Ideas for a Cheap and Affordable Artists’ Community

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I thought it would be fun to digress a bit from my usual posts. Today I offer my somewhat Utopian idea for an artists’ community based on the all-American concept of the trailer park. Odd, yes, I know. And, of course, that means this post has no new tutorials or finished sculptures, but paper mache isn’t the only thing I’m interested in, you know…

Why I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…

With the current economic crisis and an increasingly disturbing political climate, it just seems time to circle the wagons. Going it alone works great when times are good, but during hard times it makes sense to band together with others who have similar interests in order to protect those things we value most. And for artists of any stripe, whether they’re painters, sculptors, writers or bloggers, one of the things we value most is the time and security we need to make creative endeavors possible.

With the recession affecting so many people, many of us are already being forced to take roommates just to keep the rent paid. Others are suddenly finding themselves jobless, homeless, and pension-less through no fault of their own. These personal tragedies could be the basis of a strong community spirit if there was a place where people could come together for mutual support. After all, history has shown us that a community is most creative when faced with adversity. And right now, there’s a lot of adversity to go around.

There’s another thing that got me thinking along these lines. I’ve  recently read a book called How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman. There’s one section in the book where Herman describes the community of Edinburgh during the Scottish Enlightenment, when philosophers and tradesmen, professors and waiters – people from all classes and occupations – all lived in such close quarters that their main form of entertainment was an evening at the local bar, rowdily discussing current events, literature, and the arts.

I found this truly inspiring, simply because I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by people who make fun of me because I read books. I realize that I have no-one to blame but myself, since I’ve chosen occupations outside academia, but still – wouldn’t it be fun to have a place where it was common to have enthusiastic discussions about things beyond the latest celebrity’s antics, or what we’re having for dinner?

And to be able to do it in real life, instead of an online forum where the discussions are interesting but there is no real human contact? You may live in a community where that sort of thing happens all the time, but I do not.

(The book I’m currently working on is When Corporations Rule the World. It would make a great subject for a good, lively debate at the local pub).

And lastly, I’ve always felt nostalgic over the idea of a commune, even though my own experiences in this form of social organization were total failures back in the ’70s. It just seems like communes should work, even though most don’t.

So I realize that the following idea is Utopian, and probably impossible. But it could at least be fun to talk about it, don’t you think?

Here’s my vision for an affordable arts community:

First, someone, (or a group of people), purchases a few acres of good land near an existing small community. (It’s amazing how cheap land and houses are outside the big cities.)

Next, the new owners get a local permit to set up a trailer park. Yes, that’s what I said – a trailer park.

The land is divided into areas for communal gardens and lots for small well-insulated manufactured houses or hand-made dwellings built on wheels. (In the US, a trailer park is one of the few places where people can choose to live in a small home – most neighborhoods have minimum size requirements that make owning your own home impossible for millions of people.)

I’m suggesting a size limit for the dwellings in order to reduce the amount of land required for dwellings and to  reduce the amount of energy needed to keep the dwelling warm or cool. Couples who can’t share such close quarters could always have two houses – it might actually improve some relationships to have a bit more personal space.

At the heart of the community would be a simple structure, perhaps an inexpensive steel farm-type building insulated with straw bales, that is divided into studios and offices for the use of people who live in the park. This building would also house a community lounge where people can come together to share their artwork or latest writings, and to discuss politics or philosophy or whatever excites them at the moment.

Why set it up as a trailer park?

Most intentional communities tend to end up with people of similar political or social interests. This requires that newcomers be judged based on the purity of their ideas, and this does not appeal to me.

However, I’m definitely drawn to the idea of living cheaply with others who may not have accumulated a lot of money in their lives, but who have lots of interesting ideas and creative energy to share with others. Their religious or political persuasion doesn’t matter to me, as long as religious and political discussions (arguments?) are possible without resorting to violence. To me, it’s the differences between people that make them interesting. How boring to be surrounded by people who all think alike!

We could get that interesting mix by simply renting to anyone who wanted a space for a small home and the use of a studio or office and a small garden plot. This idea might appeal to many baby-boomers who have been dreaming about living “beyond the sidewalks” or becoming full-time artists for most of their lives, but who have never accumulated the money or partners that are needed for homesteading or a purely creative life in the city.

Getting in wouldn’t cost much – and people would have no trouble leaving if the community no longer met their needs.

