one's full potential and being able to produce contribute to one's own and eventually the society's needs

    motivation for creation is in such a situation of abundace more joy and pleasure than necessety

    more pillars of the story are:

    •an android more advanced than an avarage human plus a research and development setup where children, youth and adults together invent the future tech on abundantly equipped playfield

    trust into the will of the individual to positivly contribute to the wellbeing of the society in general ( this will can be executed and translated into creative actions best in an environment of abundance ... kind of lots of space and time and tools and everyone left free to do whatever with whomever however whenever)

    this planet is not the property of the human race. therefore it could be best for humanity to retreat itself into some small area ( less than 10% of the global landscape ? ), stop mining the earth for minerals oil and so on...
    but do this by going fastforward with highly fine tuned smooth technology.... like stop the logging of trees, give up the plowing of fields, release all the cows and instead build scyscrapers in the city where tomatoes get aeroponicly grown
    and cultivate microalgae for use in 3D printers to construct bioplastic (wood replacing) chairs and tables.
    if the forests would see no more tree felling and the former farmland could become again home to wild animals and plants, if the living organism earth could  keep her long built up reserves of minerals ... all this retreating of humanity could probably be rewarded by the repositioning of our souls within the great circle of all living, like all the harmony of the un- or only gently touched wildlife could bless us 
    (we allow our emotional field to receive the vitality and creativity supporting vibrations of vast landscapes of wildlife )
    while we are on the doorstep to create the molecular assembler and get the quantum energy thing into our batteries and engines ....
    somehow like we would replace the (tree/troath)cutting, (animal)encaging, (earth)digging vibrations with more gentle form of actions towards our fellow animalplant and earth family members... and with this replacement also reposition ourselves within the cosmic family, what results in a healing transformation and might make us move in such a delightfull way so we by the way kind of without sweat are step dancing into exact this rythm and rhymes where magical applications in fantasy worlds  flow, wishing our constructive imaginations could get fleshed out by passing trough the higgs bosom

    • if we can think of the best we want for ourselves, we might be able, as humanity, to build computer robot androids who will
    not have inbuilt negative destructive intentions and they might help us to fine tune our psyche so we can also progress toward an all life affirming positive constructive basic human everyday life networking

  • i hope not to upset by posting here but i thought as in my writing i describe a planetary utopia where the giving for good is so strong at its basic pillars, the whole society would feel like a community

    and especially with unlimited antigravity propulsion .... community must not be locally fix, kind of spontaneous community can happen of autonomous lifeship travellers
  • Hi,

    Thanks for posting this. It certainly stirs up the imagination!
  • It deserves a portuguese forum too. Definetely good stuff will come from this discussion.
  • I share a similar ideal community to what Lloydrminick describes

    I personally identify with the Integrated Human philosophies

    - We would eat a locally grown and cultivated organic, sustainably-raised foods.
    - Meals could be prepared automatically in a community cafeteria via robotics or personally in the home
    - The town would be designed to change and upgrade over time

    - All of our basic needs for food, water, energy, and waste management would be met efficiently and sustainably within our neighborhood, and the work to maintain these life-support systems would be shared among the neighborhood members on a rotating basis.
    - Basic survival needs will be met in such an efficient way, most of our time and energy will be liberated to pursue learning, personal growth, meditation, art, music, dance, sports, invention, entrepreneurship, and helping others.
    - We would have the tools and resources available to facilitate a virtually unlimited number and variety of artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial endeavors.
    - We would have the facilities, resources, and expertise among community members to support integral life-long learning for all community members.
    - We would share a common vision and ideal to live fully, love fully, and from our position of great surplus and health to work for the sustainable prosperity and ultimate freedom of others around the world. More traditional family unity would be restored

    In such a community I would spend my time eating and preparing healthy food, meditating, practicing yoga, playing sports, dancing, making music, creating art, studying (philosophy, economics, ecology, physics, history, music theory, and whatever else inspires me), teaching others what I know, and helping to create new sustainable businesses and communities elsewhere.

    I also share this vision of helping cities though the transition into this culture

    I would also like for this community to be situated in or near a major metropolitan area so that we could experience a balance of natural countryside and city, and over time I would like to help transform that major city into a sustainable, carbon-neutral metropolis in which sustainable prosperity is being realized for its citizens. If we can create our own sustainable community as a model for human and ecological thriving, and then from that community (with the help of others in the region) transform a major metropolitan area into a sustainable city with high quality of life for its citizens, then by doing so we could lay out a model by which the majority of the world's population could transition to modes of sustainable prosperity, health, and freedom.

    My ideal community cannot just be an isolated utopia, but must be a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of sustainable health, happiness, and freedom for all.

