Assaf Koss wrote:
The solution I offer for discussion, is having a design that is agreed upon, by all those who wish to join the community.
I think one major aspect to consider is the initiation of a community project. If there is no community, then how do you wrangle a herd of people into the commitment and discussion stage for discussing the design? On the other hand, if you do have an existing community, then newcomers who want input on the design will be highly disruptive to all that has been accomplished. Another issue is that if a guy has a certain amount of land, and wants to be the "founder" and start a community on HIS land, you will have the difficulty of a guy not wanting to give up control to the hoard that is moving into HIS space and using HIS resources.
The model I envision would be a small group of Founders who hash out a basic plan, then pitch the idea to private *investors and prospective residents simultaneously. The investors would want to know there is significant interest. The prospective residents would need to know this project will be funded and will become a reality. Residents would have to "purchase" their land in some fashion (lifetime lease, control rights over a designated piece of land by way of contract, ownership shares in an LLC or Trust, etc.), and those combined purchase prices should pay for most (if not all) of the real estate for the community. This process of selling all the resident spots will be slow, and might straggle out 2-5 years, so you get investors to front the whole amount needed to launch it properly and buy the land and build the infrastructure. The investor gets paid as each homestead gets sold, the community launches essentially debt free, and everyone focuses on getting their own stuff in order. The hope is that "if you build it, they will come". People want a "sure thing", a functioning project, security to know they aren't going to buy in and have the thing go bankrupt.
[* private investors are NOT "loaning" you money! You are not seeking a bank loan, or getting trapped in the debt slavery system with interest and monthly payments! Investors are buying in, and taking an ownership interest until they are bought out by way of residents buying in. Investors get paid as the money comes in. NO clause for foreclosure if a monthly payment cannot be made, etc.]
On the leadership issue: There is a big difference between a "leader" and a "ruler". Perhaps make sure the Leader is actually an office filled by someone (or a group of 3-5 someones) selected by the residents from among the residents. The holders of this office should be easily replaced. And never convey "power" to this office. Replace anyone who shows any signs of wanting to be a Ruler. The Leadership office should remain an administrative function, merely a point of contact so outsiders have a face and a name to deal with, and residents have a contact person who "knows what's going on" so problems, issues, and discussions can be brought to a central place. Someone to handle coordination of projects and ideas and handle paperwork and project a unified vision and goal.
I think if a person actually "owned" a piece of land in the community, and were fully and completely responsible for building their own house and developing their own homestead, you would automatically attract only the right kind of people. Having private property in this manner leads to an automatic respect for other people's rights and autonomy/independence. Exchanges between people are then voluntary, and a free market based on fair exchange can develop to everyone's benefit. I think this leads to supporting the original posters main point:
The design will be similar to a standard Permaculture design of a property, only it will expand over the entire land of the community, and put emphasis on how the different lots (houses) interact, while remaining independent entities.
If a guy can buy an acre for under $5k, and roll in with an $800 RV he bought off craigslist, you have achieved affordability and an instant functional population. Recycle the old RV's as people build, and sell them to new incoming residents.
Call the residents "Stewards" and show them how their land interacts with their neighbor's land in the grand Permaculture Design for the whole community, and set the interaction rules accordingly..