I know you’ve probably found a number of flaws in my reasoning, but to me it sounds like a wonderful way to live – but it wouldn’t be all perfect, of course. For instance, I think how hard it would be to give up my current home, and I worry that my new neighbors would start having community meetings where rules and regulations are developed by committee, and where laws are decided by those who shout the loudest. (Do I have too little faith in human nature? Can you tell I hate meetings?)

Or the park’s owners would decide it would be more profitable to sell the land for development, as often happens, leaving all of us to scramble to find another place to live. Since the land and park would be the property of the owners, and that ownership could change, there would be an element of insecurity built into the plan. But then, nothing’s perfect.

So now it’s your turn. Have you ever dreamed about creating a community where living is cheap and where creativity is encouraged even if it has no economic purpose? What would such a community look like, and how would it be regulated to protect the independence and creativity of the inhabitants? Or am I just being silly, as usual?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

35 thoughts on “Ideas for a Cheap and Affordable Artists’ Community

  1. I was just on my way out the door to buy supplies for my first attempt at paper mache when I found this post. I am a 54 year old divorced grandmother living on the opposite side of the country and the similarities in our thinking is scary. I live in the North Carolina mountains near the Penland school of Arts and the Earthaven eco community in Black Mountain. I have also looked into Tumbleweeds trailers, park model RVs, vintage Airstreams, etc. I have three books you may be interested in if you don’t already have. 1. “Creating a Life Together ” Practical Tools to grow Eco Villages and Intentional Communites by Diana Leafe Christian. 2. “The Hand-Sculped House” A practical and philosophical guide to building a cob cottage by Evans, Smith and Smiley 3. Build your own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer. I would be happy to loan/send them to you if you’d like.

    Wouldn’t it be great to live with like minded people who nourish the creative spark?

    More later, must shop for supplies, e.

    • Hi Elizabeth. We recently started a newer conversation about this issue, and, as it turns out, I think it’s probably not going to happen. There have been a few groups that did get things together, including the ones you mention, but most of us tend to just talk about it, in the abstract. A recent book I read (which I mention in the newer post) helped to explain why we dream about a new eco-village/artists community, without actually doing it.

      Funny – I have all the books you mentioned! Some of Kiko’s friends also wrote the book “Rocket Mass Heaters,” which I just bought last week. I’m trying to figure out how to safely build one in a stick-built house. I’m not sure that’s possible, considering the building codes and other considerations, but it’s an interesting idea.

      It was good to hear from you. If you’d like to talk about this more, please put your comments on the newer post so more people will have a chance to read them.

  2. I like this idea.

    We could make part of the community a timeshare-like setting for artists who can’t move, art retreats and classes, etc. This part might even pay for the community overhead.

    One possibility for construction could be modular buildings built from cargo containers. Some architects have come up with some amazing & affordable dwellings with this.

    I visited a (not inexpensive) planned community in Boulder, Colorado during Open Studios a couple weeks ago. They actually had big, glorious studio/gallery spaces incorporated into some of the dwellings — beautiful!

    • Your suggestions make sense. It’s too bad none of us seem to be the sorts who have extra money sitting around – it would be interesting to see if someone could create an inexpensive planned community. I’d jump at the chance if I didn’t have to do any organizing and if I could afford it.

      The container houses could definitely work.

    • Hi Leigh – no, you didn’t. This is a fairly old post, though, and few people have been commenting lately. Maybe I’ll put up a new post on the subject one of these days, to get the conversation going again.

  3. I too like the idea of a sustainable, green community, but the are limits for me. No cess pits, or composting toilets. I’ve never seen a composting toilet yet that really worked-at least that didn’t stink to high heaven.

    Alternate energy is always good.

    I love gardening, growing my own food is way good, food is so expensive in the stores and its not good quality. I’m not a vegetarian myself. Everyone is entitled to eat what and as they like, in my book. But yes, I would be raising poultry to butcher, and possibly a pig. And I will more than likely do the butchering myself-at least the smaller stuff.

    More later
    Leigh

  4. Looking back over mine and everyone elses posts, I thought of some things. Sweat Equity… if each person/couple builds a house/studio with the help of the rest of the community, that would probably give them a cash interest in the building(s) if/when they left. So… maybe a clause in the agreement, that the community must pay a certain amount of money back to the person, either in one lump sum, or smaller payments over a period of time? Or some sort of coverage on this. Or go in a completely different direction, and use sweat equity as the membership fee/monthly fee for the first year? Which means that the owner will have to come up with land payments some other way-ouch…

    Or some combo of work and money for membership payment… hmmmm.

