John Robb writes that communities should deliver income to its residents, rather than just levying taxes and fees to provide services. Communities that don’t produce additional income seem like design failures, Robb adds.
I agree, given alone the potential productive uses of public land and orphaned space in most communities.
He offers some community income strategies:
- Take the Johnny Appleseed approach. Get a productive business started and set up a community co-op to manage the costs and the benefits. If you don’t know, Johnny Appleseed was a classical Yankee entrepreneur (which is very different than the financialized poseurs we have today). He started hundreds of orchard co-ops.
- Build a community around a working farm. My friend Simon Black is building a resilient community in Chile from scratch, that I’m advising him on. Every plot in this Chilean community is part owner of the farm it is built around. This resilient community is being built to bounce back from a hard (economic and infrastructure) collapse in the northern hemisphere. If you want to get more information on this community, you can sign up here.
- Make it a community service. Use vacant public land and underutilized facilities to build services that reduce expenses for community residents. For example, the town of Totnes (in the UK) planted 186 nut trees around the town to provide an extra source of food for residents. For more, see this video on the project.