I've been unusually quiet this week as I've been participating in a week-long training (in my off-work time) on "How to Create an Intentional Community" provided by Yana Ludwig, a more in-depth follow-on from her earlier one-session training last month. Maxeem is also in the training this week, I was delighted to find out!
As part of that process, I have a couple of things to share. As always, your thoughts, questions, and suggestions are very welcome on any of this.
I've extended the "Vision Statement" on page 1 of the Mirador specifications document (see our Files section) so any reader will see all the main characteristics of Mirador Astronomy Village, as presently proposed, right at the outset.
Mirador Astronomy Village will provide a community-oriented living and working environment for people of all ages with a casual, active, or professional interest in astronomy and the other natural sciences. Its wider mission will be to provide high quality educational programs in astronomy, the other natural sciences, environmental sustainability, and cooperative living.
Mirador Astronomy Village will be a rural community located in New Mexico, Arizona, or West Texas. There will be no dusk-to-dawn lighting at Mirador, and allowed lighting will be designed and installed so that it does not interfere with astronomical activities.
Everyone living at Mirador will rent their residence. There will be no up-front cost to live in the community except for a standard rental deposit. A variety of housing types will be available, including an RV park, sharehouse, apartments, and a cohousing community with separate single family houses. Observatories will be available to rent as well.
Mirador will have on-site businesses, including lodging for visitors. Mirador will operate an astronomy tourism and education center. Residents will have the opportunity to work part-time or full-time in exchange for a reduction in monthly rent and living expenses.
And, here are my answers to our homework assignment for Friday's session.
1. Given your vision, location and economic needs, who do you think your ideal members are?
Two groups of people are needed. One group with the financial means to purchase the ~100 acres of land we would need to begin building the community. And one group who would build the community and live and work there. Having everyone in the first group also in the second group would be ideal, but they could be two distinct groups. Or some overlap.
Most everyone involved with the project would have a deep and abiding love for the night sky, and for astronomy. I say “most” because I hope the community would also be attractive to non-astronomers who like the idea of living and working in a small rural community in the desert southwest, and helping to provide a welcoming and productive environment for tourists and lifelong learners.
2. Where can you connect with them?
Reaching a few people through dark-sky-communities.groups.io, but the Sky & Telescope classified ad that has run 2 out of 6 months so far has only brought one inquiry, and that person said they probably wouldn’t be interested until they reach retirement age in about 10 years. Is the pandemic mostly what is at fault, or something else? Will it be hard to move this project forward until after the pandemic is over?
3. What do you think you have to offer them?
A great view of the night sky every clear night, no worries about neighbors with bright lights, the opportunity to live in a rural community rather than in rural isolation or a light-polluted city, a supportive and nurturing environment.
4. Think about what outcomes you want in your community decision-making process.
Everyone involved with the project should feel that their voice is heard in how the community develops, is operated, and is sustained. No one should ever feel that they have been left out or ignored in the decision-making process.