Re: Site Plan


Wow, interesting and ambitious. It almost sounds like an improved Disney park. Short of mis-glorifying all the ways that people have lived in the area for a couple decamillennia. I think ol Walt Disney himself wanted something in the vein for DisneyWorld Resort before it was vetoed by others. Like an actual "Experimental Proto-type Community Of Tomorrow" (EPCOT) but the LC model sounds like it will have room for more references, more historic accuracy, more openness to the thousands of years of Native models and hence not by necessity colonist as an "end goal" (or justification).

I am super interested. I am also interested in getting to know and honor the descendants of original inhabitants of whatever region "selects us" for this caring ecological model (e.g. Coconino, Zuni, Yavapai, Apache, Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Pueblo, Mexican, Spanish, etc.). I would guess some native folks would be highly interested in promoting a Dark Sky community done in this spirit.

I think I'd find myself weeding, and tending in the gardens or growing spaces ... and the kitchen a lot. :)


On 5/28/20 1:31 AM, Bennett Jones via wrote:
Hi Maxeem,
This LC model site plan contains no single family homes. The closest thing to that would be an RV in the Campground. The site plan is a very simplified bare bones version, prior to site selection.

The version based on a site currently available here in a remote area of the Chihuahuan Desert (Big Bend region of Texas) is much more developed. The road side businesses are the "town" and designed in a historic 1890's - 1912 Western style. The idea is to actually represent a time-line from around 13,000 BP (the Museum) to the future (the Science facilities) - think Steam Punk meets Star Trek. The base is a working "Living History" Farm/ Agriculture Experiment Station. The "town" buildings have two "fronts", one on the highway side for public access by automobile, and one on the community side that is car-free.

Each Department "home" has 12 adjoining Bed Rooms, which can be grouped together as needed for a family, and a common Kitchen/Dinning area that is used two days/week when the community Kitchen staff has time off. The base Bed Room unit would offer minimal features, and would be very affordable. There is a "Hotel" in the same format, above the "Saloon"- think ice cold organic root beer & ginger ale on tap, plus fresh fruit smoothies, with cards (The Civil Four) and board games, and a piano of course.

The community is reversed in many ways from a "normal" community. Instead of taxes and fees being used to subsidize businesses, business profits would subsidized the residents. The plan is to have the whole complex profitable enough so as to be able to offer scholarships to some who could not otherwise afford to be an owner/resident. Approved items and supplies are purchased in bulk at the community level, and would be available to residents at a discount.

Because of the tourism already in place (plus the additional folks drawn in by the Campground and all the scientists and students who would be rotating through), for the permanent residents who want to spend some time in the public areas, the community would deliver a lot of the good points of traveling without actually having to leave home. With the on-site storage units, it would also be the perfect home base for travelers. Because of the features, this community would have more to appeal to motivated younger folks than any community currently in this region. You could also think of this as the equivalent of a Star Fleet Academy training program for colonists.

Adding Mirador to the model would just expand the Astronomy facilities sub-campus to include more residence options.

Thank you for sharing your ideas;

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 11:15:41 PM CDT, maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:

That list of values in the Articles sounds really nice.

My sense of community has been installed "damaged?" from dominant culture's definitions. And talking with a lot of folks, that seems to be the case for more than myself. So lifestyle that feels "familiar" but better could be a draw.

Not sure if this helps but when I visited Moora-Moora (a cohousing community with several sub-villages, I guess sometimes called an ecovillage?) they expressed some dissatisfaction with the amount of turn-over. It seemed it was losing investors (i.e. residents) faster than it was gaining them. Even as slowly as the time it takes for younger generations to move out and not return.

One thing that maybe could have helped in such a case may be to have one sharehouse, not necessarily among the single-family homes but a part of the community. That is, a big place with people sharing close quarters. It's my preferred community style and it's sometimes not present in otherwise great communities that have a very imposing entry price for hard working community members, besides any additional HOA type agreements. This would have given me a home, given potential new friend(s) an entry point, allow some renters, and create a sub-culture that is exciting, multicultural and hopefully blends naturally with a welcoming invitation to any privileges made available for long-term stayers. Some of the short-term folks ending up becoming long-term folks, ideally, I guess.

It may not apply to what you're discussing, but just thought I would toss in the idea about what replenishes my sense of community.

Warm Regards,


On 5/27/20 4:56 PM, Bennett Jones via wrote:
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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