    May this vision, and all of our dreams be quickly realized!
    - couldn't have said it better myself
  • Ideally, the autonomous community model would spread around the world, and displace the majority of mass-market economics. At that point, organically structured communities would behave like peaceful city-states, a utopia maintained by perpetual political and intellectual 'combat' (debate and discussion). These would then pool excess resources for the furtherance of advanced scientific research, high-technology, and exploration (but only after such time that we've drastically reduced unnecessary wastes and abuses of our environments), eventually leading to similar colonies on extraterrestrial bodies (Asteroids, Mars, Venus ((high-atmosphere aerostats)) ). Eventually, we may even build the capacity for colonizing otherwise empty space using niven rings and extend our energy capacity beyond earth using Dyson swarms. This is really far out there, but I think the foundations can be laid today.
  • I have thought about how I would set up an agriculture economy within a community. If I had unlimited funds, I would attempt to build a farming ecology based around the ideas of ease of growing, maintenance and resource allocation, including water and energy. I have done a little bit of research into vertical agriculture using hydroponics, and had a few ideas on how I would implement a building like that using some sort of low power method to power the massive water pump, as well as transportation of parts to be repaired/replaced. My trade is networking and computers, naturally I am drawn to using such methods as remote monitoring, configuring and administration, as well as using computers to try to mitigate some bad tendencies that humanity have.

    I have lots of ideas, I don't think I can fix the world, I just want to help :)
  • I think that I would have everyone drug suppressed so they cannot feel pain or emotions or see colors. People would be assigned new levels of responsibility every year. The actual community would be ran day-to-day by a group of elders. If there was the occasional problem too big for them, they would turn to a special elder that forgoes medication and is in charge of remembering everything about humanity. He would be able to handle it.
  • @ARGhaynes - You forgot the naked dancing girls! You know, the ones with
  • Small communities - 100-200 people max - living in clusters of housing, possibly with some sort of exclusionary walls.  Much community space and infrastructure, and the need in the structure of lifestyle to to interact.  A sense of community and support of each other is what is important.  There is telecommunications, transport, and information infrastructure with all the other communities.  Travel between is possible but not necessary.

    The farming and the building infrastructure covers the food-shelter needs.
    The shared structure and defense covers the safety needs.

    This sets up those who live there so they can form a community the inhabitants know at various levels to covers the shared belonging, friendship, and intimacy needs through their rituals.

    The existence of those sets you up so you can have the confidence, and respect of others and yourself.

    And the existence of that lets us rise to the advancement of society, education, innovation.

    What will most people spend most of their time doing?

    In a few words, same as we always have - eating, sleeping, and having sex.

    But this provides the foundation that will allow anybody a better chance of improving society.  And be sustainable by lower density, but still provide the village structure that suits our humanity the best.

    That is what I dream of.
  • my thoughts on this are rooted in the works of Charles Fourier, William Morris, Peter Kropotkin, and most fully by Murray Bookchin.

    Here's an article whose vision I support
    Economics in a Social-Ecological Society

    Social ecology’s vision of a moral economy centers on libertarian
    communism, in which the fruits of common labor are freely available to
    all. This principle of “from each according to ability and to each
    according to need,” which distinguishes our perspective from many
    other anti-capitalist programs, is fleshed out by a civic ethic in
    which concern for the common welfare shapes individual choices. In
    the absence of markets, private property, class divisions,
    commodity production, exploitation of labor, and accumulation of
    capital, libertarian communism can become the distributive mechanism
    for social wealth and the economic counterpart to the transparent and
    humanly scaled political structures that social ecology proposes.

  • @Marcus, is that just communism?  Or am I missing a key difference?
  • It is communism, ARGHaynes, but it bears description because of the abuse of the term communism by authoritarian socialist states, typically causing people to think that its something else entirely.
  • Hi all, I'm new here... (first post too) I think the structure in this link sums up my idea on the future...

    A building of such magnitude could have space for almost, growing food, working, recreation, education, you name it....and I do believe that the inner cities are running out of space... (ever been to Japan?)...kinda tight there.

    So, while I do love the idea of small 200 family does not seem that the future will have the physical space for things like that...

    I see a building like this... maybe wrapped in solar panels...using deep core drilled geothermal power with maybe a combination of large electrolyser's to produce hydrogen millions of tons of hydrogen for fuel cell banks on every floor.

    A central garbage collection system that gets composted for use as fresh potting soil.

    More use of glass, clay and metal...things that can be recycled easily...for everyday few plastics as possible.

    I see a building where, I wake up, ...get my kids ready for school...I drop them off on the 22nd floor, and head up to 56 where I work...maybe my wife goes to the 72 floor to help grow food...and my neighbor heads to his lab on 17 to test new fuel cells.

    Trains ....planes .....for what ???? Sure I'd spend all day riding elevators...but once I head to the recreation deck, and meet my wife and kids for lunch, without using any carbon emissions  ...who cares, I don't need a Mercedes to tell everyone, that I'm doing my part to help society.

