Many people want to reduce their cost of living and to live healthier lifestyles. Especially bitcoiners. People have become so far removed from the source of their food that they have no idea how it's made or what conditions it was grown in. And having one company running the energy production for millions of people in each region is a major single point of failure.
Can we create more decentralized communities? I would like to work towards an open source design for small communities that aim to be somewhat self sufficient.

Neighborhoods revisited

Imagine a neighborhood where there's a central orchard and greenhouse and around energy production the perimeter. Energy production could come from solar panels or wind turbines or eventually small modular nuclear reactors (one can dream).

Example implementation

Acquire a plot of land of appropriate size. Clear the center and plant various fruit bearing trees in a ring around the clearing (apples, olives, peaches, etc.). In the clearing build one or more greenhouses where you'll grow smaller plants and bushes suitable for your region and taste.
Around the perimeter install solar panels and batteries that will eventually become the neighborhood's power source. Solar panels can also be added to homes once they're built.
Maintaining the equipment and paying property taxes will require revenue. In the US members of neighborhoods often pay into an HOA (home-owners association) that takes care of maintaining shared resources. In theory we can install bitcoin mining equipment to help offset these costs over time.

Future work

This concept is going to be location specific and therefore there's no general solution. However, we can share reusable ideas like which pairing of plants are good in a greenhouse, how to monitor soil conditions and continue growing through the winter, best practices for solar installations, etc.
Ideally this would eventually become an open source initiative so people in various regions and climates can "read a manual" and construct their own communities like this.

341 sats \ 3 replies \ @om 21 May
https://freedomcells.org builds sort of in this direction
Observations on that folk:
  • there's an extreme amount of woo among back-to-the-landers, Derrick Broze's focus on meditation doesn't help
  • back-to-the-landers are usually not libertarians in any sence of the word I recognize, they just define liberty as living in a village
  • back-to-the-landers usually extremely underestimate the amount of effort and land necessary to produce enough food to feed themselves (even "underestimate" is too flattering a description - usually when asked to give an estimate they just make incoherent noises often involving the word "permaculture" but never producing any numbers)
My thoughts on tech which is extremely important:
  • batteries: lithium is too expensive, once iron-air is widely available it would be a life saver
  • fertilizers: Haber-Bosch process is too energy-expensive and therefore too centralized, if companies like Nitricity perfect the plasma arc process it would be another life saver
As for the batteries, an alternative solution for small scale could be pumped storage hydroelectricity [1]. This wouldn't work for most applications but could still perhaps power small electronics if needed.
For fertilizer the community could still purchase that from larger markets. I'm out of my depth here, but could chickens and goats help with fertilizer? Composting? Permaculture? (jk!)