    Leigh

  5. Yep, earthbags are really neat-safe and extremely cheap to build with. As far as the neighbors… I wouldn’t worry too much about what the neighbors think about the type of house someone is building, at least not in my neck of the woods. Most folks dont really care, as long as the place isn’t going to be a safty hazard or a truly awful eyesore. If it looks like a hobbit house, alot of people would be going, “how neat is that!”

    Then there is strawbale, also cheap and can be made to look like a conventional house, or stackwood/cordwood masonry, or stone, or cob, or…

    I mean we ARE talking about fellow artists here, after all.

    As to rules and ownership… at least having a secure, legal lease on your home. If each person owned their place outright, then you get into the legal hassel of who they can/must sell to if and when they want to leave. That leaves a great big hole for land speculators to crawl through, and thats not something we would want. We could look at groups like the live/work space group in Minn St. Paul, as they have done a great job in the urban scene, creating live/work space for artists and craftspeople without jacking up property values through the roof and driving out the people who already call that neighborhood home.

    Lots to think about, lots of “homework” to do, but ya know, this really is very do-able.
    Leigh

  6. Hello
    I’ve been thinking/dreaming about something like this for years, an artists community in the country, not too far from a good sized town, with alternative built homes and veggie gardens. Central meeting hall and shared community work-on housing, gardens, roads and such. But I want to own the land, because having a knowledge of ‘community’ building, I want to make sure the rules are loose and very few, and that people DON’T get thrown out for no reason. The idea being to keep things simple… Respect each other, dont shove your ideas on others, that sort.

    Oklahoma has cheap land, even pretty land, but I dont really advise trailer parks here if you can avoid it–tornados. Trailers seem to attract them like iron filings to magnets.

    Leigh

    • Hi Leigh. It sounds like we’re thinking along the same lines. I agree about the trailers in tornado land. The earth bag houses by Nader Khalili are tornado and hurricane-proof, I believe – but the roundness might make neighbors think a bunch of hippies were moving in. [img]http://calearth.org/images/galleries/eco-dome/thumbnails/eco-dome-12.jpg[/img]

      However, the same materials can be used to make square buildings for little money, but I don’t know if they hold up as well in bad wind situations.This one in Haiti is very attractive.

      And I agree about the rules. I don’t like rules, except the ones that actually make sense and protect people. An artist community that had thought police in the form of committees who say who can stay and who can go would suck. Individual home ownership would help prevent that.

  7. I’m much like you; shy, seriously considered moving to Canada (insert political diatribe for sure!) Like you, I do get just a little bit lonely, sometimes, living my hermit artist lifestyle. The happiest I’ve ever been was living in a small rural community where I had a nodding acquaintance at least with most of my fellow residents, and a few good friends.

    So, for me, the feeling of community; tight, familiar in the sense of almost like family as well as in the sense of not-strangers, having shared interests (the good of the community, for starters) is very attractive.

    The garden we’ve managed to grow this summer has also been a real eye-opener (after 3 years of somewhat frustrating efforts). Eating VERY local is a lot easier than I had ever thought! (Anyone want some squash??? Please???)

    The idea of being part of a creative community is … beyond exciting to me. I’m never more inspired than when I’m exposed to the process of other artists.

    Can you picture this: Life model workshops on a regular basis, with people you know, doing various kinds of media.
    Creative cooking for the community from whoever feels the urge that week/day/night.
    Meals during which the day’s creativity is discussed or planned, while other social needs are also met.

    Oh yeah. πŸ™‚

    Vermont, however? Kinda harsh winters! I’ve been taught that I don’t much like long, cold, dark winters, since I moved from northern CA to northern WA. πŸ˜›

    • It does sound nice. Since you live up in the northwest corner of Washington, have you ever been up to Salt Spring Island in Canada? My dad has visited, and he raves about the art and artists he met there. He even claims one artist created over 100 chickens. My dad was very impresses, but he doesn’t remember what medium the artist used. I got the impression that the community may be made up, at least in part, by American refugees from the Vietnam era, but I may be completely wrong. Maybe they have created the type of community that ours should be modeled after. Have you ever been?

      • Hm! No I haven’t, but that sounds like a neat trip worth the bother of crossing the border.

        I had to laugh about the artist who “created over 100 chickens.” That’s some artist! Then your dad couldn’t remember what they were made out of. … Do you suppose it tasted like chicken?

        Okay, sorry. ;P
        I’ll go look at the link you posted.

