An ambitious project to design and develop a working model of the kind of family farmlet that could form the economic element of a social order based on the landshare system, which I proposed in the article entitled A Piece of Our Planet in Chapter 12 of The Lost Inheritance.
Unlike the suburban supermarket, which supplies a family's food on a weekly basis, a landshare supplies food according to an annual growing cycle. The landshare-based dwelling consequently has a purpose-built long-term food store, which is cool, dry, dark, clean, well-ventilated, easily accessible and large enough for a year's supply.
Unlike the suburban house, whose basic services are piped from the street, a landshare dwelling obtains its own water and energy directly from its immediate natural environment. It therefore has its own small-scale water extraction, purification and storage system. It also has its own cutting and storage facilities for firewood plus apparatus and storage tanks for extracting fuel oils from wood and oilseed crops. It also has its own facilities for generating and storing electricity. Finally it has a workshop to keep everything in working order.
Because of the dispersed nature of the landshare-based population, a landshare dwelling includes ample reception space and overnight accommodation for visitors. These are arranged in a way that preserves the privacy of the landshare family. The segregated locations of landshare dwellings allows almost unlimited scope for artistic diversity and technical innovation to be applied to their design.
My design for a landshare dwelling is based on a detailed activity analysis of family living. I make a formal Organisation and Methods study of all economic and cultural activities that take place within a landshare family. Then I design the landshare dwelling to be the optimal physical space within which these activities may take place.
The landshare plus the dwelling built within it constitute what I call a farmlet. Other elements of the farmlet are placed away from the main dwelling. Barns, grain stores, water and fuel tanks, wind and solar generators, battery tanks, vehicle accommodation and workshops all have their places somewhere on the gleba within which the farmlet is located. Everything is aesthetically designed to blend in with the natural environment. Nature's shapes tend to prefer roundness rather than squareness. My preference, therefore, is to make use of the geometric shapes such as cylinders, ellipsoids and toroids in the design of a landshare dwelling.
Within the present-day economy, the construction of a landshare-based dwelling, as described, would not be a practical proposition. Its geometry is way beyond the scope of present domestic building technology. Its complex water, fuel, electrical and all the other systems would be too expensive to manufacture. Also, today's farm machinery is designed for large-scale farm operations. It would be neither practical nor affordable for use on the scale of a family gleba. However, within a landshare-based economy, appropriate design, flexible technology, standardization of components and interfaces, coupled with universal demand, would make all these things fully available and affordable.
Notwithstanding, I herein attempt to create a design for a real demonstration model of a futuristic landshare-based farmlet.