I've left it all behind, moved out into the country (very rural 40 acres), avoided every possible HOA, building code, etc. I spend my days developing our homestead, and the systems and services that go into making it run, at the least possible cost, or the most possible savings. I'm an island of one, in a sea of rural acreage ... it's a vast improvement in many ways over the city and the 'burbs.
But, every once in a while, I think about those I've left behind ... family, friends ... all still stuck in that system. What to do about them? What to do about being on my island? My current homesteading friends and I find each other, for get-togethers and what-not, but we're *all* on islands separated by distance. We make it work, but it could be better ...
I'm not sure anyone else has really figured out the design of a homestead+permaculture subdivision (a gathering of like-minded folks) ... I can't find very many examples to go by, that scale to the numbers needed. Let's rethink everything ...
In 1.0, there's all kinds of things to hate, or to avoid, or to decry:
- "cookie-cutter" -ness: same home, 12 different "fronts" to the box, house builders' profit - sardines, cattle: packed in tight, due to codes, zoning, subdivision developers' profit - salary: designed to separate you from your salary, as *everything* costs more to buy, maintain, operate, and sell - taxation: thousands in the city or suburbs, still thousands in the rural area ... every year
- insult added to injury: HOA's ... folks deciding on your front yard, garage door color, "fines"
- no-community: because everyone leaves to work somewhere else, and commutes endlessly ... you wave to your neighbors in passing
- energy systems: no choice but to hook up to city-, or public-service- provided utilities ... all of which you can no longer afford
There's more, I just can't stand to think about them again ... you are welcome to tack on more, in your replies. Where is the subdivision of the (homestead+permaculture) future? My thoughts are:
A subdivision designed from the start, by some kind of planning organization (subdivision developer, group of like-minded folks acting as a developer, etc.), to provide a framework from which the homestead+permaculture effort can grow. It would have:
- lots designed for both H&P: it would be somewhat rural, with enough acreage in the center of each "lot" that you can do your homestead thing, and the periphery has enough acreage to do your permaculture thing. there is room to spread out, almost infinitely, within your chunk of acreage ... perhaps 5-acre to 40-acre "lots". Nobody is "on top" of the person right next to them ... they are a few acres away in any direction.
- HOA that enables, not blocks: an organization that promotes elements such as a.) each homestead is built with local or renewable materials, from the accepted alternative construction methods (cordwood, cob, earthbag, straw-bale, etc.); no builder cookie-cutter homes, unless the builder is also an alternative constructor. HOA deals with getting the building codes and zoning *out of the way*, versus enforcing colors and such. beauty and diversity is derived from each family doing their own thing, and all are combined into an "alternative construction" subdivision. Greenhouses everywhere, built in all kinds of diverse methods.
- dirt roads: no sea of asphalt, concrete curbs, sidewalks, etc. Connecting roads to services (clusters of homesteads to subdivision farmers market, get-together areas, etc.), trails that cross each homestead and/or permaculture area, so you can bike or walk to each other, not drive to each other.
- salary: mortgage-free methodology (take as many years as needed to end up mortgage-free), grow your own money (home businesses welcome). salary now measured not in how much you pay out just to survive, but how much you make over and above *zero*, because all your basics are covered by your homestead and permaculture efforts.
- community efforts: for police, fire, ems, and other services ... a cordwood-inspired recycling center is the centerpiece of the subdivision, not a mc-swimming-pool or mc-golf-course; the center has a common area large enough to (cook in, recycle in, do other projects in). A straw-bale constructed equestrian center, where horsepower takes on new meaning ... everyone shares horses for riding, working, etc. A cob firestation, where you get the fire-wagon if something is burning and needs putting out. take someone to the same station for centralized medical assistance *right now* (a problem in rural areas), vs waiting a half-hour or more for an ambulance. Everyone is cross-trained in everything.
- energy systems: everyone shares water, power, waste services. need more power than your own homestead generates ... check out of the "library" and trundle over a common generator, bring it back when done. along with the other check-out items (sawmill, chainsaw, tractor, etc.) Drinking water is hauled, and distributed in smaller increments, out to every homestead ... this is nothing, as all other water needs are served by rainwater collection, ponds and other water features. waste is reduced, composted, and if anything is left over, a common septic system or other treatment facility handles it.
