Over the years I've been involved in starting and stewarding a number of place-based communities and self-governance projects.
What I love about these projects is the ways in which physical spaces require us engage with questions of finite resource management and navigate the interface with existing rulesets (from zoning and permitting to loans), motivating real tradeoffs in decision making that force interrogation of our values.
Thomas Franck (Fairness in International Law and Institutions, 1998) says that the conditions for fairness are most likely to be found when we have the following conditions: a sense of community, and moderate scarcity. Here we create community through the ongoing process of co-creation as peers, and (when we do it well!) we moderate the amount of scarcity through initial conditions, financial models, and participation architectures. By creating “communities of fate,” (Eugene Holland, Nomad Citizenship) we motivate critical inquiry, mutual support, active experimentation and the sharing of resources.
The physicality of place-based projects also creates a visceral, embodied experience of changing the rules: when we say "the rules are different here" that immediately translates into a lived experience.
SECRET NASA THINK TANK | OG HACKER PARTIES | WHEN THE WEB WAS COOL
The Embassy Network
The Embassy Network has been an informal collection of intentional communities since 2012, using space as a platform to experiment with new ways of organizing, making decisions and allocating resources.
A group of scientists and young space professionals realized that the domestic sphere has certain important qualities in common with research outposts and eventual settlements on other planets: small groups of people making decisions together over a shared domain. Far from being a blank slate, the seeds of future civilizations will be formed by the social norms and coordination mechanisms we develop today. If we truly want space to be a new chapter in human history, we need to get better at organizing ourselves on the original human settlement: Earth.
Red Victorian Experimental Hotel
INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY | AUTONOMOUS SPACE | EXPERIMENTAL HOTEL | SOCIAL OBSERVATORY | RADICAL LECTURE SERIES
We were in a documentary on new economies; this is a brief clip.
Open Collaborative Networks
This is a talk I gave in 2016 on the praxis of Open Collaborative Networks-- the nitty gritty of how they work on the inside, tools and practices to drawn on, and how this work continually informs our models of collaboration--using Embassy Network and Enspiral as case studies.