Re: Characteristics of Intentional Communities
The staged approach you suggest makes perfect sense. I know Bennett has advocated that from the beginning. The first stages might work something like this.
Your suggestion of a guest house, focused weekend programs that don’t take huge amounts of preparation or expense, and community volunteers would probably be how we would have to do things during the early part of stage 4 above. Perhaps there will already be a house on the property we purchase that could serve as the guest house.
Did you live in Nebraska?! I was born in Omaha and lived the first few years of my life there. As an adult living in Ames, Iowa, each summer when our children were still at home a group of us (both families and singles) from the astronomy club drove out to the Nebraska Sandhills and rented a large guest house near Brewster, NE for three days and three nights. There, we really enjoyed each other’s company in a remote, quiet, and beautiful place, cooking and eating meals together, going for walks and exploring the surrounding area, and observing a night sky with absolutely no light pollution using telescopes, binoculars, and our unaided eyes. Some of us stayed out almost all night! The kids had a great time, too. As I recall, we rented the house for something like $175 a day (very reasonable), and it had many bedrooms that provided sleeping accommodations for up to 25 people. It was wonderful.
I think it would not be too difficult to be within a four-hour drive of a major airport anywhere in Arizona, New Mexico, or West Texas where we might locate. Also, being a frequent Amtrak traveler, I would be very happy if Mirador Astronomy Village were located reasonably close to the Sunset Limited rail line, making it easy to visit my daughter and her family in Alpine, TX.
The specifications document (https://skythisweek.info/mirador.pdf) describes, in some detail, the aspirations of those of us who want to create, live in, and visit Mirador Astronomy Village. It is still a work in progress, so input is welcome and encouraged.
The purpose of the Dark-Sky-Communities group, in general, is to provide a discussion forum for any existing or proposed community (or community attribute) that provides a “friendly” environment for observational astronomy. For example, it is not difficult to envision a small community with no dusk-to-dawn lighting at all. Any exterior lighting that exists would be activated by occupancy sensors, time controls, or a simple on/off switch. And that lighting would not be any brighter than it needs to be, illuminating only what needs to be illuminated and no more.