- taxation: reduced for everyone, because the governing authorities recognize you are reducing costs just by being in such a neighborhood, and you aren't using as much resources as those in "wasteful" subdivisions. There isn't a race to the bottom to build the biggest house, the most costliest methods, etc., all of which drive up tax burdens. a tiny home is enough, or any other small structure.
Subdivision of "Right-Now"
The above are just theoretical musings to the problems I left behind, but I think of these because they can be applied right now to either of these scenarios:
1. A clean-slate Homestead+Permaculture "subdivision developer" could implement pretty much everything above, from the start.
2. In my own existing "subdivision", which is a collection of independent 40-acre or larger "lots". We have dirt roads, no HOA, and such. Like-minded neighbors purchase a nearby lot, and then they and I get together and implement pretty much everything I've listed above. As more like-minded folks come in, the existing subdivision is converted.
I'm guessing that either of these scenarios would cover most others, if you are rural-leaning. Either you are in a subdivision of acreage islands (like mine), or there is a large enough chunk of land such that it could be offered/suggested to a H+P developer, who would get their profit with a list of signed-up, deposit-paying folks in hand.
That's enough musing from me ... what do you think? Muse away ...
Personally the land is owned collectively, at some point. The homes are clustered as stated, or attached what I need to do because of a conservation easement. The common utilities (a RO system with UV filtration is what I have - gravity feed backup (need a Berkley wallet filter in case of an emergency)). I’m looking at an all power labs power pallet (need the money for it and also building a more bullet proof/tight/energy efficient home as opposed to the flog home I’m in. That provides heat for sanitizer ion, the greenhouse, barns, food prep facility.
Have a division of labor and responsibilities with collaboration for times when extra help is needed. Whomever is in charge of an area earns a bonus for their departments profit (maintaining a connection to the current system and yet able to detach if the wheels fall off).
It is like sheep herders in Peru, 25 of them, coming together and running one flock, and going from a system that caused land degradation to improvement.
Anyway, yup it would be harder to get the right people involved in that system… but once the first farm community is up and running and profitable, divide the farm at some point and move half (or the apprentices to another location to grow your ability to produce food and sell it in traditional channels, if you can/want). The land acts as a retirement fund and once one attains an age where they slow down others can fill in and work towards taking their place and providing them with a retirement stream as they are bought out over time.
I hope the world doesn’t go bat poop crazy and traveling the world and seeing wonders at times is still something. While deeply spiritual (and having that be a part of any community is important to me) I still would like to venture and be in AWE of gods creation and share my love (as long as I can maintain that space) with all I come in contact with.
This topic brings back some memories from 3 or 4yrs ago:
About 50 house with an avg of 4 people.
We can think of this as a 1 mile road with 25house on each side.
Behind each person house would be the greater subdivision land/farm/forest/etc.
If someone is really into cattle/farming/etc they could manage 10acres or 100acres and then sell the excess, maybe hire some people
Each house will provide a service, but the main services will be.
Dictator/Village Chief/Judge/Wealth Manager/Banker
The Expert that run the village biz.
The scribe/clerk/record keeper
The Merchant (new money)
The Communication (Post Office/Internet/etc)
Jack of all trade fixer upper/uber guy
The Black Sheep, that everyone talks about shaking their head.
I would like everyone household to have
House (1st floor workshop/store front, 2nd Floor living quarters)
Greenhouse, Herbs, FruitTrees, Nuts, Mushroom, Tubers, BeeHive, Pond with fish
Cistern(RainWater, spring, well), GreyWater System, Rocket Stove/Oven/Heater, Solar Panel
Hybrid Learning (Unschooling/Distant Leaving/Online Learning/Play-Project Groups)
Main Transport Electric Bike/Walk
I want folks to spend 12 of their 16 waking hours doing stupid stuff (hobbies/sports/fights/gossiping/TV/Book/new random skill)
And only 4hours going work/school.
