Re: Characteristics of Intentional Communities

Bennett Jones

Thank you for your response.
(My reply below - Bennett)

Dave: "I agree that the “spirituality” spectrum as presented is a little strange in that being “Secular” in no way suggests that it would be “less than tolerant” of spirituality. To my way of thinking, being a “secular” community simply means that spirituality does not play a role in the community organization. Think of it as separation of church and state. Individuals within the community could certainly have a wide range of personal spiritual beliefs, and humanists, agnostics, and atheists would be welcome as well."

Bennett:  Thank you for clarifying.

Dave: "If I understand Yana’s “Moving Toward” Energy and “Resisting” Energy correctly, “moving toward” means that the community is not antithetical toward society or civilization as it exists, but does want to show the world there is a better way to live, and it’s a gradual process. “Resisting” suggests a rejection of society or civilization as it exists where the status quo may not be tolerated."

Bennett:  I still find the use of the term "Energy" somewhat confusing (but then I sometimes seem to be easily confused). I would say there are aspects of the "status quo" that no one should be tolerating, but I do prefer the approach of leading by example.

Dave: "I see no real problem with your definition of community “income sharing”, but what Yana is talking about is personal income sharing: that all of your personal income goes to the community. Think of it as 100% tithing or 100% taxation. Not a place either you or I would want to live!"

Bennett:  Actually, in an ideal community (which does not exist in the real world), I would not be opposed to 100% "tithing" (to use your word). But, I do want to receive 100% of my "income" From the community. I would like to live a community where that could be true for everyone who wanted it.
<insert long discussion here regarding robust, resilient, and antifragile communities>

Dave: "As for resource sharing, I think that needs to be the choice of each individual member or family. Some will be comfortable with high resource sharing and living in a small unit in a multi-tenant dwelling while others will want to live in a more traditional detached single-family dwelling and sharing less."

Bennett:  That was presumed for Mirador. For all these "spectrum" topics, I was merely stating my personal preference... at this time (subject to change). As we discussed, I would prefer as many options available as possible. Even temporary guests might opt to use some of the additional features (shop, garage, vehicles, gym, pool, etc.) if permitted.

Dave: "I like your “New Urban in a Rural Setting"

Bennett: This refers to the limited growth design for carrying capacity idea.  Currently, cities consume more resources than they produce and have no built in check on their growth (by definition are "cancerous"). I am interested in a new model - "cities" as a restorative process, that produce more resources than they consume, and have limits to their growth built in.

Dave: "The reason I chose between “Mainstream Appeal” and “Radical Appeal” is that I want Mirador to be appealing to anyone who is willing to rent their domicile in a rural area with on-site access to a beautiful night sky and no dusk-to-dawn lighting. Other than that, I don’t want to scare anyone away for any other reason. It will be difficult enough to get enough people to make the move to Mirador. Even Chuck Durrett mentioned to me that he has concerns about whether enough people would be interested in the project."

Bennett:  I think Mr. Durrett is correct...  If you are looking for "Mainstrem Appeal".  By definition, Mirador is not a "Mainstream" idea. It is an remote isolated Science community that will never even be considered as a place to even visit by most folks. That is its major appeal, and strength. You are looking for residents (temporary and full-time) that see such a place as an ideal, for a vacation if not as a home. For some of us, it is as close as we will ever come to colonizing another planet.

The appeal is site specific. To use the Rancho Plata property as an example... it is litterally at the end of the road (the paved road that is), but for the "off-road" RVers visiting Big Bend Ranch State Park, it might be an ideal "base camp" to stage their dream "Jeep" trip. This is from the Park website. - "The scenic drive along the River Road (Texas FM 170), following the meanders of the Rio Grande, is among the most spectacular in the nation. Due to road conditions, motor homes and large recreational vehicles may not be able to enter backcountry park areas." SOURCE:

It is the site of a historic 1880's Texas ghost town waiting to be revived, and developed not as just an attraction, but as a resource for the surrounding residents. What was an oasis of food production in the Middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, needs to be an active Desert Agriculture Experiment Station. The entire site should be a multi-disciplinary Science Field Station including a Biological Field Station (BFS). See:

We currently have two BFS in the region, and a third developing, but none are open to the general public. The opportunities represented by such a site are only limited by your imagination. This is the Mission Statement of one - "The Dalquest Desert Research Station (DDRS) is a pristine example of the Northern Chihuahuan Desert. It is managed by Midwestern State University as a natural area and a year-round research station available to scientists from MSU and elsewhere. The DDRS supports both observational and manipulative research on the biodiversity, ecology, paleontology, and geology of the Desert, while maintaining the unique geology and biology of the area. The Station is a research link of the chain of Chihuahuan Desert stations in the U.S. and Mexico, and MSU scientists cooperate with scientists at the other sites. Field courses are offered for graduate and undergraduate students as well as educators of all levels." Mirador could be a link in that chain.

Bonus: "The Chihuahuan Desert: Our North American Outback" -

Dave: "As for decision making, I agree that unanimous consent (consensus) is better than “majority rules” winner-takes-all voting. We have seen what a mess that has made of our country. But when you say “unanimous consent be required in order to change the terms of the contract” are you referring to all the tenants and no one else, I hope?"

Bennett: I am only refering to the actual parties involved. There could be a contract rule in place that originally was agreed to by both the property owner  and the resident/s, but conditions change so that both/everyone agrees the rule needs to be temporarily (or permanently) changed. Extreme example: The rule prohibiting continous bright unshielded exterior dusk-to-dawn lighting may be suspended during emergency conditions, such the sky being obscured by volcanic ash (a "year without the Sun" scenario). Or... it could be a simple as deciding to allow visitors to pay a fee and use the therapy pool, which had originally been restricted to residents only.

Dave: "Where are the Organizational Chart, Policies and Procedures Manual, and Contract and Consensus documents you are referring to? Or are you saying that we will need to develop these documents?"

Bennett: I have fragments of all of the above from the LC model, but yes - Mirador documents will need to be developed (many items will be site specific).

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