    This world is enclosed from the rest...with massive air filters, so my family is getting the cleanest air grown in the building (by my wife and yours) tells me there are no growth hormones in it, or pesticides... (notice in the link the farmers market is on the 320th floor)

    What is the goal of everyone living in this massive structure? build the next one...better, cheaper, faster, and more efficient, because our kids will need a place to live to. That way they can plan for the colonization of send all of their kids in to the great unknown in the preservation of our species.

    If it is not our purpose to help make future generations, live easier, and be smarter, and more civil, then what were our parents trying to do for us ?

    Who knows maybe with building like this...we could even preserve more wildlife....heaven forbid that... maybe in the process of evolving...we can even give back some land to the animals that keep us all here.

    I joined this site, because like ALL of you here I am also very passionate and concerned about the future, when will we get it right ?...Just reading through the site for the last few days, there are so many educated people here...with so many good ideas... it would be a shame to let all this knowledge and energy go to waste because of politics and money.

    Live long and prosper ....

  • @ARGHaynes - no, not in the since I expect you're using it. It is about directly democratic villages, towns, & (small) cities that are confederated at the regional level through recallable, mandated delegates (not representatives).

    The term 'communism' has a rich history that pre-dates the Bolshevik revolution & has been widely used by anti-authoritarians in a manner that has no relation to Marx or Lenin.

    Also, the term 'libertarian' does not originate with the right, but was appropriated by them - they would be more accurately referred to as 'proprietarians'. Libertarian comes from the French anarchist-communist Elisee Reclus, who coined the term to refer to anarchists in the wake of the repression following the Paris Commune of 1871.

    Libertarian communism was a widely supported tenant during the Spanish Revolution, and was instituted by many peasant communities during the time.

    Also, Murray Bookchin was writing about how modern technology enabled an ecological, post-scarcity society way back in the 1960s.

  • @viper 6277

    There are 36.8 billion acres of land in the world.  We can adapt to living in most of the climates and terrain of the earth if we want to - we merely tend towards the 'cheap and easy' of living on the land in the valleys and most temperate zones.

    There are people producing a million pounds of food a year *on three acres*.  

    Are you still convinced that the entire population of the world can't live in small communities?  I never said they couldn't be fairly close to each other.  Even yards apart, not miles, after all.  Or even on different floor zones of the same structure.

    (and one point, I did say *people* not families.  200 people could be 50-75 families)

    Have you considered the inherent limits in the ability of a human to create and maintain interpersonal relationships?   If you engineer a tower where the inhabitants cross paths with thousands of people daily, they are forced to exclude almost all of the community from your circle of acquaintance.  When people are forced to exclude those around them from their circle of acquaintanceship, the excluded cease to instinctually be people with needs and rights and deserving of help - they are 'others'.  Strangers.  The faceless masses.  Not-My-Community.  So whats wrong with robbing, exploiting, hurting, ignoring, or otherwise marginalizing those who don't matter to you?   (rhetorical!)  

    I think its important to engineer communities and groupings that set people up for success on a basic social capability level.  To engineer people into such large groupings is an invitation to replicate the failures of modern urban life.  Here Be Dragons.

  • In college we created a community house where everyone shared community pantry, closet, workspace and bedroom.  The reasoning was that the average college student spends the majority of their time in class, out drinking, playing games or chatting on facebook (I realize that is a generalization).  That to say, good point DavidIAm.
  • a society run by a benevolent super artificial intelligence who's only super goal is to satisfy either general or individual human coherent extrapolated volition or even both. 
  • @DavidIAm

    I understand your point on the failures of "modern urban life"...I too believe there are failures all throughout the inner city, however I believe the reasons for failure are probably different from yours...and we could go on an on in great details about the social welfare system...the motivation of education in inner city schools, funding for inner city schools, drugs, crime and all sorts of things that plague the inner cities. We may even agree on many of these topics. But like all things, there is a good and a bad in everything.

    There is plenty of land for people to spread out to...but will they ?....and what about the large cities ?...where will they go...?, are you going to convince half the population to leave NY and move to Texas or Ohio, because there is more land out there. These buildings are proposals for solving the living space of the cramped cities. I don't see them building one of these in Cody Wyoming (Population 8,835).

    Here are some good candidates :

    NY - 8.1 Million
    Bejing - 20 Million
    Bogata - 33 Million
    Buenos Aires - 17 Million
    Istanbul - 22 Million
    Lima - 30 Million
    London - 23 Million
    Paris - 26 Million

    In The 8 Cities I list there are about 180 Million people, while I agree there is plenty of land for them to spread out into smaller that the best course of action ?....can anyone convince these people to spread out ?...I think in some ways you and I are Idealist ...I love the outdoors, I go camping and hiking,...I like my space, and all my neighbors in my little corner of Staten Island are nice, and friendly, but Staten Island has about 500,000 people living in it...I can tell you...there are probably just a handful of lots left to build communities on. This island will be at it's capacity in the next 10 years.

