New book - 'Building a Better World in Your Backyard' - on Kickstarter (sponsored friend)
Walden Ecovillage/the Community
"The intrinsic value we seek to achieve is eudaemonia: happiness or well-being. A better word to describe such a state of living is exuberance or excelsior; it is an active, not a passive, process of perfecting our talents, needs, and wants.
The end or goal of life is to live fully and creatively, sharing with others the many opportunities for joyful experience and moral conduct. The meaning of life is not to be discovered only after death in some hidden, mysterious realm. ...it can be found by eating the succulent fruit of the Tree of Life and by living in the here and now as fully and creatively as we can."
- 1 Ethics
- 2 Individual Freedom & Community
- 3 Companionship
- 4 Physical Pleasure
- 5 Engagement vs. Withdrawal
- 6 Personal Privacy
- 7 Our Children
- 8 Walden Socialization Curriculum
- 9 Health and Medical Care
- 10 Naturism & Nudity
- 11 Private & Personal Property
- 12 Membership
- 13 Work
- 14 Member Compensation
- 15 Other Designations Compensation
- 16 Vacations & Travel
- 17 Leisure
- 18 Free Time
- 19 Legal Structure
- 20 Organizational Structure & Process
- 21 Walden Group
- 22 Walden Ecoversity
- 23 Ecovillage Governance
- 24 Land and Space
- 25 Infrastructure
- 26 Discuss the content on this page
Secular Humanist ethics is based on the proposition that ethical conduct is determined by applying critical reason to decision-making; this is true for individual behavior as well as for collective actions. Because of this 'rational imperative', all known facts must be logically considered and, Cēterīs paribus, the more facts that are known, the more likely an ethical decision will result.
"A new, realistic moral science is the need of the day, a science as free from superstition, religious dogmatism, and metaphysical mythology as modern cosmogony and philosophy already are, and permeated at the same time with these higher feelings and brighter hopes which are inspired by the modern knowledge of man and his history, this is what humanity is persistently demanding.” Peter Kropotkin
We assume that ethically planned social systems are more likely to result in an improved quality of life over that engendered by social systems that are produced by historical accident, superstition, and momentary convenience. Subjective, intuitive and revelational sources are unreliable (with respect to objective reality) and are more likely to result in illinformed and unethical decisions. Additionally, a growing body of empirical evidence supports a negative correlation between religiosity (household and cultural) and the prosocial behavior and morality of children (Decety et al., 2015).
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.” Arthur C. Clarke
The scientific method is the only reliable way to establish facts (objective reality), so critical reasoning and the scientific method are the only means to determining right or ethical behavior. It is our contention that a culture built on the principals and practices associated with Scientism, Humanism, Behaviorism, Cultural Materialism and Systems Theory (e.g. Cybernetics) will result in an ethically sound and dynamic social system.
"The theoretical principles of cultural materialism rest on the assumption that certain categories of responses are important to the survival and well-being of human individuals and that it is possible to identify among such responses more and less efficient means of achieving an individual’s survival and well-being.
This assumption lies at the basis of the “costing” of alternative patterns of behavior which in turn is essential for identifying optimizing behavior and the development of materialist theories of sociocultural evolution.”Marvin Harris, 1991
Additionally, because of the increasingly improved representation of objective reality (biological, social etc.) and the ever more ethical set of premises from which new arguments and decisions are made, we will endlessly improve the very environment that fosters our increasingly more ethical behavior; we will have designed a positive feedback loop for ethical cultural evolution.
Walden’s cultural design is grounded in this rational strategy. It will deliver successive approximations to an accurate depiction of reality (truth) that, not only provides for a more efficient and effective milieu, it also contributes real-world data to the social engineering literature on strategies to shape informed, autonomous and ethical individuals who are committed to social and environmental justice.
Individual Freedom & Community
"(Communism) ...is the best basis for individual development and freedom; not that individualism which drives man to the war of each against all- this is the only one known up till now—but that which represents the full expansion of man’s faculties, the superior development of what is original in him, the greatest fruitfulness of intelligence, feeling and will.”
Both individual freedom and the welfare of the community are paramount at Walden. The historical debate over the 'conflicting interests' of the individual and the community is extensive and well beyond the scope of this discussion. However, like the Anarchist quotes here (above and below) suggest, there are valid arguments that challenge the validity of this view.
"... the only liberty worthy of the name, the liberty which implies the full development of all the material, intellectual, and moral capacities latent in every one of us; the liberty which knows no other restrictions but those set by the laws of our own nature. Consequently there are, properly speaking, no restrictions, since these laws are not imposed upon us by any legislator from outside, alongside, or above ourselves.
These laws are subjective, inherent in ourselves; they constitute the very basis of our being. Instead of seeking to curtail them, we should see in them the real condition and the effective cause of our liberty—that liberty of each man which does not find another man’s freedom a boundary but a confirmation and vast extension of his own; liberty through solidarity, in equality." Michael Bakunin
For a comprehensive dialectical challenge to the validity of these arguments see The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism by John P. Clark. Bertrand Russell's Proposed Roads to Freedom challenges from the perspective of Analytic Philosophy, and many of B. F. Skinner's works challenge from the behavioral science perspective, most notably: Walden 2; Beyond Freedom and Dignity; and Contingencies of Reinforcement.
We agree that individual freedom cannot be achieved without others: without community. And because...
"No society is possible without certain principles of morality generally recognised." Peter Kropotkin
...a few limits on individual freedom are necessary. The most noteworthy of those limitations is on violence: violence against other people and violence against the community.
"If everybody grew accustomed to deceive his fellow-men; if we never could rely on each other's promise and words; if everybody treated his fellow as an enemy, against whom every means of warfare is justifiable- no society could exist." Peter Kropotkin
Our Mission (to create a community model that optimizes individual freedom) forces us to be extremely cautious about establishing rules and practices (contingencies) that encroach on liberty (except for a prohibition on violence). Communards can be assured that, within a Sociocracy, not only are all affected stakeholders involved in decisions that involve their liberty, it is also the case that all communards, including the 'designers' are subject to the same contingencies.
"Built into the structure of any equitable group must be the fundamental requirement that the rulers be subject to the same contingencies as the ruled- indeed, that there be no such distinction as ruler vs. ruled” E. F. Segal
At Walden, there are no "rulers and the ruled"; we govern ourselves by Consent. We establish, and agree to live by, a particular set of cultural contingencies that can evolve as needs warrant. Our ethics, socio-political structure and processes, Vision, Mission, Goals and Values all work to both empower the individual and strengthen the community.