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity
For small electronics, little lithium accus work just fine. Here, I got a cheap 10000 mAh accu from a supermarket = 10 Ah at 3.3 V (even though its nominal output is 5V, they're rated at internal voltage to scam customers) so 33Wh, converting from hours to seconds we get 336060 Wsec = 118800 J. That would be equivalent to raising 1 cubic meter of water about 118800 / 9.8 / 1000 = 12.1 meters. And that is why pumped-storage isn't used at small scale.
Fertilizer became a critical bottleneck during the height of recent inflation. You can still buy it, sure. You'd need a lot of chickens to fertilize with their poop alone...
The goal of this project wouldn't necessarily be as extreme as the back-to-the-landers. Ideally it would be small communities that produce a significant portion of their food and energy so that they have more control over what's important to them.
Another angle: in the US there have been lots of attacks on the grid in various cities. And a lot of our food goes to a handful of grocers in each city. This can be a vulnerability during crazy times and if each neighborhood had some level of independence from the larger region we'd be more secure.
When I first got into the "Liberty Movement", I dreamed of starting this sort of community as well. One of the advantages of small covenant communities is that internally you can avoid a lot of onerous state regulations and taxes.
The setting I imagined was usually on a stream or river which can provide your water, irrigation, some food, some energy, and a defensible border, as well as just being pretty.
I also imagined a stream but you can build your own water source even in a desert if you have useful energy. For example you can install atmospheric water generators [1]. In that case you can buy cheap desert land and install solar panels and battery before everything else. Then install the AWG and a cistern for storage. Once you have that in place you can start a greenhouse and expand from there.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_water_generator
I was specifically imagining cheap desert land that also had a creek running through it. There are still lots of places like that in the high desert.
is it possible to get water in the air?? I think I saw a machine that claims to get it from the humidity. That could be an alternative choice if you're doing the whole desert thing.
I think that's what he's talking about.
This is already happening in modern neighborhood developments. Someone in Pleb Lab rents in one of these communities in TX where all homes are built with solar. In CA, where it's easier to grow food, they often have these community gardens and large solar installations for the neighborhood.
In general, I don't like land to be partitioned/planned this way. I'd prefer all streets have wider sidewalks, like NYC sidewalks, and perhaps along the sidewalk in front of south facing homes, a dedicated area for freedom gardens which can be public or private depending on the home owner's preference. For north facing homes, they'd maybe have a similar garden in a green-space alley behind their homes.
Basically, I don't think land should be divided at scale and instead be more diverse at the home level.
181 sats \ 4 replies \ @k00b 21 May
I've been doing some light reading on urban planning for SN because I think the territory metaphor is apt. Most of what I've learned so far is that neighborhoods function, or don't, depending on the nature of the shared spaces. Shared spaces that are apart from where people spend all of their time tend to not function, but if you put them where people already are, they get used.
Wider sidewalks give neighbors a place to meet and hangout and socialize, and more people on sidewalks means safer streets, which means more people are on them and so on.
This kind of plan also gives the homeowners incentives to maintain the shared space and do so in a unique, non-myopic fashion vs a single park and a single garden and a single power station.
My wife is sick of me complaining about how stupid it is that our neighborhood doesn't have a playground right in the middle of it. There are lots of kids and parents, but nowhere convenient for us to congregate.
She doesn't disagree, btw, she's just heard it a hundred times.
Too many urban planners are socialist central planners
Thanks for your perspective. I wonder if there could be a middle ground here then? For example, instead of a single central garden and power source, there could be several smaller ones? For example: create a web of gardens connected by trails.
I lived next to a community that had a garden more "inbetween" like this. It wasn't very wide but it was very long with a wide walking path along it. It was better than something entirely set apart, but it was effectively monopolized by the homes near it and unused by the other 90% of the neighborhood (except for the odd walk).
What about natural gas generators? There are ways of storing natural gas in relatively large quantities locally that would suffice for keeping a generator running long enough to store electricity in a battery for a few days for a few hundred households. I haven't crunched the data but natural gas is cheap and clean and there are generators on the market.
I think in this example, food production should be centered around ruminants (I.e. grazing cattle). Trying to live off just plants from a greenhouse wouldn't be enough, and its back breaking work. There's a reason life post-agriculture was miserable for most people.
nice article, it reminds me of Prospera a bit. They charge a tax but I believe it to be used for infrastructure of some sorts as they do not have an army and have their own government. It's quite interesting
I have 82 acres of off grid land that I'm not sharing with anyone but my wife. We have solar, wind, we collect water, generate our own bio-gas and generally just love not having any neighbors. Unrestricted zoning, no height restrictions, etc. I get to draw 2 acre feet of water out of the ground every year and it's more than enough for what we need.
This is great! Did you do everything yourself or did you hire someone to build everything out for you? Any tips or anecdotes to share?
Wife and I are doing as much as we can on our own. Most of our knowledge came from YouTube University, talking to friends, or just by doing. And I read. A lot. Biggest tip I can share is don't try to reinvent the wheel.
I like it; this, combined with some de-population and reforestation- and naturalization of existing flora could really be something.
I'd sign up.