Landshare Project: Basic Requirements

Under the complex convoluted land-laws of a sovereign state, is it possible to acquire space for a landshare-based gleba and scape it into a working example of a futuristic farmlet? Yes, but only within a jurisdiction which will afford and guarantee the following freedoms.

A landshare equips each individual on this planet with the direct means of turning his work into his needs and luxuries of life. A person's landshare fulfils his psycho­logical and recreational needs as well as his economic and physical ones. A land­share is a virtual concept. A gleba is a physical one. A number of landshares are combined to form a gleba.

A gleba provides a place for a group or family to live and to generate their needs of life. To be able to fulfil this function, a gleba must be equipped with living and work­ing facilities, turning it into what we shall call a farmlet. The work carried out within a farmlet can be intellectual and industrial, as well as agricultural.

So far, all has been theory. A theory must be tested. To test the feasibility of "Land­share World", it is necessary to create a working model of a farmlet. This must be complete with its sustainable technology facilities and be occupied by a "family" of landshare dwellers who are living according to the prescribed system of rights and duties.

If this works, then other such farmlets could be spawned to form an intentional community of around 50 farmlets. This could then perhaps give rise to the form­a­tion of other landshare-based communities.

Currently, there exists no habitable place on this planet that is beyond the juris­dic­tion of one of the 193 sovereign states. Each state has its own laws to regulate the ownership and use of its land. All such laws are essentially incompatible with the con­cept of the personal landshare. Consequently, any working model of a land­share based farmlet, will be forced to interface with an incompatible system of law.

Currently, therefore, it is necessary to encase any landshare-based farmlet, or com­munity of such farmlets, within an adaptive shell through which it can interact com­patibly with its host jurisdiction. But adaptation has limits. There are certain mini­mum physical and legal requirements that must exist in order for a landshare-based farmlet and its socio-economic adapter to be able to function. The require­ments will be considered for a 2-person farmlet.

Physical Requirements

The first requirement is a contiguous piece of land. This must be large enough to accommodate a circular gleba the size of two landshares. The experimental gleba must include all four land types — arable, grassland, forest and mountain. Its ideal location would therefore be an area of reasonably flat forest. One third is cleared to grassland containing a small arable area, while another third is landscaped with rocks to represent the mountainous portion. In the process of landscaping, forest and top-soil must be initially removed and later replaced.

The gleba needs to be located in a natural setting that is conducive to researching the landshare lifestyle. This requires a rural location. It must be located away from the influence of any city, large suburban area or existing rural habitations. It must be accessible and have unencumbered right of access for people and vehicles.

Because of the particular nature of this research, the experimental gleba should be in an area with a well watered tropical climate. This should be moderated by an ele­vation of 500 to 1000 metres. Such a climate will enable work to be done comfort­ably outside all the year round. It will also allow people to see the operational farm­let in its ambient state at any time.

Concept of a 2-hectare circle of land whose degree of 'private ownership' is inversely proportional to radial distance. Under a benign tropical climate, the area a of a personal landshare should be reduced from the global median. However, this farmlet is being cre­ated to illustrate the landshare principle. It should therefore be the full size, a of the global median, as defined in the article A Piece of Our Planet. This gives each inhabitant the right to a virtual land­share of 1 hectare. Since there will be two inhabit­ants, the physical gleba itself will be 2 hectares. A parcel of land is therefore re­quired into which it is possible to fit, and land­scape, a circular gleba, as shown on the right.

Owing to the presence of mountains, undulations, rivers and valleys in many parts of this planet, it would never be possible for everybody to have a circular gleba. Nor is this even desirable. Many other shapes are good. In some cases, elliptical glebas might be better. In mountainous regions, glebas the shape of a boomerang would probably fit into the contours of the landscape better. For the experimental farmlet, however, a circular gleba is preferable because this makes it easier to demonstrate the concept. In general, though, the circle should be regarded merely as a logical configuration rather than a physical one.

Design Considerations

Within the experimental circular gleba, it is necessary to accommodate the 4 basic land types in their correct proportions as previously discussed in A Piece of Our Planet.

Concept and constitution of a tri-gleba for a futuristic farmlet.

Conveniently, the proportions are very approximately a third mountain and wild­er­ness, a third forest and a third grass + arable. So perhaps a bit of "designer's lice­nce" could be invoked here to morph the 2-hectare "logical" circle into 3 equal cir­cles that touch each other to form the kind of cloverleaf shape shown above.

Aerial view of tri-gleba farmlet with eco-residence and storage silos. An example of how this may be done is shown on the right. The 3 large green circles make up the 2-hectare extent of the gleba. One is landscaped to represent mountain and wilderness. Another is for­ested. The third is grassland. Within these three large circles, clustered around the dwelling unit at the centre of the gleba, are 3 smaller circles. The yellow one is a circle of cerial crops. The brown one is a circle of vegetable crops. The third circle is a fresh water lake. The yellow and green crop circles together add up to just under 12% of the area of the gleba.

The three major circular lobes of the gleba do not need to be exactly circular. They could, for example, be warped slightly towards the shape of a clover leaf. They should not, however, be distorted too much. Their shapes should be somewhere in between that of a circle and that of a clover leaf.

