Bobby, there is a group looking to build a community in Texas that I believe would be interested in a Sola Roof project. They have a strong Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/
They have a vision statememt that I can share:
They used to have a wiki but it seems that something happened to their wiki website. I looked at and interacted with plans on the old website about a Land Based Community that Luf is hoping to develop in Texas - but the webpages are gone now: http://www.luf.org/
Below I have quoted some of the Luf LBC that I found at: http://www.distant-star.com/issue13/jan_2001_briefing.htm - Sola Roof Guy
5. Help one person move to the Austin area
The idea is to make the next step in building SEE. The idea for SEE is to make a minimal start on building communities by starting on land. (I'll address why I think that this is the next step for a land based community separately.) Just what help might be needed would depend heavily on who was moving.
The project would support the goal of advancing SEE by
- being able to begin some small construction on the land
- being able to recruit from people already living in the area
- providing a clear place for people who want to try an LBC to gather
[from William Gale]
During the meeting, there was also discussion of developing a land-based colony. William Gale discussed this and the ideas and past activities regarding SEE, the "Space Environments Ecovillage" in Bastrop, Texas, in a subsequent email:
Incremental Start on a land-based community (LBC)
Ingrid's vision of how to move the LUF forward includes a land-based community as a central part. In effect, if we are to consider intentionally building communities at sea or in space, we need practice and a lot of skills. Communities at sea or in space would also require a lot of money, and it is now clear that the millions of dollars required for such ventures are not likely to be available to us until we have a much better understanding of just what is required.
A land-based community, on the other hand would be very much cheaper. A rough estimate for a low cost start for five people is about $90,000. This is in the low end of the price range for houses and a lower price start is not likely. However, it may be that we are marketing this entirely wrong. Maybe we should examine high-class starts that would cost perhaps $250,000 per family. In either case, the amount is well below the hundreds of millions that a floating city would cost.
The location of a land-based community does not need to be in Bastrop County, Texas. However, it will not suffice for one person to just say, "an LBC is starting where I am." What is needed is for one person to move somewhere specifically to establish an LBC. The process we want to model is building communities at sea or in space to which *everyone* would need to move. If there are too few people willing to move to make these ideas work, we need to know that.
In considering places, Bastrop County was chosen for the three following features. First, the only building code is for waste disposal. We would like to be able to mix residence and business, and we would like to be able to try non-traditional forms of building. If there is a building code, then these can usually be managed, but they require a lot of initial working with local bureaucracies. Most states in the US have statewide building codes. There are some other states besides Texas that do not. Many counties in states without state-wide building codes do have County building codes. Travis County (where Austin is located) does have a building code, for instance.
Second, Bastrop is within commuting distance of a city with a population exceeding a half million. This means that people who want to move to the area are likely to be able to find a job there. It helps that Austin has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but this was not a selection criterion. This size is helpful both in the stage before the first person moves to the land and after the community is started, because it makes it easier for people to move to the area.
Third, multiple acres of land are available within a one hour commuting distance. This requirement appears to eliminate cities whose population exceeds about one million.
Phil suggested that building even one shed might make SEE more attractive to move to by providing direct evidence of general LUF support. This seems to me a good suggestion. The question is on timing I think that any building needs a person near enough to check it out every week or two, or else there is likely to be vandalism. Agreeing to help put up a storage shed immediately after a person moved to a location might be part of helping them to move, however. Thus I see the person moving as first and key; a building, even a shed, as a possible approximately simultaneous enhancement.
One person deliberately moving to a location to start an LBC would enable several further steps. First, one person would be enough local support to put up one or more storage sheds, because the sheds could be checked frequently enough to significantly reduce the possibility of vandalism. Second, it would enable recruiting from people already living in the area. If the huge majority of residents turned out to be from the local area, the process of forming remote communities would need rethinking. Third, if one person moves to a place selected as a likely place for an LBC, it should fix the place where the LUF would focus attention on nourishing an LBC. As it is, even with considered reasons for selecting Bastrop County and having land purchased there for the purpose of an LBC, the location of an LBC has been brought up for discussion. So long as there is no specific location, very little else can be accomplished. Building a community is heavily dependent on local specifics and especially local people and services that we would be needing to get started. We certainly do not have the knowledge from even one LBC to clone copies.