Date   
Participatory Design: How Designing Together Can Bring You Together

David Oesper
 

Mary Kraus, a cohousing architect in Amherst, Massachusetts, presented a session on participatory design as part of “The Heart of Community” Coho/US webinar series presented on May 30, 2020.

The context of her talk is the weekend workshops she does for cohousing groups to help them through the process of designing their community—particularly the common house. Besides future community members and prospectives, the local architect hired for the project is also in the room for the weekend workshop.

Often prospective members of the community are invited to the workshop. The workshop can be a good marketing opportunity and a way to recruit additional members, as they witness you as a group working together.


Many cohousing communities share regular meals together in the common house. The majority of your community’s work will be in preparing and cleaning up after common meals.

A “typical” size of a cohousing common house is 4,000 sq. ft. A central island in the common house kitchen is often a good idea. Some communities have a commercial dishwasher and sometimes a commercial kitchen as well.

Cohousing communities have a main gathering area in the commons, the outdoor “living room” of your community. Some key considerations for this area are providing shade and wind protection.


At the weekend workshops, survey questions on a number of possible community features are provided to participants. The answer choices are standard and do a good job of gauging sentiment.

black_square_button Yes, definitely

black_square_button Yes, probably

black_square_button Neutral

black_square_button No, probably not

black_square_button No, definitely not

black_square_button Unsure

We could do something similar here by adding more polls to our polls section.


Mary Kraus acts as the workshop facilitator, and there are ground rules, of course.

Ground Rules

  • Emotions OK, Aggression Not

  • Listen for Understanding

  • Hands to Speak

  • When in Doubt, Facilitator Decides

  • Silence = Assent

  • If Confused, Ask

  • Stay On Topic

  • Let Others Speak Before You Speak Again

  • No Side Conversations

  • Only Equity Members Can Block Consensus


During the workshop, it is important to tap into your own vision—and to hear everyone else’s visions.

Features can be prioritized using printed cards.


As each new idea is presented during the workshop, the “temperature” of members of the group can be measured by using the following answer choices.

black_square_button Love it

black_square_button Like it

black_square_button Don’t like it, but can live with it

black_square_button Can’t live with it


Workshop topics can include the

  • Vision statement

  • Site

  • Common house

  • Individual unit design

The site and common house are the most important to discuss using this workshop format.

Design your common house first so the initial focus is on community and what you’re sharing.


A consideration: Some cohousing communities have associate members who serve important community functions but don’t live in the community. You may want to give them access to some or all of the common facilities. People working in your community but not living there, for example.

Re: EcoReality Wiki Example

David Oesper
 

Jan Steinman shared some additional information about the EcoReality website:

"Please feel free to share the website with anyone. It used MediaWiki, the open-source software behind Wikipedia. It is great for collaborative work. The ecovillage components map is an extension that uses the open-source “GraphViz” package, and is editable by anyone who can log in. I’ve also written a MySQL database extension that is used extensively on our site — just about anywhere you see a table is a live view of the database."

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

Sharon,

Asking “why rentals?” you’ve touched upon an essential feature of Mirador Astronomy Village. I will speak to that, but first a few words about location.

Despite our best efforts to contain it, light pollution is getting worse almost everywhere. It is getting increasingly difficult to find places to live that are not significantly affected by it, and they are usually not only rural but remote.

My dream with Mirador is to help create a community in a (necessarily) remote area with a pristine view of the night sky and a natural nighttime environment that can be enjoyed and appreciated each and every night—something that is simply not available within the perpetual twilight “fog” in our cities and towns.

Why rental? Because I believe strongly that everyone who wants to live at Mirador should be able to afford to live at Mirador. Increasingly, retirees are renting instead of owning their homes. And, for young people, home ownership is out of reach for many and they must rent.

Many astronomy-enthusiasts I know (myself included) would never be able to afford a $300K-$400K home, would never be able to buy a piece of land and build a new house on it, and would never be able to have two homes, one in “civilization” and one in a remote area.

Mirador Astronomy Village as we envision it (https://miradorastrovillage.org/mirador.pdf) would function best as a proprietary community and that requires that everyone living there rents. Bennett can best explain the many advantages of a proprietary community, but for me the most important benefit is that it will be easy for people to move in and move out as life circumstances change. Want to give Mirador a trial run? Easy. Getting on in years and need to move closer to family? Easy. And so on.