Optimal Individual Freedom for All
"And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Kahlil Gibran
As a community, we hold interpersonal intimacy (as well as art and ecological intimacy) as a primary means of experiencing ‘spirituality’ and achieving individual and collective happiness. We are interested in supporting everyone in their quest for reciprocal human connections, and toward that end, will avoid promoting any preferences or biases regarding adult-adult interpersonal relations and sexual practices. Emotional and physical intimacy between majority aged members therefore, is to be worked out between the parties involved. As a private matter, they are generally not subject to public scrutiny. General Humanist guidelines for ethical behavior represent the only caveat; members will behave with integrity and strive to treat each other with kindness, compassion and respect.
"The principles of hedonism, utilitarianism and adaptation were not wrong, they were simply not precise” B. F. Skinner (1969)
Sensual pleasure is essential to the good life. It is spiritual, and will be prioritized as such at Walden.
The hedonist informs us about both the tendency of humans to pursue pleasurable and avoid painful stimuli, and the ethics associated with those tendencies. Despite criticisms of the approach, it could be argued that any possibility for the good life includes the opportunity to respond in line with these contingencies.
Other Eastern traditions, most notably ancient Greek Philosophy, Buddhism and Hinduism, contribute greatly to both our understanding about the value of pleasure in life, as well as the path and means to experience pleasure.
Despite certain 'problems' with the Hindu doctrine (e.g. mysticism, dualism, cognitivism, genderism and a caste system), we appreciate much of what Puruṣārtha and (more specific to this discussion) Kāma and the Kāmashastra texts offers our community in its quest for the good life. We have incorporated much of the Puruṣārtha (as well as our criticisms and adaptations) into Walden's Right Living program.
"To know when you have enough is to be rich beyond measure." Lao Tzu
"Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” Epicurus
Our appreciation for balance, moderation and love, in the pursuit of pleasure (and in life generally), is also consonant with the Eastern traditions. So, our approach to pleasure will be something like:
"almost, All Things Pleasurable- in moderation”
Culinary Pleasures: It is our intention to become world renowned for the quality of our multicultural culinary offerings. Home-grown organic produce, meats, spices and artistic presentation will be combined to create a variety of local and ethnic dishes from all over the world for members and guests.
Physical Contact and Sex: By embracing ancient and modern techniques, massage and a healthy appreciation of the human body, we will welcome nudity, physical contact and sex into the sphere of acceptable- even revered, human activities.
Movement: A variety of physical activities including dance, exercise, sports, yoga and other non-violent eastern arts will be promoted to advance health, art and spirituality (non-mystical).
Concentration Induced Euphoria: Meditation will be taught and encouraged to facilitate relaxation, peace and strength of mind and euphoric states.
Substance Induced Euphoria: Because we support a rational drug policy we have developed a ‘risk to the community vs. freedom for the individual’ scheme to inform the community’s stand on specific substances. However, we prefer, as much as possible, to avoid involving ourselves with the choices that individual community members make regarding their private use of substances to create physically pleasing and sensual states.
We intend to engage in the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages, however, we will avoid community involvement in the manufacture, cultivation and procurement of controlled or prohibited substances (as determined by local law).
Engagement vs. Withdrawal
"We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”
the Dalai Lama
It is often the case that life within Intentional Communities involves a certain amount of isolation from the outside world, while within community relationships are intensified; in many cases this is by design (e.g. the Amish). Separation from the outside world influences community life in many ways, including (but certainly not limited to) the adverse effects on individual members that are associated with trying (with varying degrees of success) to meet their numerous and varied spiritual or intimacy needs (that change over time) within a small, relatively static group of people. The Walden model is designed to ameliorate these limitations.
Our success as Social Entrepreneurs and Activists is predicated on our ability to develop and nurture multifarious relations with, and serve the broader society. It demands that we engage the world community on all fronts: individually, socially, culturally, aesthetically, economically and intellectually.
Additionally, because our community is organized around a farm-based Ecoversity, a wellness resort and numerous ancillary businesses, we will definitely find ourselves involved with many ‘outsiders’ who increase the size and diversity of the pool from which we can enjoy companionship. These include: our guests, clients, allies, students, the beneficiaries of our philanthropic activities and people from the surrounding communities with whom we will trade and engage socially through our Eupraxsophy Center and cultural events.
"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” Henry David Thureau
Privacy is paramount at Walden and will be supported by physical infrastructure, cultural design and practices (Infrastructural, Structural and Superstructural).
There are times when everyone prefers to be alone, away from the 'watchful eye' of the community; some intentional community members have complained about feeling as though they are "living in a glass bowl". In light of the liberal access to our community that outsiders will have, factors related to 'living at work' and the heightened intimacy between members that is typical of intentional communities, it will be very important for each of us to have sufficient personal space and the time to experience varying levels of privacy when it’s desired.
"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” Arthur Schopenhauer
The primary means for attaining privacy is through access to individual private quarters (PQs). Every community member will be provided PQs, that can be used and decorated as desired. Members will also be able to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the more remote areas of our land, for short-term retreats, by accessing the campsites and dwellings (cabins etc.) that we build primarily for Resort Guests and forest management crews.
We consider the privacy, liberty, security and autonomy that PQs provide, to be a modern human right, and as such will hold without regard to a member’s relationship status with others. Members ‘in relationships’ (lovers, married, polyamorous etc.) can ‘live together’ (multiple sleep-overs) if they desire to, but each Member will always retain access to their own PQs.
Free time (See Leisure Time vs. Free Time) constitutes 2/3 of each day and is the Members opportunity to disappear on-site or off-grounds. Community funded vacations and 'business junkets' will provide opportunities for members to experience extended periods of time away from the community (See Vacations & Travel): as we are in the business of tourism, we will eventually acquire seaside, mountain and other ‘vacation’ type properties (around the world) and these will be available to Members as well.
"Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. ...Considering how long society has been at it, you'd expect a better job. But the campaigns have been badly planned and the victory has never been secured.” B. F. Skinner
The society, within which a child lives, determines the kinds of experiences she will have, and that experience shapes both her future and the future of her culture. As a society, we have a responsibility to both the child and our culture, to make every possible effort, to ensure that all childhood experiences align with our Values and Vision for the future. In light of the gravity of this responsibility, we have developed a strategy to increase the likelihood that we will successfully serve both the short and long-term interests of each and every child and our culture.