    Traffic is already bad it takes an easier hour to get off the Island in the morning, just because of volume. Most of the construction going on, are taller buildings to house more people vertically. Where I use to live in Queens, old houses are being bought and the 1-2 acre plot of land they use to sit on are being now used for 3-4 house's very close together.

    The fencing industry is booming, people are building tall fences all over these new construction sites, because of the proximity of the next door neighbor. I don't know where you live...but if you have lots of free space, then I envy you sir.

    I can tell you from the people I speak to, people who have considered leaving NY to move west, most turn the idea down, because of the job market, they have low confidence in a successful career change by moving west.

    One last thing to keep in mind is...while many US inner cities have social disorders, other large cities around the world do not...I do believe that the US has lost a lot of it's morality. Look at the chaos that ensued after the Katrina incident here in the states, with robberies and looting's... I have not heard one story of looting from Japan, not 1. I don't think the blame for our social issues should be associated to our living standards.. You are not more moral then me because you live in a small community, and I am not smarter then you because I live in the big city.

    To a better future for us all. Eddie.
  • You won't convince many people to leave the cities and the rat race within a decade or two - but what you CAN do is create environments that people CAN move to, so that the movement can build.  If you want to stay in the city - you can stay in the city - but if you want security for your lifetime and a place to belong and all that village community stuff?  Then you can leave the city and live in one of these enclaves.  I think that it will take 30-50 years to move even a notable portion of the population of the world to such communities - but the quality of life of those who DO live in the communities will be so much higher that taking such a long term view is totally worth it.  

    To a better future for us all, indeed!
  • I think it would be worthwhile to convince people to move back to the cities as much as possible.
  • @ARGHaynes How do you propose to create close-knit communities for people to belong in, in a city?
  • Unfortunate that the rules of nature are indifferent to human wants and limitations. We have the choice of recognizing the supremacy of physics and making the best we can within those limits or running the world however we want even if it is irresponsible. Any military vets can attest to the fact that everything is weird until its normal, but we can adapt to virtually any living condition.
  • I'll mention this here and maybe in the "Call me boring but..." thread as well. In my experience, the more abstract and removed either a discussion, strong belief, or thoughts are from the immediate task at hand - meaning what needs to be done today - the more destructive and ultimately fruitless they are. I've seen plenty of people on forums get into heated discussions about abstract things and many times there is either a miscommunication or different assumptions they have, and quite often they actually agree with each other but don't recognize.

    Personally, while I do immensely enjoy theoretical discussions and ideas, I do my best to avoid them. And when someone disagrees with my "views" I recognize that it doesn't matter who is "right" because the topic is so far removed from the present. In addition, I try not to disagree with any ideas that are far removed from the present. Just like nature, which in quantum mechanics holds all states simultaneously and only chooses one when forced to, I try to hold all far-removed views simultaneously (perhaps assigning a probability of each one being true, some lower than others) and only make a decision when I'm forced to act.

    Right now, I hold the probability of this group of ideas (all the ideas everyone here is discussing in this thread) as being more likely to be true than the probability of the group of global centralized ideas which currently are occurring in the world. Therefore, with this project, a decision point was reached - work on the project or not. The decision was to work on it. Later on, there may be future decision points once the project is more advanced, that relates to the finer details which we are discussing here. Until I reach that decision point, it is pointless to make a premature decision, because the action taken in the coming days and weeks wouldn't be any different. This method helps reduce bias and avoid extremism. It also helps to never dismiss obscure ideas, just file them away.
  • @Jason, I will agree with you that abstract conversations, by their non-concrete nature are removed from the task, and therefore have much more potential to be non-fruitful.  However, each individual has a predisposition to a certain type of conversation, every school of personality study has a mechanism to recognize that some individuals are concrete thinkers and others are abstract thinkers.  There are two dangers inherent in these discussions.  The first is that someone has an emotional response to an issue and refuses to discuss the topic in a clearheaded fashion.  The second danger is that someone that does not care about the idea decides to come in and change it.

    Do I think that humans deserve to be shoved into a tenth of the world or that an AI could be a benevolent dictator?  No, but did I feel the need to attack the posters above?  No- because they were describing their ideal community.

    I do agree with you that it is important for us to recognize that the goal of abstract posts is to explore ideas rather than decide who is right.

    However, I must disagree with you and assert that it is important for us to consider abstract ideas, thought is the beginning of any action.
  • @DavidIAm, I think it is equally fair to ask, 'How do you create a close-knit community in a suburb, or in the country?"

    I think that cities are structured such that not only is a community easier, but their potential to have an impact is larger.  The American mindset tends to think it needs lots of space in the middle of nowhere to establish anything (classic frontier mentality).  However, I would argue that most other people [internationally] would equally assume city-space or country as viable community location.  Modern technological developments are such that one could easily renovate an abandoned warehouse and develop it to the degree that it could support multiple families by providing them with complete food production and the tools/space to establish an industry.  Built into the city itself would be easier access to resources and potential markets.

