Date   
Re: Site Plan

Bennett Jones
 

Maxeem,
I was definitely influenced by the experience of visiting EPCOT when it finally opened.

Unfortunately I do not know of any descendants of the original inhabitants of this area. The Archaeologist are just beginning to figure out what happened here. Did you have a chance to watch - "The Chihuahuan Desert: Our North American Outback" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQvg5TDV_nc

-Bennett

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, 05:41:18 PM CDT, maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:


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. :)

Maxeem


On 5/28/20 1:31 AM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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;

-Bennett
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,

Maxeem


On 5/27/20 4:56 PM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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.

-Bennett

* 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 groups.io <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. 


Re: Site Plan

Bennett Jones
 

Ms. Bengtson,
The LC model community was not developed for Mirador, it is however Mirador compatible. The model goal was to develop the minimal "complete" community, one that actually has a defined mission.

After spending time working/living in my mother's restaurant I have been disappointed with home Kitchens. You are describing the community "Visiting Chef Program". I hope to have many participants and to integrate that with our "Community Educational Programs". See the Programs Manual. Cross reference with "Health and Wellness Programs".

The "Greenhouse" is the simple label for a complete range of environmentally moderated "indoor" growing spaces. This would be everything from simple a shade cloth/netting structure, to a "solar greenhouse", to a completely contained and controlled environment (as would be found in a basement grow room).
There are many reasons for greenhouses in the desert, too many list for this short post.
See our neighbors here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsiUEGk4v6g

Many years ago, my young daughter's dance teacher impressed upon me the need for a sprung wooden floor. The plan for several phases of construction does include dance space from Day 1, even if that first space is a floor of dirt around the camp fire. There is a "common house" at the first phase of construction. The Dinning Rooms are to be multi-use spaces that can double as indoor activity areas. I imagine the sprung wooden floor might go best in one of the more advanced phases when the "town" is built. Think - "Saloon" by day / proper "Dance Hall"/"Theater" by night.
See: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ea/16/75/ea1675cae413e17286582521a15dc86a.jpg

There needs to be one indoor space that can shelter the entire community (plus visitors) for special occasions. Ideally that would be a flex space that could function as a Community Rec Center. That may initially be a great tent with a portable dance floor.

Initially the morning "Tai Chi Program" would be held outdoors, as would the mid-day "Yoga Program" and evening "Aikido Program" (weather permitting). See the Programs Manual. The common house Dinning Room would be the initial alternate location.

I like the way you are thinking. :)

-Bennett

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, 12:37:48 PM CDT, Lissa Bengtson <lissabengtson@...> wrote:


There is a lot of thought here, and I appreciate it.  Bennett's bubble design was a bit of a surprise to me because I didn't think there would be that many buildings.  But I like the idea of a lot of different, interesting spaces.  I'm not sure about greenhouses--how they actually work in a desert environment, but I certainly hope we can grow some of our own food.

I'm in favor of a central commercial-quality kitchen, which will be necessary for retreat groups that may want to rent the facilities, but also for us as a community.  I have prepared meals for 60 before--with the right equipment I could double that.  Or perhaps we make a deal with a chef for a big discount on their rental if he or she cooks one meal for us for 5 of 7 days, etc.

A recreation hall (possibly next to the dining room or maybe not) is essential for me, for dancing, tai chi, yoga, etc and my strong preference is that it have a sprung wooden floor and a stage sufficiently big enough for a band or for performing plays.  It would also need sound-dampening qualities for the outside and acoustic considerations inside, window coverings, etc.   Of course, good, strong air conditioning would be essential.

I do think starting with the campground makes sense--there really aren't that many RV parks in West Texas.  Each RV needs electricity (30 amp or 50 amp, plus a regular household plug on the pedestal) and 2 faucets of fresh water, with good pressure.  A concrete pad to park on and an adjacent concrete pad (often with a picnic table) so you don't step down into mud.  A sewer connection, also--some are right by the RV, and others you have to drive to the central sewer dump.  Many RV parks offer showers/toilets, also, which is very handy, and necessary for the tent campers.  I recently did an inspection of a Fifth Wheel at the Texan RV Park in Athens, TX and it was pretty much perfect except the rec room didn't have a wooden floor!