By providing each Member with PQs and placing responsibility for child-rearing in the hands of childcare professionals and the educated Walden community- which may include the biological parents, we have dissolved the nuclear family. As a side note: some Members are discussing the possibility of developing a Children's Home, in which case the biological parents would not be community Members.
The communal raising of children is, at the same time, one of the most controversial and one of the most important aspects of our social structure: for both the individual child and the long-term success of our community. *An elaboration of the structure and reasoning for this community feature is forthcoming.
Educating Walden's Children
Our children will be immersed in a comprehensive community-based educational experience, that will develop the capabilities, skills, compassion and passion necessary for individual autonomy and happiness, and for contributing to the quality of our culture and the execution of our Mission.
The educational experience necessary to accomplish these lofty goals includes curricula, pedagogy and cultural support to develop the competency requirements for citizens of any knowledge society plus the unique contributions of the WSC. Music, art (in all of its forms), and traditional crafts are high on the educational agenda as well. These activities, described elsewhere as Leisure, are vital to the quality of a child's life, so children will have access to those same resources as adult Members.
Because our children will experience this comprehensive education via 'Best Practices' instructional methods, within the context of our educated community and Farm School, they will have fun, learn quickly and subsequently develop a love of learning.
Walden Socialization Curriculum
"Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The Socialization process at Walden (WSC) is designed to facilitate the expeditious acquisition of the knowledge, skills and behaviors related to our community structure and our Right Living program. Our intention is to shape-up those basic factors that are necessary for individual efficacy and happiness, and for the functional success of our community.
The WSC is comprised of didactic instruction, programmed instruction, experiential learning and practical application of new learning. The curriculum will be designed by learning facilitators (experts in learning theory) from the Ecoversity. As much as possible, the student's daily work activity will be tied to their current place in the curriculum.
Instruction begins when an Ally (new volunteer) enters our milieu and continues until full Membership is acquired. Membership designations, in fact, represent the individual's current level of progress through the curriculum. Everyone, children as well as adults, by virtue of access to this curriculum, the resort amenities, and the therapeutic milieu within which it is experienced, will contribute to and benefit from the common experience.
The WSC contains information about every topic addressed on this website (in more detail of course), but only to the level necessary to function as an efficacious community member; it is not intended to make experts in every field of every Member. People will naturally migrate toward activities that are most reinforcing (to them) and that's where they will build expertise.
- Right Living
- Cultural Materialism
- Political Processes
- Secular Humanism
- Anarchist Communism
- The scientific method
- Applied & Basic Research
- Inductive & Deductive methods
- Logic and reasoning
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Organizational Behavior Management
- Child Development
- Holistic Management
Right Living: Physical and Psychological Well-being
Our approach to the good life starts with good health: mental and physical. Good health begins with establishing resilience, is maintained by a wholesome diet and a healthy life-style and is put back on track (when problems occur) by appropriate interventions.
Walden's Right Living program is a comprehensive, evidenced-based wellness program for Members, Students and Resort Guests. As an essential part of the WSC, the program will educate nascent Members about the Walden life-style and put them on the road to good health.
As the Right Living program is the province of the Wellness Resort, a more detailed description can be found on the Resort Page [].
Socialization or Brainwashing?
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” Albert Einstein
The WSC is not about changing the metaphysical stance of prospective Members, nor is it about interfering with intellectual autonomy. As a self-selected group of Naturalists, we need little convincing about the value of the scientific world view, and it's only by promoting intellectual autonomy that Walden will develop in the direction we desire.
The WSC is about building a strong cohesive culture around our existing, commonly held, Scientific (and Humanistic) orientation. To that end, the WSC will familiarize everyone with our organizational framework and processes, and it will establish a common language; it will get us working together from the same page(s): and those pages will necessarily undergo continuous revision as we evolve.
Health and Medical Care
"The aim of medicine is to prevent disease and prolong life, the ideal of medicine is to eliminate the need of a physician.” William Mayo
The primary focus of our approach to health and medical care is prevention. This tact is by far, the most compassionate, efficacious and cost effective. Our primary prevention tools include: practicing environmental safety; mandating that everyone participate in farming; the Right Living Program (by outlining a community-wide approach to healthful living); and our Medical Clinic (by providing preventative medical services).
Health Care: Clinic & Staff
We intend to establish an on-site medical clinic that will, like our other businesses, provide services to both Walden and the outside community. It is likely however, that we will still require access to medical facilities (hospital) outside the community for care that we cannot provide.
We will recruit health care professionals, including Medical Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Dentists and the like, to join our community. Ideally, our medical staff will establish working relationships with local hospitals and other medical service providers.
Empirically validated and best-practices medical treatments will be practiced over those proffered by alternative medicine. This stance does not prevent appropriate and ethical experimentation; it does however, eliminate the wholesale adoption of systems and practices that are based on unfounded belief/faith and pseudoscience. For example, it would be perfectly appropriate for us to empirically test the tenets associated with Chi-based massage.
Our bias against alternative medicine is solely based on a preference for science-based treatments; it is not, for example, due to some affinity for the pharmaceutical industry. We are astutely aware of the motives and inhumane practices of big pharma, as well as their political influence and the effects of that influence on the general Western zeitgeist.
Our Mission compels us to jump into this fray. So, we will participate in the development and empirical testing of plant-based medicines (Botanicals, Phytotherapy). We will incorporate medicinal plants into our farming operations, and the Ecoversity will be responsible for processing and empirically testing (for safety and efficacy) the claims for these treatments (already on the market). We will publish those results, and develop for market any remedies that prove safe and effective.
Environmental Health & Safety
"To the extent that health and safety problems are caused by humans, they can be managed by humans.”
The responsibility for Environmental Health and Safety at Walden, lies with every person in our Ecovillage; general guidelines are part of the Right Living curriculum. The Ecoversity is responsible for development, oversight, and management of environmental health and safety programs that protect the environment and provide safe and healthy conditions for work, study and life at Walden. It will provide fire & life safety support, educational programs, technical assistance, and health and safety services to the community.
