Re: Site Plan

Bennett Jones

Hi Ms. Villines,
To be clear, the plan (as is) represents an example of the process (not original to me)* I use and, while not developed specifically for Mirador, is Mirador compatible. This was to allow me to communicate more clearly with Dave some of the ideas, issues, and processes that would need to be addressed with the development of Mirador (or any Intentional Community).

I explained to him - the site plan "bubble drawing" is a representation of a design technique I use when starting the process with a client. The "bubbles" represent functions of structures, and are not to scale, but merely represent relative location at this stage. When applied to an actual site, this allows for the establishment of the permanent roads and for community level utilities (if any) to be fixed. From here the details are worked out, then the priority order and stages of construction (including potential future additional development) can be sorted. (It also allows you to immediately set limits on vehicle access - to limit areas of soil compaction - and to plant trees as soon as possible.)

At this stage we are dealing with concepts, such as:
-the relative access and exposure of the structures to the Hwy from more public to more private.
-the minimizing of expensive and land consuming paved private roads needed for heavy vehicles.
-the relative positions of structures in order to optimize functions.
-etc., etc. etc. (King and I :)

To your points:
Appearance - I'm glad to hear you think it looks like a university. That is the "feel" I was going for with that project. And, the education function of the community is a high priority with me.

Funding - As with all my projects, I plan for a "staged" (tight budget, pay as you go) approach unless it is specified in advance the funding is available up-front for the entire project (including a source for maintenance/repair/replacement funding). Regardless, the total site plan is ideally the same. That is, I design for best case, then build to reality.

Dark Sky - This project was conceived as a Dark Sky Community to be built in a dark sky designated area. The difference is, this community was to exceed all current standards in that regard. There are too many details to list here, but three quick examples: 1) All exterior lighting is ultimately under the authority of the Astronomy Section Team Leader (within the Science Department). 2) All exterior doorways are to be lighted with minimally sufficient lumen, spectrum limited, full cutoff, hands free motion sensor and photo cell controlled fixtures which are fitted with switches to override the auto-on function when needed. All exterior paths are to be surfaced with high albedo material and where ever possible covered as much as practical with a canopy of vegetation.

Visually (and otherwise) Impaired - Since spending some time years ago in direct patient care, are my designs have incorporated "Universal Design" features. This project was conceived literally as a "Cradle to Grave" community. The reality is - everyone, unless a victim of premature death, will become visually impaired to some degree. (I want to live in a Dark Sky Community... even when I'm blind, but then I've never claimed to be "normal", and I have "vision" - even with my eyes closed :)

There are many things about this design and the associated "Articles of Agreement" (including the "Policies and Procedures") of a : pet-free, remote, non-violent, family-friendly, self-sufficient, charity and service and heath and wellness and stewardship and education oriented, vegan, beyond organic restorative farm based, drug-free, Science focused, alternative "schooling", multi-age learning, non-political, off-grid, Dark Sky, etc., etc. etc.... birth/retirement community - that will discourage most folks, But they are already living somewhere. This (like Mirador) is a place designed to be built for a permanent core of 72-144 radical extremist owner/operators.

At this point in my life, am only interested in living in the cohousing area, but I recommend starting any remote construction project with the Campground.

I very much appreciated you sharing your feedback.


* Unfortunately I have long lost the identity of the originator of the "bubble" design technique, so I can not relay the credit due.

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 12:46:30 PM CDT, Sharon Villines via <sharon@...> wrote:

I looked at the site plan — it looks like a university! Do you have a plan for major funding or a phased plan? With that many buildings and that many things going on, how do you keep it dark?

One of my posts to the Cohousing-L list was in response to a community that wanted to reduce their “light footprint” by eliminating lights along the sidewalks. I know night vision is supposed to develop once you are out of unnaturally lit environments, but it is also widely variable. Some people just can’t see very well and it isn’t obvious until they are expected to see what other people see.

I once had an argument with about whether the bathroom door sign should be on the door or on the wall beside it. A team member said it had to be on the wall because if the door was open, no one would see it. "But they wouldn’t need to see the sign because they could see it was a bathroom.” She said, “No they couldn’t.” I finally took her over to look. Even with the light immediately in front of the door off, I could see this was the bathroom. Toilet and sink clearly visible. She could see neither one. It was a dark room. One she wouldn’t have stepped into without turning on the light. And unless she knew it as the bathroom, she wouldn’t have turned on the light.

Needless to say the sign went on the wall beside the door.

One can trust that someone with vision issues wouldn’t choose to be located in a Dark Sky Community but it is also quite likely that they don’t realize they have a problem until they are actually moved in. This woman is still unaware that she has vision limitations.

The other reason is aging. One of the first signs of cataracts is dimming vision. And oddly the cataracts are a dull tan color. They block light from entering  the eye. At night this obvious before the person notices something wrong during the day. One sees something like a dense cobweb obscuring vision.

You probably know this but others on the list may not. My point being that the larger and more varied the complex the more considerations you have adjust for in the participants in order to build a diverse and inclusive community.

You know your audience and I don’t, but I’m biased in favor of starting with cohousing. 

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