    I know I am doing a poor job of answering your question in depth, so I will try a different direction.  DavidIAm, what glaring differences are there between starting a community in the city of in the country?
  • In "Call me boring but..." I pointed out a concrete fact concerning the disparity between the amount of land available and the amount of land the OSE style solution will demand, as well as a the concrete problem of commodity distribution that has been a driving force in human history for generations.

    But if checking the feasibility of your goals prior to investing effort and energy is too abstract, I apologize. Still, that won't ensure your effort bear the fruit you wish them to. Being too slap-dash in your efforts to correct a thousand year trend without bothering to think too much about it (Is this because you think Marcin has the answers already?) is likely to simply aggravate the problem for everyone. Its like scratching at poison ivy, its proactive and obvious... and its also the opposite of what you should do.
  • Besides, this is a purely theoretical thread. Try collecting research to help on a technical thread.
  • Don't get me wrong guys, I will continue to read everything here and absorb it like a sponge, and I think it's got a lot of value. I just won't be so concerned as "who's right" at this moment - just continually build out different possibilities and fit it together with what I already know. If that makes any sense. I'll also pose questions and engage in debate if I think it will help me arrive at a new understanding.

    Its also interesting to note - my post was was the most abstract post here, a meta post on thinking. And so far it appears to have been the most useless :)
  • @ARGHaynes 

    I would create a close-knit community in a suburb, or in the country, by creating a car-exclusive area.  This raises the personal cost of engaging in transit (like walking or biking a mile or two).  This makes it more convenient and natural for the group of people who live there to cross each other's paths frequently without intention in the course of their daily survival, and to stay home rather than leave the community.  Intentional meeting and collaboration becomes trivial - like a community of people working in an office.  This familiarity forms community, in which structure they naturally share their knowledge, abilities, and resources with each other.  

    Our suburban and even to a large extent modern country life is living in separate boxes which we enter and exit in smaller mobile metal boxes at high speeds which prevent this natural crossing of path and the associated awareness of the state of being of the members of our community.

    The glaring differences between a city and a country is the low incremental cost of engaging in community-destructive behaviors.

    In the country, taking a job - ostensibly so you can get money (which you shouldn't need if living in such a community) - is expensive.  In fuel, in time, in opportunity. The kind of job available and the money reward is typically less.  This cost and lower typical reward makes it more natural to justify merely staying in the enclave and helping make the life of everybody better.  In fact, the lack of availability of any significantly paying work for a skilled and knowledgable person in the area makes it far more natural to stay home and improve the community with their abilities.

    In the suburbs, taking a job is not trivial but not tremendously expensive.  Driving a moderate distance isn't particularly expensive compared to the assets the job can command.  It is quite typical to justify the expense of car ownership and operations so that the job can be attended.  This lower cost vs. higher typical reward makes it less natural for a skilled and valuable person to justify staying in the enclave and contributing their efforts to the community.

    In the city, taking a job is fairly cheap.  You may not have to spend fuel or much time at all to get there.  The kind of job available can have huge monetary rewards.  It can be quite much more a struggle to justify staying in the enclave and making everybody's life better - when the rewards can be so high.  This low cost vs. high reward makes it unnatural for skilled and valuable people to justify staying in the enclave and contributing their significant efforts to the community.  This leaves the community without its best assets.

    But why does that destroy the community?

    Because the job is an individual thing not a community thing.  When you suddenly personally command the asset reward of a highly skilled job vs. the shared assets of the community, it is natural to think you don't need the community.  Further the excess assets you command can easily generate jealousy and such social issues that can tear a community apart.  The community includes all that are in it unconditionally - if you live there you are part of the community.  You don't need to be hired, and you aren't specifically chosen for your winning personality or abilities.

    Because the environment of the typical job isolates you from the community and from those who would learn were they able to be with you, taught how the job is done. 

    I'm a big believer in setting people up for success - when you create a design that puts low incremental cost on behaviors that destroy what you are trying to create, your design is not setting your denizens up for success.  

    I fear that creating an urban/suburban community that sets the community up for success is orders of magnitude more difficult and tricky.  Urban/suburban infrastructure is specifically set up to facilitate the capitalist exploitation of the workforce - not the building of strong communities that provide for all the needs of all of the people who live in them for all of their lives.  Humans are not fungible assets - taking them out of the situation where they can be propagandized into exploitation makes the entire task far more simple.

    The worst part about a failing community - where the most skilled and valuable members take their abilities outside the enclave and trade it to capitalist entities for money - is that the people who are left are the less able to exist in as comfortable a lifestyle outside the community.  You set the community up for success by making it logical for the high value people AND the low value people to stay there.  Hedge the bets, make success a natural conclusion.


  • (Summary: I attempt to argue that urban communities are made more viable by the availability of jobs.)