The business management arm of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), has a long and rich history of contribution to this critical organizational function. ...more coming
Naturism & Nudity
"And the weaver said, Speak to us of Clothes. And he answered: Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful. And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy, you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your body and less of your raiment. For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, "It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear." And I say, Ay, it was the north wind. But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread. And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean. And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind? And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Kahlil Gibran, The Profit
As we discussed in Physical Pleasure, our intention is to bring "physical contact, nudity and sexual behavior back into the sphere of acceptable- even revered, human activities". The human body is as natural as any other part of nature and will be treated as such. We will celebrate all of nature with infrastructural, structural and superstructural practices.
We will accommodate naturist members by providing clothing optional areas and residences (perhaps Hamlets); common areas and recreational facilities can be reserved for clothing optional activities; we can host naturist events, etc.; we’ll promote a healthy appreciation of the human body through our Socialization process and superstructural practices. However, because it might interfere with executing our Mission, we are not embracing the naturist lifestyle wholesale; we are not a Nudist Colony or ‘Naturist Community’ per se.
Private & Personal Property
"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.
You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.” Karl Marx
The historical and contemporary debate over property ownership (Private and Personal) within the Anarchist,Communist and Socialist literature, and the relationship between property ownership and both societal ills (E.g. classism, domination, property crime etc.) and individual freedom, is extensive, controversial and beyond the scope of this discussion.
Our discussions however, have been a bit less contentious, because we've not been discussing Private Property; as Anarcho-Communists, we've taken 'the abolition of Private Property' as a given.
We have been discussing the effects of Personal Property ownership on the social fabric of our community, and the effects on individual liberty of preventing ownership. At this point we've decided that if we can provide for the needs of our members, and everyone shares equally in the distribution of our resources, then many of the philosophical and practical concerns about limiting individual freedom are somewhat mitigated (admittedly, this explanation is an over-simplification).
Therefore, we've decided that we should start from a sort of middle ground and allow for personal property, but to limit the value of those things possessed. We, as a community, will undoubtedly revisit this issue on an ongoing basis.
"Communism deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the fruits of his labour. The only thing it deprives him of is the ability to enslave others by means of such appropriations.” Karl Marx
With the exception of 'Personal Property' (Eg. clothing, knick-knacks, pictures and possibly furniture- items valued <$100?) and a Community Funded Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for each member, there will be no ‘Privately Held Property’ at Walden. Members will not own, keep or bring any property of value (perhaps >$100) to Walden except that which they intend to donate to the community. Usage and care-taking are the explanatory concepts for our relationship with land and the other ‘things’ that make life safe, pleasurable and convenient.
In anticipation of membership, individuals will place all of their assets of value in trust, outside the community and beyond their casual reach. It might be possible for vacationing members to access those resources when they are without the community, but knowledge of any privately held assets of value or the use there of, will not become part of the Walden Community experience.
Members will neither bring debt to Walden nor incur new individual debt while at Walden; an individual plan will be co-designed to facilitate debt relief prior to obtaining full membership.
The terms ‘Membership’ and 'Member' describe the relationship, and designate the reciprocal obligations and benefits between an individual volunteer and Walden Ecoversity; it is a contract. As such, it will serve to protect both parties from the unintended consequences generally associated with uninformed commitments. The specifics of the ‘Member’ designation will be worked out by the founding group with assistance from legal experts and will likely contain some of the following features.
Levels of Membership: It’s likely that there will be several levels of membership that vary with regard to financial cost to the individual; responsibility to the community (mandated obligations); ability to participate in the structural activities of the community (governing); and access to community resources (remuneration, vacations etc.).
Despite the fact that these designations fulfill the criterion for a social hierarchy, they are not meant to establish an elite ruling group (Members) and subordinate groups (I.e. Student, Ally, Newbie and Provisional Member). Prudence dictates however, that we manage some sort of a step-wise membership process.
To mediate against the possibility of significant power differentials between groups: all groups will be empowered to management themselves; all Member designation and stakeholder groups will be represented on governing boards (See Organizational Structure); and extreme care will be taken to ensure that everyone- without regard to designation, is treated ethically.
- paying customers of the Resort or the other businesses
- non-matriculated students and workshop attendees
- non-paying invitees including short stay communards from other ecovillages
- matriculated students attending the Ecoversity
- a 30 day minimum designation- then consider membership track
- includes Woofers and other new volunteers
- a 60 day minimum designation
- In order to screen-out people with a documented history of violence, we are considering the advantages and disadvantages of requiring a Criminal Records Report from persons desiring to become Members
- of course this requirement will not identify people whose violent history has not been documented
- we are not necessarily concerned about criminal histories that include 'victimless crimes'.
- Provisional Member
- a 90 day minimum designation
- a 30 day ‘Apprenticeship’ period for office holding may apply
Movement from one designation to another (toward full Membership) will be determined by at least three factors:
- knowledge acquisition of community principles and practices: the Walden Socialization Curriculum (WSC)
- practicum- some number of consecutive days of acceptable participation in (technical and social) community activities
- a vote: the opinion of both the prospective member and of others who have regular contact with the individual
Movement in the opposite direction (away from full Membership), as well as outright expulsion from the community (e.g. committing an act of violence), will also be possible should an individual violate their current agreement (related to their status). The details, associated with this course of community action, will be worked out by the founding group with advice from legal experts; all contracts, guidelines and actions will be informed by our community ethics and principles.
"There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness." Gelett Burgess
There is extensive behavioral literature on the strategies and value of making work a pleasurable and rewarding experience. These empirically derived practices will be thoughtfully employed to every work-related activity Walden Members perform.
It is also the case, that many writers (e.g. Skinner, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Marx, Russell and Gilbert- and more) champion the lifestyle that includes variety, leisure and a combination of manual and intellectual activities. Toward that end, and for the benefit of the individual and the community, members will contribute eight hours each day to a wide range of productive activities in exchange for access to an equal share of all the products and amenities the community network has to offer.
Equally important, is that every member becomes familiar with our version of ecological farming and participate on a regular basis in the cultivation and harvesting of our food; some days the Member's job will be farming. This requirement is not solely based on the demands associated with food self-sufficiency. Farming is also about fresh air and exercise and setting the pace for life. This earth-based work will ground, and keep us securely tethered to the land and the principles that support our version of well being.
This total individual contribution is achieved by combining time allotments from three different areas of community need: four hours from infrastructural activities (a job); two hours from structural activities (government); and two hours from superstructural activities (leisure: art, crafts, science, philosophy etc.).