How to finance an all-rental development? I’ve been asking myself that question almost every day for the past several months. It is certainly the most difficult problem we need to solve before we can move this project forward. I don’t have the answer yet.

I know that in cities, all-rental developments get built all the time. Apartment buildings, for example, and now, more recently, build-to-rent (B2R) neighborhoods where all the new homes are rental. How are they financed? Is there any way to apply those financing methods to a small development in a remote area?

Dave

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

maxeem
 

I can't answer the "why" for anyone else, but I can maybe manage to answer a potential "how".

The form of rental that worked for us (my intentional community is a co-op, now celebrating its 80th year) was to have each resident own a share of the place which was owned cooperatively. We set the rent price ourselves and paid this monthly rent to ourselves in order to fund the various departments of the house such as supplies, food, repairs, etc. (a small amount of funds also came from payments from busy folx to cover their missed chores). No position was paid, but you were required to have a position to live there.

The recruitment manager(s)'s job, for example, was to keep track of who was going to move in or move out and find new people to replace those moving out (when there wasn't a waiting list, and it would comfortably vacillate between too few and too many people wanting to populate the place).

We paid such affordable rent for room & board, which allowed each of us to spend more time valuing each other and pursuing our individual dreams, rather than working ourselves just to barely afford housing or re-purchase dozens of things that make more sense to share. And yet, despite the affordability, with 29 residents we always had savings every month, and last decade we repaired our extension, installed new windows, and redid the stucco (Something like $200k+).

So it's a strangely effective system. If you set it up right. Insurance was set up and handled by a company connected to the father of one of the original members. When you pay your first rent and deposit you become an owner. There is no equity. And the shares do nothing presently, and everyone is happy to just contribute now, but at one time in the past you were issued a lovely little certificate of stock. (Still some of these sitting around in the finance closet somewhere). The purpose of these was to track a small dividend returned to renters each year that gradually was forgotten about or dispensed with.

How it was founded was the coop got a loan from another cooperative or two in the 1930s which they paid back. The coop group (created by a woman naturally!) swooped in and bought a frat house that had recently gone bankrupt due to mismanagement.

I would guess with a sharehouse you could have a different loaning partner that is less likely to decline than a bank, such as the larger ecovillage community's own bank. Or this "funding" thing may be a moot issue if its worked into the site plan.

I'd be happy to explain anything else about my home community, and how it handled various inevitable troubles that societies are bound to encounter. I miss it all the time. Feels like such a natural way to live for me as opposed to considering what I would have to do to consider traditional home ownership.

<3

Max


On 6/9/20 5:53 PM, Sharon Villines via groups.io wrote:
This may be a duplicate question, but why rentals? How will you finance construction? What cohousing groups do is presell the units. Then the construction loan is based on those contracts. When the units close (or lots if you are doing RVs or tents), you pay back the construction loan. With additional sales you start again to build more and to build common spaces.

Sharon

On Jun 9, 2020, at 5:41 PM, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

A poll has been updated:


As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.


1. Private tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2. Private RV used as a bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
3. Private bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
4. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5. Private bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7. Private bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9. Private apartment with with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11. Private apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12. Private home with one bedroom and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
13. Private home with two bedrooms and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
14. Private home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
15. Private home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
16. Private home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities

Vote Now

Do not reply to this message to vote in the poll. You can vote in polls only through the group's website.


Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

Sharon Villines
 

This may be a duplicate question, but why rentals? How will you finance construction? What cohousing groups do is presell the units. Then the construction loan is based on those contracts. When the units close (or lots if you are doing RVs or tents), you pay back the construction loan. With additional sales you start again to build more and to build common spaces.

Sharon

On Jun 9, 2020, at 5:41 PM, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

A poll has been updated:


As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.


1. Private tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2. Private RV used as a bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
3. Private bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
4. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5. Private bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7. Private bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9. Private apartment with with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11. Private apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12. Private home with one bedroom and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
13. Private home with two bedrooms and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
14. Private home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
15. Private home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
16. Private home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities

Vote Now

Do not reply to this message to vote in the poll. You can vote in polls only through the group's website.