    I did some math, and perhaps it is wrong, but it seems that if we were to divide the world population into small communities of 200, and we gave them each their own bit of space, there would be an average of 27 acres to a community (here assuming we used only arable land).  So there is already a bit of a flaw in assuming that rural communities are ideal.

    Putting people into a rural environment creates a sense of physical independence that will not occur in a city environment.  Additionally, a community with 300 acres has little need to consider the sustainability of its actions, whereas a community with half a city block needs to plan carefully.

    Furthermore, there are already dozens of little rural communities tucked into the backwoods of the world, I do am not aware of them having too profound an impact on civilization.

    I would argue that job availability is not negative but positive.  Many communities expect members to have jobs or personal sources of income, Windward and FeF being examples on the top of my head, though I am confident that there are hundreds more.  An external job provides additional income to the community and allows members to develop and refine skills, which is good for the community.

    I will state emphatically that anything that undermines the independence and individuality of the members of a community hurts the community because in curtailing freedom it becomes easier for abuse to occur.  If all of an individual's time goes into the community and down the road they need to leave the community, what do they have?  Nothing.  So perhaps they will begin to compromise in ways they should not.

    One's room is considered to be cleaned when everything is separated into its place.  
    One's body functions best when each element functions both independently and interdependently.

    A community is best when it is a group of different people with a common purpose, not identical people with different purposes.  One element of this diversity will be how people spend their time.  If someone spends 8 hours a day watching television or drinking beer, or even walking in the woods or reading is that any better for the community than if someone spends 8 hours of a day developing their business skills in the workplace?

    People should be held accountable to making a certain amount of contribution to the community, be it actions performed within the community or money brought into the community.  I have seen several communal arrangements that look ramshackle and on the verge of collapse because they hinge upon the idea of people doing their own thing in groups.  I believe that having people externally employed with facilitate a higher set of standards and increase the likelihood of achieving them.

    In a community I believe it is important to create an environment where the mentality is "What is mine is yours."  rather than "What is yours is mine."  This requires people to have the assets necessary to be charitable.

    Specialization is integral to innovation and the production of high-quality, high-technology products, but not all specialized skills have a place in a community.  Someone probably cannot pay off their loans from medical school, law school or most colleges for that matter by just belonging to a farming community.  This does not mean that a doctor, lawyer, engineer or teacher will not make a good community member.

  • (Summary: I think buy-in provides for important community stability.  We are all interconnected, independence is illusory.  I worry about the inequity in a community depending on financial contribution.  I advocate for the goal of community for all over technology and innovation.)

    I think the fundamental difference in idea here hinges on the idea of what you give to and get from a community.  I visualize that you should commit everything, and receive everything - contribute your effort, ideas, intelligence, money, assets - and get security support and community to belong to for your natural life.  I emphatically state that stability of the community depends on the buy-in of its members - placing a VERY high cost on leaving the community (having little or nothing if you do for instance) is what stabilizes the community - people follow the path of least risk and best benefit.  I think that path of least resistance should be staying in the community and finding a way to make it work.  Leaving should have a significant cost.

    Though that doesn't restrict the community from giving of the communal assets to the person departing should the decide together that is an appropriate or fair thing to do, or such severance is worked into the contract of the community members.  Is simply must not be both trivial and unilateral.  (trivial separation costs you more than amicable, for instance)

    I think we need to acknowledge the fundamental interdependence we have - independence is an illusion, we NEED each other.  The more valuable you are to capitalists, the more financial independence you can achieve - but that is merely the pattern we already have in our society, not at all a healthy one - or more importantly, one that builds community for people to belong to.  The only purpose to the pattern is the profit of the shareholders.  Those with skills get some of what they want because that is in the interest of the capital, and those without skills or the ability or circumstance to know how to gain skills to be in the interest of the capital to support get abused shamefully.  We shouldn't be avoiding the potential for abuse.  Abuse is only solved by being constantly vigilant against it - not by avoiding situations where there is inequity of power (that always happens).  The perfectly efficient government is an enlightened dictatorship - but dictatorship is also the most ripe pattern for abuse!

    I agree there needs to be a coordination and accountability of contribution to the community.  This is important.  Particularly to the level of teaching the community members understand how to contribute the best they can.