Selecting & Scheduling Productive Activities
Given that we are going to arrange the contingencies so that everyone will engage in a predetermined amount of productive activity, it becomes paramount that we ensure flexibility and options with regard to the what, where, and when of those performance requirements.
Some responsibilities or certain tasks associated with a particular job might, by its nature, mandate that it be performed at a certain time or by a specific number of members (e.g. preparing meals, harvesting crops etc.), so for those incidences, different contingencies will apply. However, wherever and whenever possible open scheduling of some sort will be employed and individual preferences will be respected.
A member’s preferences, passions and particular skill set will of course influence the choice of a ‘Primary occupation' (specialization); this is how the Member will spend the majority of their infrastructural productive time. Members will be encouraged to continuously develop expertise in their primary field.
As much as possible however, members will be encouraged to experience a variety of occupations; we want to create a 'Community of Generalists': perhaps 'Generalizing Specialists' is more apt. This community preference will not only increase the functional utility of each Member, it will also increase our (individual and collective) capacity for innovation.
The 8 hours per day commitment will not necessarily have to be performed each day. For example, it will be possible for Members to contribute more than 8 hours on some days in order to have partial work days, free days or additional Vacation Time. We will use Vacation Time, not only to manipulate the relative reinforcement value of certain tasks, we will also use it as compensation for Infrastructural and Structural contributions that exceed the basic requirements.
Finally, no bias for daytime hours will be supported at Walden. There are twenty-four hours in a day and as broadly as it can be applied, each hour can be used for productive time.
"All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure of their strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one's part in the production of the world's wealth.
...All is for all! If the man and the woman bear their fair share of work, they have a right to their fair share of all that is produced by all, and that share is enough to secure them well-being." Peter Kropotkin
Remuneration for an individual's contribution to our common effort will vary with Membership designation, and will take several forms. For Members however, we will all have equal access to available resources and amenities. We intend to develop the capacity to provide everything that's necessary and desirable for living a safe and comfortable contemporary existence.
Members, by way of controlling the budget and expenditures, will decide the what and when of purchases and infrastructural investments. The process, by which these decisions are made, will include provisions (like wish-lists etc.) for eventually accommodating everyone's needs.
As was discussed in 'Personal Property', we want to avoid the negative consequences to Walden's social fabric associated with capital (accumulated wealth). We have argued that the IRA stipend, because it is inaccessible unless the Member leaves the community, poses no threat to Walden and it supports the notion of voluntary association by providing the capacity to leave should a member desire it.
Under discussion however, is a second, much more controversial stipend that would provide Members with a nominal amount of 'spending money' that could be used during Free time outside the community and to fund individual vacations. This form of compensation is less defensible and it embodies certain Benefits, Costs and Risks to both the Member and the Ecoversity.
Below is an example of one possible Member compensation scheme. Members will likely receive:
- equal access to the products and services of the community network’s production and distribution efforts
- all expenses paid business junkets (and Vacations?- see 2nd stipend discussion above)
- off-community education expenses- related to community need
- monetary compensation
- (a weekly stipend- Under consideration) a (weekly?) nominal cash disbursement equal to a percent share of the communities profitability to be used for incidental spending and for vacation expenses.
- (a stipend) in the amount equal to the maximum allowable annual IRA contribution (USA), for the sole purpose of funding an Individual Retirement Account
- this money is to be used to start anew if a member decided to permanently leave the community
- in 2014-15, the maximum allowable IRA contribution is $5500
- IRA deposits will be held and used by our credit union for community development, social entrepreneurial enterprises and philanthropic activities
- Member’s could, should they desire it, donate the money to the community on permanent departure
- upon death, the Member will bequeath the money to the community
Other Designations Compensation
Remuneration for other membership designations will be worked out at a later time; at this point the designations themselves are under discussion. The following list however, is a sketch of our current thoughts on compensation for the other designations. For the Other Membership Designations listed below, "access to community resources" actually means 'access to some, yet to be determined community resources'.
- pay for access to community resources and receive no compensation
- non-paying invitees are provided access to some resources (e.g. food & shelter) but receive no compensation
- pay for access to community resources and receive no compensation
- it might be possible for Students to participate at simultaneous designations (e.g. Ally - Member: like work-study): to be determined
- 'pays' for access to community resources by working (ytbd) does not receive compensation
- might be provided free access to workshops and other educational opportunities
- provided access to community resources
- monetary compensation in the form of a stipend and in the amount equal to the maximum allowable annual IRA contribution
- held in escrow until Membership is attained
- should Membership not be attained, the Newbie will receive a prorated portion of the amount in escrow, and the remainder will be returned to the community (perhaps 25% and 75% respectively)
- Provisional Member
- provided access to community resources
- monetary compensation in the form of a stipend and in the amount equal to the maximum allowable annual IRA contribution
- held in escrow until Membership is attained
- should Membership not be attained, the Provisional Member will receive a prorated portion of the amount in escrow, and the remainder will be returned to the community (perhaps 50% and 50% respectively)
Vacations & Travel
Personal time spent away from the community with sufficient resources to enjoy it, are what constitutes a vacation. These regularly scheduled opportunities for multiple consecutive 24 hour periods of free time, travel and fun are a necessary part of the good life and will be prioritized and budgeted for accordingly; also the rate by which vacation is accrued can be manipulated to change the relative reinforcement value of work-related activities. Seaside, mountain and other ‘vacation’ type properties (we are in the wellness resort business) will eventually be owned by the primary Trust and access to these resources will be made available to vacationing members.
Also, as we realize our vision for a network of communities (Walden and affiliated projects alike), trips to other sites will be made available. Conferences and other business related travel can be annexed to vacations; this option will not only benefit the individual, the community and planet see advantages as well: business travel is tax deductible, so the 'vacation' would be a business expense; and traveling over distances uses fossil fuel- so doubling up conserves energy and creates less pollution.
"When productive contingencies become so efficient that a great deal of time is left for nonessentials, the strength of a culture is dependent on what happens in that time.
…Leisure-time activities do not by definition give the culture much current support, but they have a bearing upon its future development and upon its ability to meet future emergencies.…The culture is clearly strengthened, however, when its members turn to other kinds of leisure behavior. Arts, crafts, and games develop important skills. Scientific exploration and research …make an obvious contribution.” B. F. Skinner (1969)
Leisure activities provide long-term benefits to the culture as well as immediate and delayed enjoyment to the individual who engages in the activity. But, despite the pleasurable aspects of the activities, daily participation in leisure activities- superstructural activities of the individual’s choosing, will be a requirement of membership. Opportunities and resources for a diverse set of art, craft, scientific and athletic activities will be developed.