For tourists in RV's the nightly rate can be $45 to $65.  RVs are going to be increasingly popular due to so many baby-boomers retiring and the self-contained aspect makes them a safe way to travel when considering Covid-19 or similar.  Private RV parks were able to stay open in Texas during the stay-at-home orders, while all the State Parks closed to camping.  

As I write this I realize I really don't want to live in a rustic fashion.  I don't want to do without clean water, nor a/c, nor electricity.  Our '88 RV doesn't have any bells and whistles like some of the expensive ones, but it's comfortable if we have electricity and water and a sewer connection.  Oh yeah, and our Verizon HotSpot.

Lissa Bengtson

It's a Process: Moving from "Me" Towards "We"

David Oesper
 

The last topic I’d like to share from Yana Ludwig’s webinar, "How to Start an Intentional Community", is the recognition that any intentional community (including Mirador Astronomy Village) provides an opportunity to “move the needle” at least a little from the status quo towards a more wholesome way of living.


We are All In a Cultural Transition…

… and Community is a Fertile Ground For It

Independence arrow_right Interdependence

Judgement arrow_right Discernment

Me arrow_right We

Hoarding Resources arrow_right Sharing Resources

Competition arrow_right Cooperation

Blame arrow_right Compassion

...and it is Lifelong Work!


I'd love to live in a rural or even remote area, where the night sky is dark and filled with stars, but I would never want to live in such an isolated place with just me and my family. I need a community.

Dave

Re: Site Plan

maxeem
 

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. :)

Maxeem


On 5/28/20 1:31 AM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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;

-Bennett
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,

Maxeem


On 5/27/20 4:56 PM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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.

-Bennett

* 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 groups.io <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. 


Re: Customization and Building a Community

Sharon Villines
 

On May 25, 2020, at 11:46 PM, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:

"If possible, create homes that are flexible enough for modifications and customizations AFTER move-in. For us, one of the main opportunities of that kind was to include unfinished basements, which about 2/3 of the households have since finished in the 20 years since move-in."


Another project is leaving the second floor unfinished as a “party room.” The Ecovillage of Loudon County is a lot development model — each person chooses from a list of architects and building plans and builds on a community lot. Many designed their houses so the basement floor is finished so it can be rented as a separate apartment with an outside entrance as well as an entrance to the upstairs. At this point most are young families so they use the whole space, but some are empty nesters and rent the apartment.

Sharon

Community & Business [ was Site Plan

Sharon Villines
 

On May 27, 2020, at 10:45 PM, maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:

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.

First problem is probably referring to community members as "investors.” The feel is not the same as other cohousing community websites. The stress isn’t on community, and the pages on the vision, mission, etc are more institutional. They don’t invite people to come and make a home. 

While most cohousing communities share the same values and a large percentage of residents work in non-profit and social activist groups, the community itself is focused on the community. There are communities that have tangential businesses — cheese making, Christian Retreat House, Recreation Cabins, gardens, etc. — most seem to have found that it is better if there is a clean division between the two. They are still in the same place with lots of involvement  of many members but the finances and legal status are separate. 

That way mayhem in the community or economic downturns in the business don’t drain each other’s energy or finances. There be influences and concerns, certainly, but the purpose (vision, mission, aim) of each entity is not the same.

Cohousing communities often have a shared interest but there is no allegiance to a cause or ideology expected. Everyone is expected to respect each other. One community encouraged new members that shared a common interest in yoga and meditation, for example. Ours is taking on a serious interest in cooking and baking — just because 3 or 4 serious cooks have moved in. They host group baking sessions and special meals. One had prizes for the people who found a bean in their quiche.

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.