EcoReality Wiki Example

David Oesper
 

EcoReality is located about 3 km west of Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Though not a candidate for a dark-sky community, I wanted to share with you their wiki. Even though it is old-school and low-tech, it is surprisingly effective and did not require the services of an expensive web designer. Pay special attention to their "Some ecovillage components" map down towards the bottom of the page!

http://www.ecoreality.org/wiki/Welcome_to_EcoReality!

Perhaps we could develop a wiki for Mirador and/or dark-sky communities in general. Wikis are collaborative, just like Wikipedia.

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

Hi Lissa et al.,

Groups.io fixed the problem, and you can now choose multiple options. Even if you have already voted, you can go in and add or change your choices.

I will leave this poll open indefinitely, and you should be able to see the poll results at any time. The identity of who voted for what will not be visible, so you can vote with anonymity.

Since I am not able to add a "free text" response to this poll, if you look at this and think "none of the above" please reply in private or to the group as to what choices you would like me to add, and I will add them.

Please vote! Even if you are peripherally involved with this group, your opinion is important!

Thanks,

David Oesper

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

OK, last communication on this for today. I joined the group managers forum and this is a bug that was reported today. Some recent updates broke this feature. So for now, you'll only be able to select one choice. I'll fix this as soon as groups.io fixes their problem. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

Lissa Bengtson
 

The poll only let me choose one option. 

Lissa

Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 
Edited

As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.

Results

Re: Senior Cohousing Handbook: Chapter 5 Notes and Mirador Musings

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
It does not have to be a binary choice - "stout" vs "lite".
A continuum is possible (and recommended) from the very beginning.
Within the Campground you could go from a tent as your "Bed Room", with all other facilities being shared (I did that for 3 1/2 years of my life - which I still miss), to a fully self-contained RV with all the bells and whistles and no need to share any facilities at all.

A formal survey of members might be interesting.
Q? - Are interested in:
1 - personal tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2 - personal RV used as a Bed Room - all other spaces and facilities shared
3 - personal Bed Room - all other spaces and facilities shared
4 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5 - personal Bed Room with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7 - personal Bed Room with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet, bathing facilities, Kitchen, and Dinning area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9 - personal apartment with a Bed Room, Bath Room, Kitchen, and Dinning area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10- personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet, bathing facilities, Kitchen, Dinning area, and Laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11- personal apartment with a Bed Room, Bath Room, Kitchen, Dinning area, and Laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12- personal home with access to all shared facilities
Etc. etc. etc.

I do recommend separate (adjoining) Bed Rooms for family members in the first permanent non-common structures that are built.
You have pointed out a few of many reasons that even spouses might need to sleep apart, for at least a short period of time.

You may be surprised how little private personal space you actually need to live comfortably.
(I shared 10 years in a sailboat with a living space of 8'x12'=96 sq. ft., which I also still miss.)

Bennett

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, 08:43:16 PM CDT, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:


Prior to building your community, identify and address all issues as early as possible, before they turn into conflicts.


Smaller houses in a senior cohousing community provide the following advantages:

  • More affordable
  • Easier upkeep
  • Better materials can be used, providing a more comfortable place to live with less maintenance needed later
  • Common house provides some of the amenities you would normally have in a larger home

A typical smaller cohousing home is 600 to 1,000 sq ft. One bedroom, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room, bathroom, and “plus room” (office or hobby room) off to the side. But...

At Mariendalsvej Senior Cohousing [in Copenhagen, Denmark], high-income prospective residents found one-bedroom 840-960 sq. ft. and two-bedroom 1,020-1,100 sq. ft. apartments to be too small.

milky_way Personal Note: The two of us have grown accustomed to living in a 1,600 - 2,500 sq. ft. home over the years, and we fully utilize just about all of that space. I’m not sure we could downsize to 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. How about you? If one or both of you snore, or keep very different schedules (night owl + early bird), it seems that two bedrooms would be a necessity. milky_way


Make sure you have enough tenants signed up and involved with the project before you build!

Without a strong core resident group to hold the line in terms of budget, there is real danger that costs will creep up beyond the reach of potential residents who are interested in the cohousing concept (already a limited pool of potential buyers).

Without the leadership of a strong resident group, the developer may not fully support, or perhaps even understand, the cohousing concept enough to see the project through with its original intent intact—that of creating a community.