While Leisure Time represents a requirement of membership, Free Time is exempt from membership requirements. This allotment represents 2/3 of the 24 hour day, and is the period when members exercise the most discretion over their activities.
Of course people will, on many occasions, ‘choose’ to engage in those same activities from which free time represents a respite, if only because they are really enjoyable. Free time options include just about any ethical pleasurable or recreational activity imaginable, both on and off-site.
Much of what we've been presenting thus far, has assumed that Walden will be located somewhere in the Western World, with some aspects assuming establishment in the USA (E.g. individual retirement accounts and non-profit business advantages). There are many cultural and social differences between the East and West, not the least of which have to do with legal systems; even Greece, with full membership in the EU has an Eastern system.
The following structure, like much we've already outlined, assumes establishment of Walden in the West. The East is not as familiar with trusts as is the West, so should Walden be established in the Eastern World, our legal structure will necessarily change.
Additionally, this is just a sketch: an overview of what we expect will be possible. We have yet to obtain legal advise at the level necessary to commit to a specific scheme. So, some aspects of this plan we expect to change.
The Dual Trust Model
The Dual Trust Model involves the establishment of two interacting trusts. The first trust, Walden Group, is a Charitable Organization, established 'for the public good'; it holds all assets and does not engage in trade nor does it incur debt. The second trust Walden Ecoversity, is an educational trust (a 501(c)3); it owns no assets but does engage in trade and can incur debt.
All assets and financial resources (liquid and investment capitol, land, structures, equipment, electronics etc.) everything that the Walden Ecoversity and (by extension) Walden Ecovillage (the campus and staff) has access to (as well as resources that it does not have access to), will be owned by Walden Group. Walden Group will loan, lease and donate (in the case of commodities) certain of its assets to the Walden Ecoversity and Ecovillage.
Walden Ecoversity, the 2nd Trust, will be established as an educational institution (501(c)3)) and will employ the resources provided it by Walden Group to execute its mission; which includes providing for the needs of the Walden Ecovillage community. Walden Ecoversity will engage in trade, and will therefore, be responsible for any debt it incurs as the result of its business activities. Additionally, Walden Ecoversity will gift its net profits to Walden Group, thereby protecting them from claim and making them available for Walden Group to execute its social justice mission (not described here).
The Dual Trust Model protects all assets, while allowing for commerce. Neither Walden Ecovillage, Ecoversity, nor any of the Ecoversity's ancillary businesses, Members or creditors will have claim to any infrastructural assets or financial resources.
This general model is outlined in chapter 14, of Bill Mollison's, Permaculture: A Designer's Manual. A very similar Double Trust structure was suggested to us by legal experts, during several (superficial) conversations.
Organizational Structure & Process
The dual trust model provides the legal framework that will safeguard assets and facilitate the execution of our Mission. The decision to organize ourselves as a Ecoversity Enterprise, makes sense for a number of reasons: the primary being that, research and education is who we are. We are uncovering a more accurate depiction of objective realty; using that information to develop better ways of doing things; teaching those improved ways to others; and facilitating the implementation of those improved social systems and technologies for clients.
All intentional communities are experimental, in the sense that they are trying something new. Walden is no different in that regard; we are definitely trying something new. The uniqueness of our format lies in the fact that the scientific method is one of the primary organizing features of our structure, and it drives our processes and practices.
In addition to the university, our milieu, farm, resort and ancillary businesses are all educational enterprises that function as experiments (in education, psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, business management, agronomy, ecology and etc.); and the majority of the 'products' we'll share with the world, will have been derived from experimentation. Walden is, in fact, a 'Living Experiment', in the truest sense of the expression.
As mentioned earlier, our chances, to create the multi-cultural international community that we desire, are enhanced by establishing ourselves as a university. Another reason for this organizational structure, has to do with zoning laws. Many states and counties in the United States restrict (by zoning laws) population density in rural areas; numerous intentional community start-ups have run-up against this limitation. These regulations however, in most states and counties, do not apply to educational institutions (universities and colleges). This fact expands our options for community location.
Sociocracy is derived from a combination of Sociology and Cybernetics; over the last two centuries both of these disciplines have developed a comprehensive scientific literature. Sociocracy, in that same time-frame, has become a legitimate approach to democratic egalitarian governing: its supporting scientific literature however, is not as extensive as its constituents.
Simultaneously, and quite independently, Radical Behaviorism has developed a comprehensive scientific literature, and matured into a powerful force for explaining, predicting and controlling human (all animal) behavior: of both the individual and the group.
"Behavior analysis has been characterized as a “border science” because its subject matter provides a substantive bridge between biological and cultural subject matters, much as the subject matter of biochemistry provides a bridge between the subject matters of chemistry and biology.
The subject matters of border sciences are emergent processes that allow for new orders of complexity in nature."
Sigrid S. Glenn
The overlap of Sociology, Cybernetics, Sociocracy and Radical Behaviorism is sufficiently extensive to warrant scientific inquiry, with an eye toward improving the reliability, parsimony and predictive validity of each discipline. Walden's Behavioral Science approach to Sociocracy is our first effort to amalgamate the disciplines and contribute to Sociocracy's nascent scientific literature.
All boards and 'businesses' will be organized as semi-autonomous, self-managed groups. They will be staffed by periodically rotated, double linked Members from all stakeholder circles. A version of Management by expertise, modified by 'democratic' processes (E.g. electing 'leaders') and safeguards (E.g. mechanisms for the removal of ineffectual 'leadership'), within the 'Elections by Consent' framework, will deliver high levels of functionality and excellence within each circle and for the community as an organic whole.
" ...The leaders and the followers, the by-products of an authoritarian society: this is the raw material from which we must build the free society. We do not have the option to fast forward to some post-revolutionary utopia in which everyone is whole and healthy, and in which capitalism is just a dim memory.
...We must begin our egalitarian relations today, among our damaged selves, if we are to live in a free world tomorrow.
The question, then, is “How do we accomplish this feat?” ”Prole Cat
Power dynamics is likely the most difficult challenge we face when designing the 'starting place', for our non-hierarchical volunteer organization. The objective is to create structures and processes that both foster and develop individual autonomy and capacity, and that facilitate our individual and collective ability to get things done (efficacy).