Many cohousing communities in the US are considering this, if only to allow younger people to join cohousing. The problem has been that communities had to build themselves and there was no money to build one’s own home and to build another building too. Many have developed without a common house because they couldn’t afford it. It might be 5-10 years before they can finance it.

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.

I think this is a very good description of the purpose of cohousing:  “to replenish one’s sense of community.” This is what is missing from the Moora-Moora website. Another purpose that many have adopted is “to create an old-fashioned neighborhood."

Sharon

Re: Site Plan

Lissa Bengtson
 

There is a lot of thought here, and I appreciate it.  Bennett's bubble design was a bit of a surprise to me because I didn't think there would be that many buildings.  But I like the idea of a lot of different, interesting spaces.  I'm not sure about greenhouses--how they actually work in a desert environment, but I certainly hope we can grow some of our own food.

I'm in favor of a central commercial-quality kitchen, which will be necessary for retreat groups that may want to rent the facilities, but also for us as a community.  I have prepared meals for 60 before--with the right equipment I could double that.  Or perhaps we make a deal with a chef for a big discount on their rental if he or she cooks one meal for us for 5 of 7 days, etc.

A recreation hall (possibly next to the dining room or maybe not) is essential for me, for dancing, tai chi, yoga, etc and my strong preference is that it have a sprung wooden floor and a stage sufficiently big enough for a band or for performing plays.  It would also need sound-dampening qualities for the outside and acoustic considerations inside, window coverings, etc.   Of course, good, strong air conditioning would be essential.

I do think starting with the campground makes sense--there really aren't that many RV parks in West Texas.  Each RV needs electricity (30 amp or 50 amp, plus a regular household plug on the pedestal) and 2 faucets of fresh water, with good pressure.  A concrete pad to park on and an adjacent concrete pad (often with a picnic table) so you don't step down into mud.  A sewer connection, also--some are right by the RV, and others you have to drive to the central sewer dump.  Many RV parks offer showers/toilets, also, which is very handy, and necessary for the tent campers.  I recently did an inspection of a Fifth Wheel at the Texan RV Park in Athens, TX and it was pretty much perfect except the rec room didn't have a wooden floor!

For tourists in RV's the nightly rate can be $45 to $65.  RVs are going to be increasingly popular due to so many baby-boomers retiring and the self-contained aspect makes them a safe way to travel when considering Covid-19 or similar.  Private RV parks were able to stay open in Texas during the stay-at-home orders, while all the State Parks closed to camping.  

As I write this I realize I really don't want to live in a rustic fashion.  I don't want to do without clean water, nor a/c, nor electricity.  Our '88 RV doesn't have any bells and whistles like some of the expensive ones, but it's comfortable if we have electricity and water and a sewer connection.  Oh yeah, and our Verizon HotSpot.

Lissa Bengtson

Re: Site Plan

Bennett Jones
 

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;

-Bennett

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,

Maxeem


On 5/27/20 4:56 PM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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.

-Bennett

* 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 groups.io <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. 


Re: Site Plan

maxeem
 

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,

Maxeem


On 5/27/20 4:56 PM, Bennett Jones via groups.io 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.

-Bennett

* 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 groups.io <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. 


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.

-Bennett

* 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 groups.io <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. 


Re: Site Plan

David Oesper
 

Sharon,

I’ll let Bennett respond to you about his Lydian City (LC) site plan. This is not specifically a site plan for Mirador Astronomy Village, but one model we can draw upon. Bennett provided some additional explanation which is now included in the file description:

https://dark-sky-communities.groups.io/g/main/files/Intentional%20Community%20Resources

I’d like to take this opportunity to explain more about the outdoor lighting aspects of an “astronomy-friendly” community. Indoor lighting would have no restrictions except the amount of light shining outdoors at night would need to be controlled with some sort of window covering.