Clothing, communication, and other consumables would probably have to be imported, so the village will have to collectively 'export' something.
I am not too sure what the village could export?
Eco-Tourism, Be educators, be creators/inventors, entertainers (books, spoken word, songs, game-creators) Online Translation Service/Remote Coder/Helpdesk?
I wonder what public works project we could do?
Roads, Swales, Reforestation, Bio-char, Research, Stocking the ponds/lakes/forest so that we can wild harvest later.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
If you took 12 of the above village (50houses) you could then build up a town of 640house
You can think of each of the village as a block/road.
1 sq mile sub-divisions (640acres = 25acre X 25 acre square aka 640house = 2560people)
Each block will have 25 houses on each side of the road, with a perpendicular alley-road after every 12houses.
There would be a town center that is about 9 acre, with the following :
1 Library/MakerSpace (CNC router/3d Printer/etc)
1 Post Office (Dropoff-Pickup Center, Telecom Towers)
1 school (preK-elementary-middle-high-college campus)
1 acre pond (100 bass, 500 bluegill, 100 channel catfish, 5-10lbs Fathead Minnow (to establish forage base)
1 Emergency service (clinic/ambulance, police, firefighter/rescue)
1 church/Emergency Shelter 1 strip mall-services (restaurant, lounge, meeting space, office space, motel, spa)
1 strip mall-goods (retail, garage, electronic, etc)
Surrounding this 1sq mile town would be, the town farm/forest (maybe 3,000 acres+) So people would walk 20minutes or maybe bike 5minutes to the community farm. If someone is really into managing say 100acres of it they could even get a lease to run an enterprise hiring a few folks to help them.
Key design elements:
streets = east/west, 20' wide w/ no parking on streets, reduced pavement for reduced heat gain
homes = north/south, passive & active solar
Village Homes is a seventy-acre subdivision located in the west part of Davis, California. It was designed to encourage both the development of a sense of community and the conservation of energy and natural resources. The principal designer was Mike Corbett. Construction on the neighborhood began in the fall of 1975, and construction continued from south to north through the 1980s, involving many different architects and contractors. The completed development includes 225 homes and 20 apartment units.
A number of design features help Village Homes residents live in an energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner:
Orientation — All streets trend east-west and all lots are oriented north-south. This orientation (which has become standard practice in Davis and elsewhere) helps the houses with passive solar designs make full use of the sun's energy.
Street Width — Our roads are all narrow, curving cul-de-sacs; they are less than twenty-five feet wide and generally aren't bordered by sidewalks. Their narrow widths minimize the amount of pavement exposed to sun in the long, hot summers. The curving lines of the roads give them the look of village lanes, and the few cars that venture into the cul-de-sacs usually travel slowly.
Pedestrian/Bike Paths and Common Areas — Alternating with the streets is an extensive system of pedestrian/bike paths, running through common areas that exhibit a variety of landscaping, garden areas, play structures, statuary, and so on. Most houses face these common areas rather than the streets, so that emphasis in the village is on pedestrian and bike travel rather than cars.
Natural Drainage — The common areas also contain Village Homes' innovative natural drainage system, a network of creek beds, swales, and pond areas that allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground rather than carried away through storm drains. Besides helping to store moisture in the soil, this system provides a visually interesting backdrop for landscape design.
Edible Landscaping — Fruit and nut trees and vineyards form a large element of the landscaping in Village Homes and contribute significantly to the provender of residents. More than thirty varieties of fruit trees were originally planted, and as a result some fruit is ripe and ready to eat nearly every month of the year.
Open Land — In addition to the common areas between homes, Village Homes also includes two big parks, extensive greenbelts with pedestrian/bike paths, two vineyards, several orchards, and two large common gardening areas. The commonly owned open land comes to 40 percent of the total acreage (25 percent in greenbelts and 15 percent in common areas), a much greater proportion than in most suburban developments. Thirteen percent of the developed land area is devoted to streets and parking bays, and the remaining 47 percent to private lots, which generally include an enclosed private yard or courtyard on the street side of the house.
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