These challenges originate from our Libertarian ideals and radical objection to 'authority', and from our individual life-experiences within authoritarian societies. Our prefigurative politics demand that we live our lives and behave in ways that run counter to our socialization (and reinforcement history): a daunting task. Therefore, the 'system' we are creating must both take this learning history into account and reinforce (shape) alternative (dichotomous?) political processes and individual behaviors.
We are advantaged in this endeavor however, by our commitment to systematic experimentation. While working exclusively within a 'power-with' (Starhawk, 1987) framework, our semi-autonomous, self-managed groups (Circles) will experiment with various processes (E.g. consent, consensus and technological methods) across a range of decision-making scenarios and contribute applied data to our local and global communities.
For a comprehensive accounting of this discussion (and much more) within the contemporary Libertarian movement, see: Uri Gordon's, Anarchy Alive (2008)
Consent, within a Sociocracy, is the process for most decisions. Decision processes, for a specific situation (Consent or Consensus), will be selected for optimal diffusion of power, social validity and expediency.
Sociocratic methods will be used to determine many choices and courses of action. The others, some decisions that have traditionally been left to groups and Ceremonial Methods, will instead be made by Technological Methods, so fewer decisions will require group (Circle) deliberation, and fewer decisions will be 'intuitive shots-in-the-dark'.
Additionally, in order to guard against the tendency of people to acquiesce to group influence- and give Consent (despite private reservations or alternative desires), we will establish a system whereby alternatives can be researched and piloted; other functionally similar accommodations will be developed as well. This system will also safeguard against the passing over of great ideas, because they aren't recognized as such: they seem too avant-garde.
"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Albert Einstein
The structure of Walden Group, the primary trust, is relatively typical for Charitable Organizations: legal requirements and process force a particular structure. It differs from the 'typical trust' however, by its horizontal orientation and Sociocratic processes.
Board of Directors
The all volunteer board will be comprised of both Inside and Outside Directors: some Outside Directors will likely be people already serving on the Ecoversity's Advisory Boards.
Many factors regarding the Walden Group Board have yet to be determined: from which Circles will Inside Directors come; what will be the distribution of Inside and Outside directors; what powers will the Board have; will the Board serve an Advisory function to the CEO who is the decision-maker; and many more. These decisions will be made once legal advice has been secured.
Walden Ecoversity is an education and research institution; the trust will resemble the typical university 501(c)3, minus the structural and operational hierarchy. Walden Ecovillage and its Membership constitute the campus, faculty and staff; all community Members are learning facilitators and (informally) students.
Board of Governors
The Ecoversity's Board Of Governors is a Member's only, all volunteer board (exclusively Inside Governors). The eight Governor board will be comprised of representatives (two each) from the Innovation Group, Learning Group, Syndicate Group, and the Residential Group.
A host of professionals, from around the globe, who share our Vision, appreciate our strategy and possess expertise in fields relevant to our organizational design, processes and Mission, will be invited to voluntarily assist with the design, development and management of our enterprise. Recruiting is underway.
Initially at least, the Advisory Boards will be an on-line community, whose function will consist of commenting on, and editing the information on this wiki, and facilitating the development of the comprehensive functionally sophisticated website. Once the community is established in geological space, the cyberspace Boards will continue to meet on-line, all-be-it in another forum, and will provide strategic advise on ongoing operations and innovation.
Board Members of both trusts, Walden Group and Walden Ecoversity, as 'Honorary Community Members', will be invited (sponsored?) to the Ecovillage at regular intervals for 'all-hands meetings' (coordinated with festivals- etc.). We hope that by experiencing the community first-hand, and sharing in the fruits of their contributions, they might be influenced to join the Walden community as resident Members.
The following Table represents our current thinking on what Boards to establish and what expertise we think appropriate for each Board; we fully expect this configuration to change as we move forward.
|The Advisory Boards||Relevant Expertise|
|Agriculture||Permaculture||Holistic Management||Aquaculture||Veterinary Medicine||Mycology|
|Architecture & Construction||C. Alexander Architects||Natural Builders||Real Estate Development|
|Community||ABA & OBM||Sociocracy||Anarchism||Cultural Materialism||Venus Project||Intentional Communities|
|Education||ABA||Cybernetics||University Development||Software Development|
|Health & Medicine||Medical Practice||Environmental Health||Psychology REBT||Medical Ethics|
|Science||Cybernetics||Behavior Analysis||Ethics||Cultural Materialism||Agricultural|
|Start-up||Non-Profit Management||OBM||Intentional Communities||Cultural Materialism||Social Media Marketing||University Development|
|Technology||Internet, Website & Communications||Energy||Environmental Engineering||Mechanical Engineering||Appropriate Technology|
The Innovation Group is comprised of two representatives from each Innovation Circle. The Innovation Group will elect two representatives to the Board of Governors.
Innovation Circles are comprised of Representatives from the Learning Circles. The specific Innovation Circles have yet to be identified, but might include: Science, Supradisciplinary Curriculum, Ethics, Art and Eupraxsophy Center Circles. The Innovation Circles elect representation to the Innovation Group.
The Learning Group Circle is comprised of two representatives from each Learning Center Circle. It represents the community of educators and researchers, by electing representatives to the Board of Governors.
Learning Center Circles
Each department within the Ecoversity will organize as a Learning Center Circle. All Learning Facilitators within the department will comprise the Circle. The Learning Center Circles will elect two representatives (the Center Leader and another representative) to the Learning Group Circle, and two representatives to the Innovation Circle. The Leader of each Learning Center Circle will also be part of any Business Circle that is a direct extension of their Learning Center; both she and the manager of that business will serve on the Syndicate Group as representatives of that business.
Syndicate Group (Producers)
The Syndicate Group Circle is comprised of two representatives from each Business Circle. It represents the community of producers, by electing two representatives to the Board of Governors.
Each business will form a Circle that is responsible for managing itself as an enterprise. These Circles will elect two representatives to the Syndicate Group Circle. If the business is functionally related to a Learning Center Circle, the elected leader of the Business Circle, together with the respective Learning Center leader, will be the representatives for the Syndicate Group. If the business is independent of affiliation with a Learning Center Circle, representation will include the business leader and another elected representative.
