Author Topic: Community Infrastructure  (Read 2267 times)

Offline RE

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Community Infrastructure
« on: April 26, 2014, 05:00:20 AM »
The topic of Standard Dome Models brought up the issue of Community Infrastructure, which has not yet been well examined in terms of cost per unit, or how you Scale Up at any point in the development of a Sunstead or Rental Community.

It is pretty easy to figure your cost on one building with a few units parked on a street maintained currently by local Property Taxes, along with bringing in sewer and water lines and central electricity.

Once you start to think a bit bigger than just one unit or even a couple, you soon need to provide not just the buildings, but some kind of road system that you probably have to build.  Also, unless every unit has its own off grid power supply, you will need to bring Grid Power into the community.  Then there are the Water supply and Sewage disposal issues as well to deal with.

Obviously, all these factors vary depending where you choose to build, depending on the local Regulations and so forth.  For the Rental Communities, you definitely will need to Meet Code on all of these things, and this equally obviously drives up the prices.

So, some sort of Scaling table needs to be constructed here, on a spreadsheet likely, where you can plug in Local Regulations and costs to get an idea of how much it is going to cost if you put up 4 units or 8 or 80, and how far apart they all are.  When do you reach the point you need to provide a Privately built access road?  Does that road need to be paved, can you do with just gravel or even just a dirt road?  What are the ongoing maintenance costs for this?

Can we construct a spreadsheet which will factor in these costs and make a decent estimate?  It will impact seriously on the cost for Renting a Unit, since the bigger the community, the higher the ongoing maintenance costs will be for this besides the initial investment.

RE

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Community Infrastructure
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2014, 07:40:01 AM »
When do you reach the point you need to provide a Privately built access road?  Does that road need to be paved, can you do with just gravel or even just a dirt road?  What are the ongoing maintenance costs for this?
Considering that the only real alternative is on-street parking, you reach that point very quickly.  At what point it goes from a one-lane driveway to a two-lane road becomes a little murkier.  This depends not just on the number of units but on the car density.  At Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, they have 4 cars for over 70 people.

Most options will work for most situations.  The big tradeoff is the lower the initial cost, the higher the maintenance cost.  Dirt roads are pretty cheap, they just need cleared off and graded, but this generally needs to be done yearly.  Gravel roads just need the additional step of laying down gravel.  As stones sink into the dirt or get flung off, gravel needs to be replaced, usually a couple times a decade.  Paved roads are more expensive, but as long as they're well-drained underneath and don't have heavy trucks driving on them, they can go quite a few years with just being resealed.  The most durable option, which you didn't mention, is bricks.  They basically last forever, with the caveat that they don't stay level for nearly that long.  It makes for a bumpy ride, but less slick in the winter, which is why you generally only see them now on steep hillsides.  In an age of decline, however, brick roads will hold up far longer than any other option.



See also Green Streets in A Pattern Language.

Offline RE

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Re: Community Infrastructure
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 05:28:49 PM »
With the Rental Communities, at least until the Gas disappears completely, I figure about half the people would have carz.  You could eliminate a lot of roadway by putting  a Carport/Parking Lot near the public road and all walking/biking inside the community.  However, for the former middle class folks retiring to one of these places, that would be a big step down.  If you can still provide these creature comforts just in downsized dwellings, that would appeal to more people.

The sewage and electrics you really can't do without and still meet code in most places.  Providing enough Off grid power would be very expensive.  Running electric power cords to buildings very spread out, also expensive.  So here it really demands you keep the structures close together to cut down on cost.

RE