  8. I agree about the committee meeting! lets go around and introduce ourselves LOL!

    However I am a vegetarian I wonder how many artist types are. To me thats a very important element of my way of life. I agreen that earth houses are amazing they do take a community of people to built too which takes advantage of all the people! and are low cost and energy saving. They have even been built in the east coast. Where to locate this community is important too to what house you build. Earth houses leave plenty of room for individual expression.

    • Hi again. I can eat meat or not, it doesn’t matter that much to me, although I have found that eating protein does help with my sugar addiction issues. I’ve seen intentional communities advertise that all their members are vegetarians and they won’t accept anyone who is not, but to me this level of thought and behavior control is a bit too much. I would not want to be judged by whether or not my diet conformed to the required norm, any more than I would want to be accepted, or not, based on my political views or forms of artistic expression. Which is why I’ve never applied to live in any of the currently operating intentional communities, even though I do admire them for their attempt to create a more sustainable world.

      I do feel guilty about keeping five carnivores as pets because of all the critters that have to die to fill all those packages of dog and cat food I buy. Maybe our new society could encourage keeping small dairy goats in the back yard as pets, instead. Unfortunately, the town where I now live doesn’t think much of that idea.

      As for location, I suppose that would matter a lot. We all feel connected to a place, where we have memories and family and friends. It would be hard to move all the way across the country to involve oneself in an experiment, although my recent ancestors did just that when they moved to Oregon 100 years ago. I guess you’d have to have a whole network of communities, with different home styles that fit the various environments and local building codes.

      • Lots of issues raised for interesting discussion! πŸ™‚
        I’m a vegan, myself, but I agree that the community should be open to all artists (and their families), regardless of whether they eat meat, don’t, believe in one god, many, or none, etc.. As for keeping dairy goats as pets, like cows (and all mammals), they have to breed to be kept milking, so there would have to be a place for all those babies to go (the meat eaters? the market? the community pet-food larder?)
        The conundrum of the pet-loving vegan, who must feed her carnivores meat, is one I’m familiar with! It’s a tough one.
        Many of us in this mobile society we live in have moved great distances for less than this! I know I have! If it was in a place I thought I could live, and all else was workable (like, an amenable spouse), I’d go wherever the community was, myself.

        As for eating protein, even a vegan gets her share. πŸ˜‰ If you ever want any tips in that area, you have my email! πŸ˜€

        • And Mario said he’d come all the way from the Netherlands for an artists’ community if our government would let him stay. I sometimes think that I’d be very willing to move out of the US to a country like Canada, (insert personal political diatribe here), but I don’t qualify for their residency requirements. Perhaps “where” is not as important as I thought. Vermont, anyone?

          Which brings me to an interesting question. At least it’s interesting to me…

          I know why I would like to live in a community like the one we’ve been discussing, even if it didn’t end up looking exactly the way I imagine it. I’ll share my reason, if you share yours…

          Simply put, I’m a naturally shy person who feels uncomfortable with strangers. People think I’m anti-social or aloof or judgmental when I’m really just a shy person who can only be comfortable in the company of a few close friends and family members who forgive my social ineptitude because I’m basically a nice person. Now that I no longer have a corporate job, I don’t have much opportunity to talk to people, so I get lonely. (And don’t suggest counseling or medication – shy is a personality type, not a mental illness as so many people seem to think – insert another personal political diatribe here). Since I don’t have a strong extended family and I now live hundreds of miles away from my few lifelong friends, I dream about creating a community that resembles traditional village life, where everyone knows everyone, there aren’t any strangers, and people are valued for their differences, for the ideas they bring to any discussion, and for the creativity they express in whatever art form they’ve chosen.

          It would be nice to have a few other pantheists around to keep me company, although it isn’t a necessity. And I’d like others in the community to have a strong interest in eating local food and building a sustainable society, which probably is necessary. I’m not asking for much.

          So – it’s your turn. What’s your reason for feeling an attraction towards a planned community?

    • That’s a good idea, Lorraine. Yurts are cool. So – small, affordable living quarters to give residents privacy and a place to call home, a more expensive and much larger central building for use as studios and offices. And I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like the community to be set up like the old-fashioned boarding houses, where your rent includes meals. Then the houses could have just a rudimentary kitchen for making coffee and toast or whatever, and the community kitchen could provide jobs for residents as cooks and help staff. And it would, of course, buy produce, eggs and meat from local farmers. And it would be a place where people would naturally enjoy each other’s company at least once a day, without having to have a committee meeting, which I hate.

      Sigh. Wouldn’t it be fun to have so much money that you could actually make vague dreams like this turn into something real?