Without a strong group process in which a group of people embark on the common task of developing the project, committing themselves, and taking responsibility, the opportunity for group formation and bonding is utterly lost, and the community itself might fail.

A “you can add the community after move-in” philosophy simply does not create cohousing. Prospective buyers cannot be forced to buy into the cohousing concept itself. An individual or family is either predisposed to cooperating with neighbors or is not—no one is going to be “talked into it”.

milky_way Do we want "cohousing stout" for Mirador, or "cohousing lite"? We do have a choice. milky_way

ReferencesThe Senior Cohousing Handbook, Second Edition, by Charles Durrett (2009): Chapter 5

Senior Cohousing Handbook: Chapter 5 Notes and Mirador Musings

David Oesper
 
Edited

Prior to building your community, identify and address all issues as early as possible, before they turn into conflicts.


Smaller houses in a senior cohousing community provide the following advantages:

  • More affordable
  • Easier upkeep
  • Better materials can be used, providing a more comfortable place to live with less maintenance needed later
  • Common house provides some of the amenities you would normally have in a larger home

A typical smaller cohousing home is 600 to 1,000 sq ft. One bedroom, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room, bathroom, and “plus room” (office or hobby room) off to the side. But...

At Mariendalsvej Senior Cohousing [in Copenhagen, Denmark], high-income prospective residents found one-bedroom 840-960 sq. ft. and two-bedroom 1,020-1,100 sq. ft. apartments to be too small.

milky_way Personal Note: The two of us have grown accustomed to living in a 1,600 - 2,500 sq. ft. home over the years, and we fully utilize just about all of that space. I’m not sure we could downsize to 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. How about you? If one or both of you snore, or keep very different schedules (night owl + early bird), it seems that two bedrooms would be a necessity. milky_way


Make sure you have enough tenants signed up and involved with the project before you build!

Without a strong core resident group to hold the line in terms of budget, there is real danger that costs will creep up beyond the reach of potential residents who are interested in the cohousing concept (already a limited pool of potential buyers).

Without the leadership of a strong resident group, the developer may not fully support, or perhaps even understand, the cohousing concept enough to see the project through with its original intent intact—that of creating a community.

Without a strong group process in which a group of people embark on the common task of developing the project, committing themselves, and taking responsibility, the opportunity for group formation and bonding is utterly lost, and the community itself might fail.

A “you can add the community after move-in” philosophy simply does not create cohousing. Prospective buyers cannot be forced to buy into the cohousing concept itself. An individual or family is either predisposed to cooperating with neighbors or is not—no one is going to be “talked into it”.

milky_way Do we want "cohousing stout" for Mirador, or "cohousing lite"? We do have a choice. milky_way

References

The Senior Cohousing Handbook, Second Edition, by Charles Durrett (2009): Chapter 5

Sharehouse

David Oesper
 

Hi Maxeem,

Welcome to the group! As we develop our idea for Mirador Astronomy Village, it is clear we'll need several different types of housing for residents. All of it rental. One that I had not considered but now will add to the Mirador specifications document is the sharehouse idea that you so eloquently wrote about:

"One thing that maybe could have helped...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."

It does definitely apply to what we're discussing, Maxeem. Thank you! Bennett has been describing something similar, but sometimes I need to hear about an idea more than once before it sinks in, and you've given it a name: sharehouse.

I found this web page "What is a share house?" that gives further helpful details:

https://www.oakhouse.jp/eng/sharehouse/about

So, Mirador should have the following types of housing:

  1. A cohousing community
  2. Apartments
  3. A sharehouse
  4. An RV park
  5. Lodging for visitors and guests

Have I got it covered?

Thanks much!

Dave

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

John W Briggs
 

It's a good thing to bring up the general issue of wind and dust.  Until one has a chance to live in the Southwest, it's easy to underestimate how significant the spring windy season is.  I moved here (NM) as a native of Massachusetts.  Likely the first seasonal thing one learns about here is the monsoon season that normally runs through the summer.  At Sunspot (originally a site of National Solar Observatory), a local joke was that the monsoons started immediately after the July 4th holiday weekend.  But it was amazing how often this seemed exactly true, at least while my family and I were there!

The effect of the monsoons is for an afternoon buildup of thunderstorms that often last through at least the first half of the night.  The second half, however, can be wonderfully clear.  Nevertheless, professional observatories in the Southwest, like Apache Point, typically schedule major engineering projects and other observing shut-downs during the monsoon season.