The permanent crop area of the gleba is 12% of the gleba. But 11% of the Planet's habitable land is arable. The size of the gleba is based on a landshare size equiv­alent to half that obtained by dividing the Planet's total habitable land by its total human population. On this basis, 22% of the gleba should be allocated for cultiva­tion. An extra 10% of the gleba must therefore be cultivated on a rotational basis. This additional area will be moved around from time to time within the boundaries of the gleba.

View of a futuristic tri-gleba farmlet from an elevation of 20 degrees.

The idea is to create within the gleba a sustainable farmlet. A view of what such a farmlet may look like is given in the image above, which was generated by PovRay. This view of the farmlet is from a 20° elevation showing the integrated 6-node dwelling unit at the centre with the set of 3 silos standing just beyond each crop circle. Access to the farmlet is by radial roads. The dwelling is of a futuristic design, using materials produced by natural non-industrial processes.

Legal Requirements

Wherever on this planet the pilot gleba will be located, it will obviously fall within the territory and jurisdiction of a State. Its acquisition and conditions of use will there­fore be determined by the laws of that State, the bye-laws of its local munici­pality and the terms and conditions of the contract of sale and purchase through which it is acquired.

Laws of a State and the terms of a contract mostly comprise prohibitions and obli­g­a­tions. In specifying the legal form of this piece of our planet I have inverted the view. Here I specify the rights and permissions required with regard to the land. The laws of a particular State and the terms of a particular contract of sale and pur­chase can then be examined to see if they grant the necessary rights and perm­issions. If they do not, one must look elsewhere.

Size: The "landsharers" in this experiment must have the freedom to be able to buy a contiguous piece of rural land of the required area. Hence, within the State in which the land lies, it must be legal to sell and to buy (to trade) an integral piece of rural land this size. If the prevailing law specifies a minimum size for an integral piece of rural land that can be legally traded, then that minimum size must be less than or equal to the size required. In Brazil, for instance, the minimum size of a piece of rural land that can be separately traded is called a módulo rural. In the State of Minas Gerais, the size of the módulo rural is 2 hectares. Here, therefore, the "landsharers" would have to acquire 1 or 2 módulos rurais to accommodate the pilot gleba, depending on the shape of the available plot.

Ownership: The prevailing law must allow a rural gleba to be bought and owned absolutely and exclusively by a limited liability entity (pessoa jurídica) in which each of the two "landsharers" has an equal half-share. Since this pessoa jurídica will not trade for profit, prevailing law must allow it to incorporate as a Non-Govern­ment Organization (NGO). Preferably, the gleba should be a privately owned piece of rural land that is not associated with any other entity. However, a private ele­ment of a "rural condominium" might possibly be able to fulfil the requirement. This, however, requires that a "rural condominium" can exist in law within the juris­diction con­cerned and that its rules and regulations do not stifle or interfer with any of the land­sharers' required freedoms.

Construction: In some rural areas, prevailing law permits crop planting and con­struction in only a specified proportion of the total area of a private plot of land. In a particular area "of outstanding natural beauty" that I know, crop planting and con­struction are permitted in only 40% of the total area of a plot. The other 60% must be left as natural forest or vegetation. Such a restriction is acceptable. How­ever, within the 40%, the "landsharers" must have complete freedom to plan and const­ruct the landscape and the buildings. They must also have complete freedom to construct and maintain all roads and pathways inside the gleba, including any that facilitate public or communal rights of way.

Water: The gleba must have adequate rainfall to support forest and crops. It must also have an aquifer (or water table) at a depth within which a pipe-well can be drilled using only a single truck-based drilling rig. The "landsharers" then require complete freedom, without price, to:

  1. obtain water directly from surface sources and rainfall,
  2. drill a well-pipe to obtain artesian water and
  3. process waste generated within the gleba.

These activities are part of the landsharers' research project. The "landsharers" must not be charged or taxed for any external water supply or sewage services that they do not want or need.

Minerals: The experiment is not concerned with other subterranean resources, but the "landsharers" must be free to include in their research the use of any that hap­pen to be there.

Energy: A large part of the research project will be concerned with alternative means of producing usable energy. The "landsharers" therefore require the free­dom to exploit — in a sustainable way — all renewable energy sources present within the gleba. These include:

  1. the direct solar flux, wind and moving water
  2. energy stored in wood and bio-mass and
  3. energy from combustible waste.

The "landsharers" must have the freedom to extract, store and use this energy without restriction, charge or tax. They must not be charged or taxed for any exter­nal energy supply services that they do not want or need.

Vegetation: The experimental gleba must either have natural trees growing there already, or have soil capable — when watered if necessary — of growing both trees and crops appropriate to the climate. Whatever the "landsharers" grow will be on a very small scale. However, they must have the freedom to grow whatever they decide within the permitted fraction of the gleba, excluding, of course, plants that are cultivated specifically to produce illegal substances.

Any contract of sale and purchase must be compatible with these requirements.

NEXT PREV © Feb 2004, July 2007, Oct 2012 Robert John Morton