      • I just found a page on yurts that has me totally convinced this is the way to go. Quick to build, cheap, and beautiful, too. http://www.smilingwoodsyurts.com/
        [img]http://www.smilingwoodsyurts.com/files/47231237416836frontpic.jpg[/img]

        And the Methow might be a place to consider for the new village’s home…

  9. What an exciting concept. You describe my own thoughts and feelings nearly perfectly!

    I’ll be watching your progress with this idea avidly. My husband is working with some very visionary community planners to develop sustainable communities from the ground up. Green built, self-contained as much as possible in terms of energy, food, water, etc.. Will we live to see these communities built? It would be neat to see one as an artists’ community.

    • Hi Xan. How is your paper mache doggie turning out?

      Your husband has an interesting job. Unfortunately, most planned green communities appear to be built for upper-middle class families, with homes starting in the $300,000 range and up. It’s great if you have a corporate job, or if you’ve retired from one and your pension is still intact. For many of us, though, this is far beyond our reach. Is your husband’s community going to be more affordable?

      To be honest, I doubt my idea will go anywhere, except in the mind. Like I said, I’m broke, and I’m not the organizing type. Maybe somebody else will pick up the ball and run with it…

      In the not-so-distant past, every community was an artists community, since every resident worked with her or his own hands, creating the things they needed for daily living. You could walk past the blacksmith’s shop or the carpenter’s shop or watch your mother knitting – creativity was taken for granted. That’s the kind of village that feels truly sustainable to me, but I’m not sure we’ll ever see it again.

      • Hi Jonnie.
        My dog is … quite the learning project! I’ve been trying to think of creative uses for the three extra heads in various stages that have been discarded along the way. πŸ˜› I’ve been learning a good deal about the various materials; papers of different kinds (my fave is a white paper that came as packing material for something, and is very melty, and looks almost porcelain-like when it dries), joint compound, flour and water in its various solutions. At present, it is suggesting a faux-metallic finish, so I’ve stretched the budget to include a bottle of Sophisticated Finishes’ Blackened Bronze. It amuses me to think of it looking like a bronze sculpture, and weighing about 2 pounds! I’ve taken lots of pictures along the way. I’ll link you to my own blog when I’m done, so as not to hog yours.

        The community my husband is working on is so far in the future at this point that it’s hard to say what kind of money it will take to get into it, but you’re probably right. The intent of the designers is to make it self-sustaining, though, so hopefully the buy-in cost will be achievable for normal people, to create more the kind of community you envision. Corporate execs are not the most likely artisans. Though, given the chance, you never know!

        In the mean time, travel to third world countries should feed your need for that community feel. If you get in off the tourist tracks, anyway. Just make sure you come back and tell us where you’ll be moving. We may want to join you there!

        • Hi Xan. I can’t wait to see your finished dog, and all the steps you took to get there. I know we’ll all visit your blog as soon as you let us know the photos are there.

          That blackened bronze finish sounds interesting. I just now answered an email from a fellow who wanted to know how to make a set of paper mache armor look like metal. I didn’t know about the Sophisticated Finishes product before I sent the email, so I may need to send him another one. See how random thoughts from one artist can end up being so useful to other people doing entirely different things? And no committee meeting required!

          Don’t worry about those extra heads. If you don’t end up making some portrait busts out of them they do make good compost. My red worms are now eating paper mache two rabbits and one horse head, and loving it.

          I have actually thought about finding the perfect community in some other country, but I can only speak English and I’m getting too old to learn another language. Plus resident visas are very hard to get if you don’t have a fairly large bank account, and my family would not want to go with me so I’d end up even more isolated instead of more connected – which is sort of the whole point.

          I do think, though, that there are thousands of corporate execs who would much prefer to be working with their hands, if they could just figure out how to talk the wife and kids into giving up the McMansion and other expensive items that enslave us. But now I’m starting to sound a bit radical, and this is a blog about art, so I’ll let it go at that.

  10. Dang – You can buy an RV park, with all the utilities already in place, showers, etc., two tiny houses (park model RV homes) already set up, near a lake and a legendary mountain, all for about what some people pay for a suburban house. Who knew? See it here.

  11. Jonni, this idea heaven. It’s like somebody wrote down a concept I discussed two years ago with a friend of mine.

    If somebody can tell me how to get from Holland to the states with the allowance to stay there forever and if I see a possibility to get there, I’m in.

    • Hi Mario – good to hear from you. But don’t buy your plane ticket just yet. This is just a vague idea. It’s do-able and affordable, but as far as I know it hasn’t been done yet. If it has been done, I hope somebody will let us know.