    I agree that going out and working a job can be part (or even all) of contribution to a community, but I worry about the ramifications of that, the class-based task division that implies.  Lets say the community needs $250 a day to run.  If I go to the office five days a week and bring in $400 each day for the community, and the whole passel of others are happy to run the farm, build the house, cook the food, do the laundry, care for the livestock, clean the house, polish the woodwork, bring me slippers, fetch a robe, light my cigar, serve us all dinner, engage in witty repartee, run a bath for me, turn down my bed, and light the fire - are we all contributing fairly to the community?  Is it appropriate if I didn't ask for any of those things, but inequitable and inappropriate if I do?  I guess it comes down to the expectations what am I expected to provide for myself, what direction the effort of others goes to - obviously luxury for me may not be the best use of their time - but at the same time my comfort makes me more productive on the job to bring in that big dough.  The luxury and convenience they provide me makes me not want to leave - which I can do trivially when I command that kind of salary.  Does that inequity - where I do knowledge work and they do physical work - where I am a recipient of their efforts and they are a recipient of the funds?  Does this cause friction and problems and difficulties in accounting for community contribution?  The mere fact that I have the possibility of equivalent comfort and income outside the community *and their lives are worse* outside the community is an inequity, they are harmed more by my leaving than I am, the community's viability depends on the income stream of the skilled workers, putting them out of power balance to the ones who depend on the community's viability.  Working outside the enclave enables that, and makes those inequities far more obvious.  I worry.

    Specialization.  Heheheh.  First, I agree.  Specialization is integral to speed of innovation and the production of high-quality, high-technology products.  I agree that these kind of specialized skills don't have a place in every community, or even most.  However, around those agreements I have several points to make.

    Innovation, once it has brought the lifestyle of everybody to comfort and safety, is not necessary.  Hoped for, encouraged, praised, and rewarded - yes.  But not necessary or even expected.

    High-quality, high-technology products are not necessary, in fact, they're harder to create and maintain in a sustainable manner than their good-enough, simple-technology counterparts.

    I am hoping the goal isn't constant innovation, specialization, and high quality high technology products.  That is the goal of a capitalism, because innovation, specialization, and high quality high technology projects are the most monetizable developments possible.  I'm hoping the goal is perpendicular to that - that is, community and support so that everybody has a reasonable, secure lifestyle for their whole lives, and the very best, smartest, and brightest of our humanity will be able to collaborate the most wonderful innovations of all time!  The community provides the environment in which those things can happen.  And that environment/condition is the biggest priority.

    Surely, I know my dreams and ideas are not yours, and that is Okay.  I will steadfastly, of course, advocate my dream and will do my best to find a peace of - and it doesn't mean that my path won't follow along contributing to OSE path for a good while on the way to my dream.  Or allow a structure and innovations that allow my dream to come to fruition alongside or in association with OSE. 

    (27 acres of arable land per community sounds reasonable enough for an average... least, I don't understand why you're implying that is not more than sufficient?)

  • @DavidIAm, your points are good ones, there are areas I agree and disagree, but you have clearly thought out your ideas and I recognize that.  Looking at it again, 27 acres would be more than enough for the first generation of a community, and probably even the next several, though eventually it seems a point would be reached where either population control or population density would have to be addressed.  

    Somewhat returning from a valuable aside, I think that the buy-in/opt-out and even the job situation is much more a function of the community culture than of the geographic location of the community.  Were there any other issues you could think of in establishing an urban community? (This discussion is useful to be because it is more likely the path I will take.)
  • Urban community has an up-front capital cost in the acquisition of control of sufficient land/structure to provide it.  One of my favorite aspects of wilderness development is that acquiring significant land requires very little capital cost.  Who puts up the capital, and at what cost of financing?  I'm VERY leery of paying interest or shares to anybody.  It should be a community owned, not bank owned or shareholder owned situation.  (unless the shareholders are the residents, at least)

    Urban community has a fundamental law-enforcement bent problem because cities are very strict about who can live in what structure and what kind of facilities have to be provided there for them.  That is, there hoops of political BS that are intersected when you try to do things out of the norm that the laws are designed to keep things within.  Modifying the structure particularly in unconventional ways within the city encounters building permit control issues as well.  I visualize your competition in whatever enterprise you engage in filing complaints and getting the organizers arrested and the entire community evicted for violation of zoning/building/human habitation codes.  Whether thats for using an industrial structure as residential or a residential structure as industrial.

    The proximity to markets encourages a more capitalist-type bent on the community - if you're producing a product, how do you stop it from being wage slavery of merely a different type?  How do you stay competitive and still retain your at least moderately skilled workforce?  I would want to see it entirely community owned and entirely profit shared and entirely direct-democratic - engaging in the market is a tricky thing when you're not using market pressures to direct the community like a business does.   There are dragons there for sure.

    In the country, in the wilderness, mostly nobody cares.  Do what you want.  In an urban area, your actions unavoidably impact others, and they care very much indeed about the negative impacts.  Or even about jealousy of you getting away with living a lifestyle they don't realize they can join.

  • I am not sure I buy into the whole "wage slavery" thing, getting paid to work seems pretty good to me, and having a fluid resource that can obtain goods seem alright too.  Plus the emotional appeal of the word 'slavery' just gives it a political feel.

    I do think there is merit to the cost for space concern, but I will assert that most cities have huge chunks of cheap land, it would be hard to make it work in the nice part of town.