In the spring, however, the problem is the wind, and as far as I've learned, it's a problem everywhere in the Southwest.  In our experience so far here in Magdalena, the worse month is April.  This year, it seemed to start early and end late.  My impressions are very subjective of course.  But what is certainly true is that there's a regular annual season of high wind that's very significant to astronomers.  Professional observatories often have dust monitors that can trigger quick closings during "dust events."  The most serious issue can be windblown pine pollen that's potentially sticky on optics.  In turns of housecleaning, windblown dust pushing through door frames and windows can be a bit obnoxious, no denying it.  

But lest I sound too negative describing these issues, I think most of us living here will agree that we're very grateful for the overall astronomical advantages of the Southwest.  One should just be prepared for the details that come with a particular environment.  For example, we're very sensitive to seasonal issues when we plan our annual Enchanted Skies Start Party that's begun to attract repeat participants coming from as far away as Switzerland.  We would naturally not schedule that in either the monsoon or the windy seasons.  An operation running short-term rentals is not likely to get many astronomers renting in those seasons.

At the high altitude of Sunspot (over 9,000 feet), one advantage was that often it seemed the gypsum dust of nearby White Sands National Monument would not reach all the way up to the observatory during the windy times.  (But sometimes, on the other hand, it sure would!)

A final class of environmental issues that may catch newcomers off-guard is how very serious moths and ladybugs can be getting into scientific equipment in huge clumps at some locations.  These insects were awful pests at Sunspot and Apache Point.  At the lower altitude of Magdalena (6,500 feet), they don't seem such a problem.  Not yet in my experience here, anyway!

Finally, I attach following right below another message I recently sent out to local astronomers and interested community friends.  In the last month or so, we've been making a particular effort here to get all-sky and weather information for FOAH Observatory on the Internet.  It's not hard.  But it took enough work that I was glad being able to brag a bit in sharing it, as follows:            (--JWB.)

###

Check out this link to the weather station now running on the FOAH Observatory hilltop:


The wind is typically much more severe at the hilltop than it is in the Village to our south or even at our house at the bottom of the little hill.  The altitude at the hilltop is exactly 6500 feet or 1981 meters, per Google Earth.

The weather instrument is an Ambient WS-2902B and cost about $170, not counting the hardware to mount it securely about 7 feet above ground on the hill.  (I've been up there at times it seemed my F-350 pickup was gonna blow off!)

Links to our all-sky camera, now running regularly pretty well, are here:


The Clear Sky Chart specifically for FOAH Observatory is here:


FOAH has an assigned IAU observatory code, V23.  This allows computations of JPL ephemerides specifically for FOAH and is thus especially useful for pointing to near-Earth objects that may have significant horizontal parallax.  Enter V23 as necessary to define the site:


--JWB.



On Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 11:30 AM maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:

Then this may be another argument for why it may be better not to establish in Southwest NM. I watch the dust column index (personal health reasons) and SW New Mexico all the way up to Silver City gets hit when the winds blow it North. The forested area might be a breaker, leading to less obfuscation if you can get above the tree lines.

According to the measurements given anyway, dust will also get up to Albuquerque or further at times, but not as thick or as often? Haven't paid much attention to Texas but the times I've seen it it's largely in West TX blowing West-Southwest.

Just a fun and useful tool for gathering data from weather.gov

Maxeem


On 6/1/20 4:15 PM, David Oesper via groups.io wrote:

John,

I'm so glad you mentioned the importance of astronomical seeing in choosing a site. It certainly must be a key consideration. Is there a DIMM that is commercially available? If not, we may need to borrow one of yours (or make one ourselves) when we are ready to evaluate a site.

Thanks for the link to your poster paper!

To the group, here's some more information about astronomical seeing. Perhaps an oversimplification (John?), but it does give you a good introduction. For starters, you want to be on the prevailing-wind side of any mountains or hills to avoid being on the receiving end of any topography-induced turbulence.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/seeing.pdf

Dave

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

maxeem
 

Then this may be another argument for why it may be better not to establish in Southwest NM. I watch the dust column index (personal health reasons) and SW New Mexico all the way up to Silver City gets hit when the winds blow it North. The forested area might be a breaker, leading to less obfuscation if you can get above the tree lines.