Residential Group (Consumers)
The Residential Group Circle is comprised of two representatives from each Hamlet Group Circle. It represents the interests of community Members (and non-Member Circles)- as Consumers, and elects two representatives to the Board of Governors.
Each Hamlet will form a Circle that includes two representatives from each Residence Circle within the Hamlet. This semi-autonomous team will be responsible for managing their Hamlet, and electing two representatives to the Residential Group Circle.
Each residence will form a Circle that includes all residents. This semi-autonomous team will be responsible for managing their home, and electing two representatives to the Hamlet Circle, of which their residence is a member.
Non-Member Residence Circles
Like the Residence Circles, all non-Member residences (those for Allies, Students and Children) will form Circles and elect two representatives to the Residential Group Circle. Participation in decision-making by Non-Member representatives will be limited (the specific limitations have yet-to-be-determined).
Land and Space
"This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it." Christopher Alexander
Without the ability to design for, and describe a particular parcel of land, specifics regarding the layout of the community will be few. What follows then, is an overview of our site preferences, and the guidelines we'll use for the layout of our Ecovillage. As indicated earlier, we are open to establishing ourselves in almost any country in the world. The ideal location however, would be, to a relatively greater degree, culturally supportive our presence; in the USA we are looking at Vermont and Oregon.
The ideal site would be: 1000+ contiguous acres (400+ hectares) of land that boasts forests, hillsides, a fertile valley with fields and meadows, and in addition to an ample water table and aquifer, a significant above ground water resource; it would be located within a reasonable commute from a small city.
The community’s design aesthetic will feature the unique natural features and beauty specific to the location, and we’ll further enhance the Walden experience by integrating organic contemporary design influences, technologies, amenities and a sampling of the artful landscape, architectural and public-space design influences the global community has to offer.
There is an extensive literature about functional, aesthetically inspired community design, and we will utilize and build on that valuable resource. Most influential to our plans are Christopher Alexander's work and Permaculture.
"Form follows function- that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." Frank Lloyd Wright
Walden's built infrastructure will be designed and situated for optimal social and ecological functionality, aesthetics and to develop comprehensive self-sufficiency. Social functionality... Ecological functionality... Organic natural aesthetics ... Together these design features will
"We are searching for some kind of harmony between two intangibles: a form which we have not yet designed and a context which we cannot properly describe. ”
In an effort to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, we will employ existing alternative energy technologies and contribute to the development of nascent technologies. This is one of the most important aspects of our Goal to "Establish sustainable comprehensive self-sufficiency".
The key factor in designing the infrastructure for utilities, is to keep it as local as possible. Water, waste and electricity will be provided and managed at the Hamlet level; as much as possible, communications infrastructure will be wireless. In cases where prudence dictates community-wide service provisions (other than IT), utilities will be buried and follow the road/path network.
Internet, Intranet & Communications Technology
In addition to employing IT for internal and external communications, we will develop a community-wide network that will facilitate the processes associated with our social, cultural and financial systems and the execution of our mission. We will also develop ancillary businesses related to IT: website design; software development; green web hosting; and the like.
Conservation of Surface Space
To the extent possible, we will work to efficiently utilize all land area, and where possible replace occupied land areas by way of natural building techniques (e.g. roof gardens etc.). Additionally, subterranean space will be exploited where appropriate.
Conservation of Resources
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! The efficient use of resources is a primary consideration. This applies not only to onsite resources, but to those that can be garnered from the external community as well(without expending a disproportionate amount of resources to acquire them). We intend to develop ancillary businesses that recycle raw materials, as well as finished products (e.g.furniture, appliances, organic materials and etc.)
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Paths, Streets & Roads
The general strategy for our road system is based on efficiency, functionality and ecological integrity. Our naturally surfaced roads and pathways will be designed to manage water and accommodate bicycles, possibly electric vehicles, animals, walkers and runners. We do what we can to keep motorized vehicles outside the community.
It is our intention to build as much of the community infrastructure as we can, with materials garnered from our site. Natural building designs (passive solar etc.) and technologies therefore, are our primary means. We will, like with all other technologies related to sustainable development, do what we can to advance these practices.
Our objective is to create no waste, therefore humanure and urine will be recycled and used to improve the ecosystem. We will participate in the development of the technologies that make this strategy possible and safe.
Gray & Rainwater
All structures and Hamlets will be outfitted with the capacity to recycle gray and rainwater which will be used for local (Zone 1) agriculture. Surplus water will be delivered to the community-wide water system.
Hamlets, Housing & PQs
It is likely that our community housing will be organized as a network of small 'Hamlets' that surrounds the main campus (the Ecoversity, Wellness Resort, our larger scale farming operations [Zone3] and ancillary businesses). The layout of residences, perhaps 4-5 units within each Hamlet, will allow for centralized (Zone1) agricultural facilities that will be collectively developed and maintained by the Hamlet's residents. The optimal number of residential units within each Hamlet is an empirical question we intend to answer.
Multiple PQs Residences
In order to: provide each Member with individual PQs; achieve optimal social and cultural functionality; and responsibly manage our resources, Member housing will consist of group housing 'units'. These residences will include (6-10) individual PQs and common areas and facilities, including, a kitchen and dining area, social space and bathroom.
The optimal number of people to occupy a single residence is an empirical question we intend to eventually answer. We hypothesize a positive correlation between the size and functionality of individual PQs and the number of Members who can comfortably inhabit a single residential unit; additionally, the economics related to scale, and our construction capability factor into the equation.
The PQs & Other Accommodations
Every community member will have access to individual private quarters (PQs) that can be used and decorated as desired (minimal health and safety standards will apply). Ideally, all PQs will feature a private entrance and access from the common space, a bedroom, a sitting room, a comfort station (compost toilet and wash sink) and a patio.
Young children will live together in multiple-bed rooms within group quarters (like a hostel). As children get older, and more competent, they will experience increasingly greater degrees of autonomy: fewer roommates, less oversight, more responsibilities (etc.), until the point when, having achieved full Member competency and responsibility, they are (ceremoniously) granted access to individual PQs (teenagers?).
Ecoversity housing, for matriculated students and Social Entrepreneurial program (SEP) participants, will functionally, but not aesthetically, resemble the typical university/college dorm: groups of 2-6 students will occupy a room; bathrooms will be common. Housing for Allies, and some Resort guests, will be multiple-bed rooms (like hostels) and common bathrooms.
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