    I think that perhaps I am too optimistic, because I do not picture myself forming a community and being in constant trouble with the police, nor do I picture myself needing the seclusion from the government that would be afforded by a mountain hideaway.  I think that a municipality would be happy to work with you if you were having a positive impact.

    Perhaps that is the big difference, I do not see the primary goal of establishing a community revolving around escaping capitalism.  I like capitalism.  I do not see escapism on any level as a virtue.  I see the community as a mechanism for uniting individuals to have a positive impact on the world.

    I think that since my primary goal behind community would be to help others, the an urban environment seems obvious.  Other people and communities with other goals will probably need different environments.
  • No he's right, we really are wage slaves to a large extent. The cause of this phenomena is the monetary system. But that's a long discussion.

    To participate in this thread: my ideal resilient community is one which owned and controlled its own money. I know it may seem crazy, but most of the other things are just details in my opinion.
  • Here's another thing I'll throw out there. I see a number of people talking about communist or socialist societies. I see much discussion about capitalism, both for and against. These discussions are in this thread as well as many forums all across the internet, and I'm sure there are dozens of debates going on at this very moment.

    What I never see however, in fact I've never seen it once - in any discussion, or even mentioned at all - is Georgism. I can't help but wonder why Georgism is virtually unknown. In his time, Henry George was a respected intellectual. Many people had read his works. Then virtually all knowlege of him disappears off the radar screen in any way that the public would be exposed to. I also find it quite interesting that communism and capitalism have been tried in a number of countries....but no one has ever tried Georgism. Maybe it would fix too many problems simultaneously, so society resists it....both consciously and unconsciously.

    So, I think a Georgist society with control of its own money (and having a fair monetary system), would be a great shot at improving things.
  • This is such a complicated concept to think about.  I think the only way to come to any conclusions would be by sheer trial and error and letting technological evolution take its course through the project.  I think if you really want to propose the ideal situation, you have to start out small; something like: "I'd like to neither starve nor sleep in a disgusting mud fort and freeze my ass off every winter".  Those who would actually join this movement would have to be completely okay with simple survival.  The rest is just gravy.
  • @Jason, could you go into more detail about Georgie?
  • @ARGHaynes

    If you spent a day or two researching it, you'd probably know more than I do. But in a nutshell, anything in nature that is kind of just there is regarded as owned by everyone equally. You can't "own" a piece of land, a radio frequency, or water reservoir for example. However, anything you make with your own hands you can own - a house, a dam, a patent for a radio transmitter. Instead of being owned, things that are just there, like land, are instead rented from the community. So the idea is that there is a Single Tax, which would be on land. This would stop the wealthy from speculating and buying land as an investment. Tax would be so massive on that land that it would cause any piece of property to be used for its most economically valuable possibility. Cities would naturally be extremely dense, because land = money. There wouldn't be any urban sprawl.

    All that extra land owned by no one, just sitting there is now free to be used by anyone. You only have to pay for land if you wish to restrict others from using it. So farm land would be free. You don't care if someone walks through your farm land do you? As long as they don't touch the crops you planted (and hence own), you don't have to "rent" such land from the community. Perhaps you do need to rent the acre or so your house is on. (Yes I do see some issues with how the whole farm land thing works, but this was my understanding from the limited amount I read)

    The biggest key to the whole idea was the observation that those without land are basically peasants or serfs. Those with land are wealthy. Thats what it always comes down to. I think the implications of such a system would be very interesting to think about.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    lovely idea for a thread. :)

    everyone has, or has access to, a manufacturing device, like a 3d printer, which can reproduve itself on command (like the reprap, or a star-trek replicator).
    all energy is got from non-poluting sources, like wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, standing waves, electro-mag, zero-point, etc.
    everyone has a tricorder (or some means of testing things, and determining their safety (so no more chemical lobotomisation from excitatory neuro-toxins like aspartame and glutamates), among other uses).
    everyone has a spaceship (yes, i'm serious, yes this is achievable).
    everyone can grow their own food, both indoor and out, and freely share produce with others.
    edible-landscaping projects have transformed everywhere to be capable of sustaining anyone, wherever they go.
    people are not economically coerced into wage-slavery, and are free to do as they wish, and contribute the fruits of their passions to the benefit of everyone.
    everyone would be free to have their own habitat, uninhibited by economic limitations, and equally so, everyone would be free to come and go, live in and leave, more comunal arangements.
    manufactured scarcity is treated as a crime as great as high treason.  (and so a great many technologies that had been long witheld, are released for the benefit of all.  technologies such as bio-tech denstistry, advanced cultivation/growing technologys, free energy, and more)
    highest speed internet connectivity is a human right, and like water, air, shelter, and other essential services, is entirely free.
    there's radical transparency, and open-source direct e-democracy.

    i'm sure i can add more, refine and clarify that further, alas, seasonal social obligations beckon.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Login with Facebook Sign In with Google Sign In with OpenID Sign In with Twitter

In this Discussion