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Ecovillages and Land Endowments

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An overview of ways that a new generation of EcoVillages can lead in the transition to post-work, sustainable, and convivial communities. (Presented to the August 11-12, 2017 Startup Societies Summit in San Francisco)

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Ecovillages and Land Endowments

  1. 1. Ecovillages and Land Endowments A path for seeding free and sustainable communities Mark Frazier Startup Societies Summit, California Openworld Villages www.openworldvillages.org
  2. 2. First …What is your dream community?
  3. 3. Let’s explore how we can create places that are – • Free • Inspiring • Convivial • Healthy • Secure • Sustainable
  4. 4. Overview of what we’ll cover 1. Why Openworld Villages was created 2. The coming disruptions 3. How Ecovilages can flourish in a post-work economy 4. Securing reforms and land endowments 5. Next steps
  5. 5. Why we formed Openworld Villages Our aim: to help voluntary communities awaken assets in success-sharing ways • Dave Vanderveer, White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat • Fred Oesch, cofounder, The Quarries Ecovillage • Mark Frazier, president of Openworld
  6. 6. Inspirations for my startup community interests Emotional – Epic stories Intellectual – Free market thinkers Alvin Rabushka: “Free zones are a way to pork barrel freedom. When favor-giving by politicians is close to ruining an economy, the last kind of favor they can give is an exemption from their predations.” Actual– New Country projects
  7. 7. My free zone/startup community journey 1. Discovered new country projects via Reason (1969-1970) 2. Set up global competition to create a freeport for commercial space launches (1976-79) 3. Advised first free zones for information industries (1984- 2000) 4. Designed free zone reforms and concession agreements (1990-2004) 5. Spread Microvouchers to secure land grants for market-based schools (2001 – 2007)
  8. 8. The early recipe for free zone and startup city projects 1. Introduce public and private sector leaders to opportunities for rapid growth 2. Get agreement to pilot deep free market reforms in limited areas 3. Attract labor intensive industries by highlighting the wage gaps This formula was fine for scarcity-driven eras
  9. 9. Why change a recipe that has worked? We’re at the cusp of exponential innovation Marginal costs are trending towards zero Demand for massive workforces is dropping As careers fade, people are seeking quality of life
  10. 10. Forecast: Two thirds of today’s jobs may disappear
  11. 11. Old kinds of work are being upended 3D Printed Houses (built in 24 hours)
  12. 12. As old jobs fade, people are turning to online free markets 30+ million reputation- hungry freelancers are now active in global markets
  13. 13. Self-reliant living is becoming more affordable New tools for the DIY/Do It Ourselves Economy • Affordable solar • Automated microfarming • Desktop factories
  14. 14. Peter Diamandis and Steve Kotler – we’re heading into a market-created “Technological Socialism” Across industries, goods and services are moving to become: • Demonetized • Dematerizalized • Democratized “…technology – not the government or the state – will begin to take care of us. Technology will provide our healthcare for free. The best education in the world – for free.”
  15. 15. This torrent of change will disrupt old-style institutions and industries (including those in traditional free zones)
  16. 16. What kinds of startup communities will thrive in the coming era? John Robb on the recipe for decentralized “bot-enabled Edens” 1. Relocalize production 1. Virtualize everything else Resilient communities offering radical abundance
  17. 17. What next generation startup communities will offer • Free and near-free amenities for residents • Opportunities to do what members intrinsically value • A focus on wellness and harmony with nature • Conviviality attuned to the whole person • An “experience economy” of opportunities for learning and work-as-play
  18. 18. Why EcoVillages and other intentional communities? • As jobs go away, and physical needs are met, people will have more time for intrinsically fulfilling pastimes • Land values will fastest rise in the areas that offer highest quality of life alternatives to a failing status quo • Offering frictionless business climates in these areas will attract next generation investors and entrepreneurs
  19. 19. EcoVillages in the US are growing What are EcoVillages? • Intentional Communities formed for sustainable living • Typically, 30 – 300 full time residents • Emphasize alternative energy, conservation, community gardens, sharing of tools/equipment
  20. 20. Tiny house communities are also spreading What are tiny houses? • Capable of four season living • Typically, 200 to 400 square feet • Can be built permanently on site, or kept on wheels
  21. 21. Closeup – examples in the East Coast Village of Wildflowers (NC) Coral Sands Point Recreational Village (NC)
  22. 22. How to fund the new communities? AirBnb rentals
  23. 23. How to fund the new communities? Learning experiences
  24. 24. How to fund the new communities? Next Gen currencies • Network Access Tokens/ICOs created by developers of entrepreneurial communities (rights to visit or stay for periods of time) • Personal currencies issued by members (backed by peer guarantee networks)
  25. 25. Example: an early personal currency with “flex conversion”
  26. 26. Future “flex conversion” personal currencies? Blockchain recorded notes that can be redeemed for time-based services, cryptocurrencies, or all-inclusive stays in high quality of life areas
  27. 27. When the next financial crash comes, there will be an opportunity for a “land grab” by ecovillages and startup communities A new generation of Community Land Trusts and Endowment Zones – based on blockchain agreements – will be able to secure prime sites, awaken their value, and share benefits with all who participate.
  28. 28. Endowment Zones = Community Land Trusts with policy reforms to boost land values Endowment Zones are Community Land Trusts + comprehensive reforms to attract inflows of entrepreneurs, investors, and residents With world class reforms, 10x – 50x rises in property values are possible Lease revenues can be shared as “Growth Dividends” directly to residents on Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau precedents