Ideally, an astronomy-friendly community would not allow any dusk-to-dawn lighting. Why have a light shining all night long when most of the night no one will be making use of its illumination? Modern light sources such as LEDs, occupancy sensors, and control electronics have advanced to the point (both in terms of technology and affordability) that dusk-to-dawn lighting is no longer needed, at least in the kind of small community we are talking about here. I would like Mirador Astronomy Village to be an ongoing demonstration project for the wider world showing a better way to do outdoor lighting. By “better” I mean lighting that provides needed illumination where and when it is needed without adversely affecting the nighttime environment, including our view of the night sky. By “better” I also mean using passive reflective or light-colored materials where possible to reduce the need for—or brightness of—outdoor lighting.

There’s a lot to be said in favor of using “personal lighting devices”, also known as flashlights, when walking about at night.

The permanent outdoor lighting that is installed should be properly shielded and directed so that only what needs to be illuminated is illuminated, thus minimizing glare, light trespass, and direct uplight. The right amount of light for the intended task should be used, never more than is needed.

We certainly will need to be mindful of anyone visiting or living in our community with vision limitations. This is most likely going to be an issue in the areas open to the public at night. Observational astronomers, as a general rule, have learned to see better at low illumination levels through familiarity and experience, but the same is not true for the general public. Accommodations will need to be made with this in mind, and I would expect the public areas to have more illumination.

Hope this helps,

Dave

Site Plan

Sharon Villines
 

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. 


New file uploaded to main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io

main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io Notification <main+notification@...>
 

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that the following files have been uploaded to the Files area of the main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io group.

Uploaded By: David Oesper <oesper@...>

Description:
Dave, The attached plan is very much a work in progress (and would always be), with some of the layout site specific and could vary with the interests of the residents/customers. There is a priority order of the design/construction/development of facilities not reflected in this plan. Again, this will be somewhat site specific. Bennett Jones

Cheers,
The Groups.io Team

Re: Customization and Building a Community

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
Not only is Ms. Villines spot on with her advice, as someone who has been involved in several projects in the Big Bend, I can say it is even more important to listen to her advice when considering a remote (potentially off-grid) community.

Bennett

On Monday, May 25, 2020, 10:46:50 PM CDT, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:


Over on the Cohousing-L group, Sharon Villines (also of our group) and Mac Thomson recently had some important thoughts to share about building a community and customization. Though in reference to cohousing units for sale, I believe this is a valuable consideration for any multi-home construction project, whether for sale or for rental.

Sharon wrote:

"...you will find that interior modifications (except perhaps leaving something out or unfinished) will both extend the time for construction and the cost for everyone. Building 35 unique units vs building 35 that are all similar except in size or number of bathrooms means all your cost savings will be gone. Literally gone. Construction will take longer because workers and supervisors will have to double check plans while building, stock a greater variety of materials, and tear things out and redo them because no one looks at the plans."

"Tell people to renovate after everyone is moved in. No delays."

"Exterior modifications will probably bring all those same problems plus more. They will require extra construction plans and possibly re-permitting. Down the line it increases maintenance and repair costs for those extensions or elaborations. Those units will use more common space than other units and possibly do things like block sunlight to other units. Should that unit pay more for roof replacement or painting if it is extended another 10 feet?"

"One of the things that I learned after living in cohousing is why standard condos are standard. All similar units can be proportionately priced and condo fees and repair costs divided equivalently."

Mac Thomson added:

"From our experience building at Heartwood Cohousing, I would agree with Sharon. Do not allow customization of any kind. Customization leads to more potential construction mistakes, increased costs for everyone (not just the customizers), and a longer construction timeline."

"If possible, create homes that are flexible enough for modifications and customizations AFTER move-in. For us, one of the main opportunities of that kind was to include unfinished basements, which about 2/3 of the households have since finished in the 20 years since move-in."

Customization and Building a Community

David Oesper
 

Over on the Cohousing-L group, Sharon Villines (also of our group) and Mac Thomson recently had some important thoughts to share about building a community and customization. Though in reference to cohousing units for sale, I believe this is a valuable consideration for any multi-home construction project, whether for sale or for rental.