According to the measurements given anyway, dust will also get up to Albuquerque or further at times, but not as thick or as often? Haven't paid much attention to Texas but the times I've seen it it's largely in West TX blowing West-Southwest.

Just a fun and useful tool for gathering data from weather.gov

Maxeem


On 6/1/20 4:15 PM, David Oesper via groups.io wrote:

John,

I'm so glad you mentioned the importance of astronomical seeing in choosing a site. It certainly must be a key consideration. Is there a DIMM that is commercially available? If not, we may need to borrow one of yours (or make one ourselves) when we are ready to evaluate a site.

Thanks for the link to your poster paper!

To the group, here's some more information about astronomical seeing. Perhaps an oversimplification (John?), but it does give you a good introduction. For starters, you want to be on the prevailing-wind side of any mountains or hills to avoid being on the receiving end of any topography-induced turbulence.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/seeing.pdf

Dave

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

Steve Taylor
 

Hi John,
That would be very nice. I've only ever stopped in Magdalena once, and that was by a cop.....
Ironically, the only place my son has ever been stopped....is also in Magdalena.....
Steve


On Mon, 1 Jun 2020 at 18:49, John W Briggs <john.w.briggs@...> wrote:
Steve, if during your visit to Socorro you can swing up to Magdalena to see some of the stuff here, that will be wonderful, and we'll look forward to it.  Just let me know as the time approaches!   --John. 

On Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 4:02 PM Steve Taylor <steveastrouk@...> wrote:
My younger offspring is/will be a final year civil engineer at NMT next semester. We are hoping to go out in late September/October to see him and steal his car, before we head down to Animas to our property on the abandoned Rancho Hidalgo development.

On Mon, 1 Jun 2020 at 17:51, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:

Thanks for your note, John. I think we met at Yerkes many years ago, and I am looking forward to visiting you there in Magdalena as soon as the pandemic subsides.

I’ve visited Socorro, Magdalena, the VLA, and Pie Town, and I love the area. It is also a big plus that Socorro is home to New Mexico Tech and Socorro General Hospital.

I think we should definitely consider locating Mirador Astronomy Village along the Route 60 corridor. It makes good sense to locate Mirador in an area where there is already a significant infrastructure and interest in astronomy. Two other areas we are currently looking at are the Big Bend region of West Texas (home of the McDonald Observatory), and the Hwy 9 corridor in SW New Mexico.

Another, much less expensive, way to create Mirador or something similar to it that I’ve been considering would be to “adopt” an existing small town if they would be willing to adopt us. This could really help the local economy, but the existing residents would have to be on board with the idea and be willing to make some changes such as enacting a lighting ordinance. And we would need to be truly engaged with the existing community and their needs and desires so that it is a win-win situation. It looks like you have already made a lot of progress towards this in Magdalena, so I'm really looking forward to my visit there soon.

You bring up an excellent point about observatory communities at all the remote professional observatories. We could learn a great deal from them. I am somewhat familiar with the McDonald Observatory community. I thoroughly enjoyed helping with star parties (volunteer) and conducting special viewing nights (for pay) on the 36” and the 82” Struve telescopes. Oh, do I miss that!

Wow, there aren’t very many people on this planet that can say that they’ve spent a winter at the South Pole! I’d love to hear about your experience and what you learned about remote living in an inhospitable environment sometime! Though the desert southwest is far more hospitable (even in mid-summer) than Antarctica was, I’m sure much of what you learned would apply to Mirador or any other remote community.

Thanks for mentioning Stellafane and the Springfield Telescope Makers. We should probably contact them to get their insights about Mirador.

Thanks for including the photo of the FOAH Observatory and environs. To those of you who are interested in learning more about this observatory and are curious about what FOAH stands for (as I was), see here:

https://stellafane.org/misc/activities/publications/Magdalena-Briggs.pdf

You’ll also learn a little more about John and his interesting pursuits!

Dave



--
 



--
 

Re: Land Auction email

David Oesper
 

And here is another land site that may be useful:

https://www.landsofamerica.com/

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

David Oesper
 

John,

I'm so glad you mentioned the importance of astronomical seeing in choosing a site. It certainly must be a key consideration. Is there a DIMM that is commercially available? If not, we may need to borrow one of yours (or make one ourselves) when we are ready to evaluate a site.