  29. 29. What kind of asset-awakening reforms? • All governance systems on the blockchain • Removal of barriers to person-to-person exchange (Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, etc) • Tax relief for entrepreneurs and self-providing neighborhood associations (next generation HOAs) • Removal of zoning and building code barriers for new communities • Green light for innovations in transport, construction, health care, on-demand learning • Freedom for next generation R&D ventures
  30. 30. The challenge – How do we obtain land endowments and asset awakening reforms? We can “lead with a gift” – offering digital catalysts to improve life in areas where people are struggling…
  31. 31. Over 3000 years ago, Phoenician traders used gifts to establish the world’s first network of first economic zones
  32. 32. Lead With a Gift Toolkits Today, we can offer digital “gifts on a beach” – toolkits & resources to spread startup communities Civic Action Kit Personal Action Kit Public Sector Action Kit For residents – microvouchers to explore and access new learning, job, and stakeholding opportunities For civic groups – steps to awaken the value of idle lands (and share in these gains) For governmental bodies – examples of how to prosper by simplifying the investment climate
  33. 33. Actions that expand resource flows for local residents “Lead With a Gift” Support for Startup Communities Individuals Success-Sharing Startup Areas Entrepreneurial Schools Neighborhood Self-help Agreement on Reform Pilots 1. EcoVillage 2. Endowment Zone 3. Full-scale World City 5x 2x Learning Circles 10x 30x 100x Digital resources can help individuals break out of poverty via new access to online markets and success-sharing free zones. The Lead With a Gift Initiative will begin by offering microvouchers for students and jobseekers to improve skills. Those who do well will be offered starter project opportunities in online freelance markets, vouchers for free telemedicine resources, and help in crowdfunding drives for projects to improve their community. Local moves to map and remove barriers to investment will unlock further Lead With a Gift resources. As barriers fall, all who live in a Lead With a Gift partnering community are automatically vested with shares in land trust revenues from a prime site developed as a special economic zone. individual in an economically challenged area affirms an interest in exploring opportunities Learning circles are created with friends to map ideas for business startups or self-help ventures Entrepreneurial schools and telecenters help learners gain skills via local and online courses, and do reputation-building projects in freelance markets such as Freelancer.com or Fiverr.com Public officials acknowledge and support neighborhood self-help actions, and agree to lift barriers to investment at a pilot EcoVillage site Investors develop new site in phases (residents, schools, and a local voucher system hold shares in land trust revenue) Residents form or join neighborhood self-help groups, and record arbitration pledges, agreements on land boundaries, and/or steps to improve safety and appearance of the area Resource multipliers Microvouchers and other resources will grow in step with uploads of Youtube clips on local progress
  34. 34. How civic groups can benefit from a Local Action toolkit Each partnering civic group can choose freely among options in the Toolkit. For every progress milestone that a group reaches (and documents via video clips uploaded to Youtube), its members will receive a higher level of value in their Lead With a Gift bundle. Gifts can include free cell phone minutes, global calling cards, Internet access coupons, gifts of frequent flier miles, or microvouchers for further education and health care access.* Benefits also can be shared with friends and family. 3. Secure public sector backing 2. Move up the Ladder Land trusts and Endowment Zones generate revenues for local groups as barriers to investment are lifted on prime sites Lead With a Gift contests recognize exceptional civic groups ✔ 1. Understand Opportunities An online orientation Art and music festivals Cleanups/fix-ups, murals, and neighborhood beautification Pledges by members to arbitrate disputes Agreements among neighbors on valid land ownership Steps to improve neighborhood safety Proposing idle public sites for future land trusts/Endowment Zones Other options – creating covenant-based homeowner associations and proposing ways to cut local red tape *Groups also automatically receive a share in future land trusts and Endowment Zones activated on public lands
  35. 35. Public sector toolkits for transparent governance – To help improve the lives of citizens, civic groups, and businesses, we can offer free cell phone apps to propose ways of making local services more efficient. These apps can include examples of possible eGovernment solutions for cutting red tape and awakening the value of lands in new Endowment Zones that can fund projects chosen by residents.* Reducing red tape *Endowment Zones, in keeping with Singapore’s “flexiwage” (National Bonus) example, also can be a source of revenue for increasing public sector pay as investment conditions improve. All government forms on the web Automatic approvals unless specifically denied within a preset time period Inventory of idle public lands available for possible development as Community Land Trusts and Endowment Zones Green lane for online processing of licenses and permits Recording of neighborhood agreements on arbitration and on land boundaries
  36. 36. A “Lead with a Gift” package also can include virtual help for aligned localities, keyed to their progress in preparing conditions for startup communities Crowdfunding support for self- help projects
  37. 37. A global “Lead with a Gift” consortium can hold competitions to give special help to the best projects
  38. 38. In sum, a new market for startup communities is at hand • Entrepreneurial communities will vie to offer high quality of life experiences and havens for exponential technologies • Many of the new areas will enable their members to sojourn to affiliated startup communities around the world • Such areas will flourish as people exit from political and fiscal strains wracking today’s societies
  39. 39. Let’s go there! www.openworldvillages.org mark@openworldvillages.org 202.257.2574 A New Hanseatic League Openworld Villages

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