Sharon wrote:

"...you will find that interior modifications (except perhaps leaving something out or unfinished) will both extend the time for construction and the cost for everyone. Building 35 unique units vs building 35 that are all similar except in size or number of bathrooms means all your cost savings will be gone. Literally gone. Construction will take longer because workers and supervisors will have to double check plans while building, stock a greater variety of materials, and tear things out and redo them because no one looks at the plans."

"Tell people to renovate after everyone is moved in. No delays."

"Exterior modifications will probably bring all those same problems plus more. They will require extra construction plans and possibly re-permitting. Down the line it increases maintenance and repair costs for those extensions or elaborations. Those units will use more common space than other units and possibly do things like block sunlight to other units. Should that unit pay more for roof replacement or painting if it is extended another 10 feet?"

"One of the things that I learned after living in cohousing is why standard condos are standard. All similar units can be proportionately priced and condo fees and repair costs divided equivalently."

Mac Thomson added:

"From our experience building at Heartwood Cohousing, I would agree with Sharon. Do not allow customization of any kind. Customization leads to more potential construction mistakes, increased costs for everyone (not just the customizers), and a longer construction timeline."

"If possible, create homes that are flexible enough for modifications and customizations AFTER move-in. For us, one of the main opportunities of that kind was to include unfinished basements, which about 2/3 of the households have since finished in the 20 years since move-in."

New file uploaded to main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io

main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io Notification <main+notification@...>
 

Hello,

This email message is a notification to let you know that the following files have been uploaded to the Files area of the main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io group.

Uploaded By: David Oesper <oesper@...>

Description:
Bennett Jones has been thinking for many years about what it would take to create an off-grid remote self-sustaining community. It is a work in progress. This Organization Chart could be used as a prototype for the org chart that will be needed for Mirador Astronomy Village.

Cheers,
The Groups.io Team

Re: Characteristics of Intentional Communities

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
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:  https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big-bend-ranch

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: https://www.obfs.org/join-obfs

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" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQvg5TDV_nc


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).

Re: Characteristics of Intentional Communities

Lissa Bengtson
 

The idea of being able to have part of the campus rented for groups that want to have a retreat is a real revenue generator.  
   If you have looked at Airbnb lately—they are thinking “out-of-the-box” and offering experiences as well as places to stay. 
  Every Thanksgiving (not sure about this one!) I go to Greene Family Camp outside of Bruceville,TX for 4 days of folk dancing.  There are several housing options, and we dance and eat in a large building, partying as late into the night as we want. Renting the camp for 4 days costs $25,000.   There are usually 200-250 attendees. It costs me $350 or so because I prefer the private room option.  All meals included. 
    Other fond workshop memories I’ve had were at John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC  as well as Festival Hill near Round Top, TX.   Festival Hill is known for classical music concerts in their Elizabethan theater, but they have many other workshops during the year—some they sponsor, which brings in revenue. 
    Most of these places know how many attendees they need to break even and if registration isn’t high enough, they cancel the workshop.  As far as I know they are all 501c3’s. 
     This weekend I plan to have time to savor these posts and think through them.  

Lissa Bengtson
San Antonio

Re: Characteristics of Intentional Communities

David Oesper
 
Edited

Bennett,

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.

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.

I see no real problem with your definition of community “income sharing”, but what Yana is referencing 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!

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.

I like your “New Urban in a Rural Setting” and “Remote Residential Science Station”. Let's remember those phrases.

Inwardly Focused in the permanent residence (P.R.) section. Outwardly Focused in the public areas, and as part of the education mission. Residents can then operate in their chosen mode at any given time.

Very well said!

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.

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?

OK, I’m willing to shift somewhat from Relationally-based to Rules-based if it is done correctly, but the devil is in the details.

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?

Thanks,

Dave

Re: New file uploaded to main@Dark-Sky-Communities.groups.io

David Oesper
 

Ah, thank you, Sharon!

Dave