Thanks for the link to your poster paper!

To the group, here's some more information about astronomical seeing. Perhaps an oversimplification (John?), but it does give you a good introduction. For starters, you want to be on the prevailing-wind side of any mountains or hills to avoid being on the receiving end of any topography-induced turbulence.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/seeing.pdf

Dave

Best Rural Hospitals in the Desert SW

David Oesper
 

The Chartis Center for Rural Health annually publishes a list of the top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals.

https://www.ivantageindex.com/top-performing-hospitals/

In the dark-sky areas of the desert southwest region we’re looking at for Mirador Astronomy Village (including an expanded look at rural Texas), these are the hospitals that make the grade:

Miners Colfax Medical Center
Raton, NM
http://www.minershosp.com/
Critical Access Top Hospital

Collingsworth General Hospital
Wellington, TX
https://www.collingsworthgeneral.net/
Critical Access Top Hospital

Mitchell County Hospital District
Colorado City, TX
https://www.mitchellcountyhospital.com/
Critical Access Top Hospital
NOTE: Probably too close to oil & gas development; we need to be very careful to choose a dark-sky community site with no potential for future oil and gas extraction.

Guadalupe County Hospital
Santa Rosa, NM
https://www.gchnm.org/
Rural & Community Top Hospital

Childress Regional Medical Center
Childress, TX
https://www.childresshospital.com/
Rural & Community Top Hospital

Knox County Hospital
Knox City, TX
https://knoxhospital.org/
Rural & Community Top Hospital

No hospitals in Arizona made the grade.

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

John W Briggs
 

Steve, if during your visit to Socorro you can swing up to Magdalena to see some of the stuff here, that will be wonderful, and we'll look forward to it.  Just let me know as the time approaches!   --John. 

On Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 4:02 PM Steve Taylor <steveastrouk@...> wrote:
My younger offspring is/will be a final year civil engineer at NMT next semester. We are hoping to go out in late September/October to see him and steal his car, before we head down to Animas to our property on the abandoned Rancho Hidalgo development.

On Mon, 1 Jun 2020 at 17:51, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:

Thanks for your note, John. I think we met at Yerkes many years ago, and I am looking forward to visiting you there in Magdalena as soon as the pandemic subsides.

I’ve visited Socorro, Magdalena, the VLA, and Pie Town, and I love the area. It is also a big plus that Socorro is home to New Mexico Tech and Socorro General Hospital.

I think we should definitely consider locating Mirador Astronomy Village along the Route 60 corridor. It makes good sense to locate Mirador in an area where there is already a significant infrastructure and interest in astronomy. Two other areas we are currently looking at are the Big Bend region of West Texas (home of the McDonald Observatory), and the Hwy 9 corridor in SW New Mexico.

Another, much less expensive, way to create Mirador or something similar to it that I’ve been considering would be to “adopt” an existing small town if they would be willing to adopt us. This could really help the local economy, but the existing residents would have to be on board with the idea and be willing to make some changes such as enacting a lighting ordinance. And we would need to be truly engaged with the existing community and their needs and desires so that it is a win-win situation. It looks like you have already made a lot of progress towards this in Magdalena, so I'm really looking forward to my visit there soon.

You bring up an excellent point about observatory communities at all the remote professional observatories. We could learn a great deal from them. I am somewhat familiar with the McDonald Observatory community. I thoroughly enjoyed helping with star parties (volunteer) and conducting special viewing nights (for pay) on the 36” and the 82” Struve telescopes. Oh, do I miss that!

Wow, there aren’t very many people on this planet that can say that they’ve spent a winter at the South Pole! I’d love to hear about your experience and what you learned about remote living in an inhospitable environment sometime! Though the desert southwest is far more hospitable (even in mid-summer) than Antarctica was, I’m sure much of what you learned would apply to Mirador or any other remote community.

Thanks for mentioning Stellafane and the Springfield Telescope Makers. We should probably contact them to get their insights about Mirador.

Thanks for including the photo of the FOAH Observatory and environs. To those of you who are interested in learning more about this observatory and are curious about what FOAH stands for (as I was), see here:

https://stellafane.org/misc/activities/publications/Magdalena-Briggs.pdf

You’ll also learn a little more about John and his interesting pursuits!

Dave



--