      I’d love to hear more about that conversation you had a few years ago with your friend. How did your new community look like? How was it organized?

      Speaking of which, I’m not an organizer. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I’ve been able to convince anyone to actually do something I suggest. That’s partly because I’m too shy to speak up in a crowd, and because most of my explanations get so long-winded that folks wander off to find something more interesting.

      And, unfortunately, if I sold my house I’d only have about $75,000, which wouldn’t get very far in creating a new community. I do think it would be a good investment for someone, but I can’t do it myself. I do have enough to be a member of a community (those tiny park model houses can be had on Craigslist for as little as $25,000), but not enough to create one.

      If anyone reading this has the ready cash required to invest in a trailer park and set it up in a way that would work for us (and those nice folks over at the autism blog, too), and you think it would be a profitable way to spend your money, I hope you’ll let us know.

  12. I wonder if it’s natural and inevitable that we lose that feeling of connectedness that we felt back in college, when we could still stay up late listening to music and talking ’till dawn? Or is the disconnection just something that happens in a society where one has to move somewhere to find the job that pays the college loans, and where every person has to make it on her own?

    When you’re young you don’t know how important it all is – and when you grow older you don’t know how to get it back.

    If there’s ever going to be a time when we can recreate those communities, it’s now.

    Papermaven mentioned the possibility of transforming her own neighborhood along these lines. Wonderful idea. For those who don’t have roots, there are entire towns where practically every house is for sale – and some of them are in beautiful areas. Can you imagine 10 creative individuals and families with small incomes from their Internet businesses all converging on a beautiful village and lighting it up in the way Vicki envisions? Then more people come, workshops are organized, libraries are created, gardens are dug, etc. etc. It’s fun just thinking about it. It would be pioneer days, all over again.

    Years ago I discovered the freedom that comes from voluntary poverty. The involuntary kind of poverty sucks – but choosing to live on less really does make life so much easier.

  13. This is a very inspiring idea
    I’m trying to imagine what it would look like, and I gravitate toward small prefab cottages on a wide tract of hilly green land with at least one lake. In addition to artists, and writers, it would need musicians, philosophers, chefs, etc., a gamut of creative energy–and a large barn where people could gather when they felt the need for company. To help to support the community there could be one large dormitory-like structure where people could come and stay for six to eight weeks when they needed to charge up (for a fee). A grant writer would be needed for support, there could be stands for farm grown vegetables to sell to visitors, a shop for gifts (like crafts, paintings, dvd’s of music and creative thinking, (the output of the inhabitants, and an e site for same.
    How would we all earn a living? In the ecclectic way we do now, even if we had to fly to another city to work for a while I suppose.
    I’m a writer with a few books–also a painter, sculptor and I love to garden. Like most creative people, creative downscaling is the norm, and I find my current life more isolated than I’d like.
    Your idea made me miss the days I lived on Beacon Hill in Boston, recently out of college, beginning my independent life, and there you met all varieties of people. My roommate and I used to sit on the roof and listen to the rock band that was living in the apartment across the alley. We’d look at the stars, talk about everything, feed everyone who came by, some stayed for days, each gave what they could. I took it for granted that this was what life would always be. I thought it would never end. Of course it does, when you have to get more independent to get by. But I miss it.
    My friend in Tennesse, Vicki Medaglia sent me your site, and she’d have to live there too, because I’m in new england, and she’s down south, and I miss her. She keeps me informed about great ideas and great sites that inspire creative thinking, and I miss a steady dose of creative thinkers and dreamers next door or down the street, and I guess you do too.

    Clearly, there would have to be a rich benefactor for this community and a good masseuse, and we could build an in ground sauna to lie in at night and look at the stars.

    We might want a physicist there to charge up the conversations. And of course we’d need an herbalist and a live in computer genius. We could offer weekend gataways for corporate burnout. Maybe Bill Gates would go for it.
    You’ve gotta keep dreaming.
    I’ve got these lines that came from Peggy Jentoff a chakra teacher on the net from california. You might like them:

    Dream more than others think is practical
    Expect more than others think is possible.

    Thanks
    Vicki

  14. My neighbors and I would love to do something similar in our neighborhood. The city has very little interest in our end of town — our houses are prefabs built by the military for workers during WWII and fall far short of their aspirations for “development.” The houses are modest in size, nicely sited near greenbelts, solid as little rocks, and inexpensive. Enough of us might actually change the city’s growth trajectory. Nice thought.

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