Solaqua

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Listserve: http://lists.ourproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/sarapis-solaqua


Vision & Prospects

The ideas contained in this section are a rough sketch based on convergence of several interested parties and plans. It is an open proposal for review and collaboration.

Solaqua seeks to be a platform for research and demonstration of systemic socio-cultural transition--upcycling the detritus of consumption economics towards generosity of abundant co-production--on a small but compelling and holistic scale.

Solaqua explores avenues to open source eco-social vitality. It is a broad vision, with strong links to active "placemaking" and sustainable habitation on the ground and in community. The project aims to connect overlooked or castaway assets with networked capacities for enterprise, artistry, and community organizing, to achieve equitable wealth and resilient culture.

Key elements of the process at hand include:

  • convene core team of vision-stewards and coherence-holders
  • partner with existing stakeholders and other aligned entities / individuals
  • foster sustainable income streams or endowment to defray operational costs
  • invest in guest/worker housing and food production / processing on site
  • community (local and online) outreach, enlistment, and crowd(re)sourcing
  • peer-learning and vocational training via entrepreneurial maker-space
  • Community Land Trust planning as a long-term stewardship program

These elements are included in modular, replicable, synergistic form--a living systems organismic approach to social change. The process is cyclical and self-reinforcing based on demonstrated positive impact.

Proposed Development Tracks

  1. Site improvements and renovation
  2. Workspace and equipment
  3. Sustainable food systems
  4. Efficient, modular, mobile housing
  5. Media, networking, crowdsourcing
  6. Small enterprise development
  7. Immersive learning programs
  8. Hacker-maker member space
  9. Local community engagement
  10. Open Source Ecology GVCS startup


Organizational Forms

  1. Solaqua 501(c)3 non-profit maintains site access and oversight
  2. Non-profit partners help to initiate and sustain programs via outreach and finance
  3. Social enterprise co-op of long-term productive commercial participants
  4. Informal online community network of contributors and fans
  5. Individual and group projects of shorter duration

Background & Status

Solaqua is a non-profit umbrella organization for a range of progressive community development initiatives at a decommissioned industrial mill site in eastern New York State's Hudson Valley. It is presently a place- and vision-holding entity, with the potential for collaborative activation and partnership toward innovative peer-economy and Open Enterprise ventures, along with ongoing stewardship roles for creative projects in arts, culture, ecology, and community. The Solaqua mill site is the current operating base of the Emerging Leader Labs community-supported enterprise incubation program.

The site consists of extensive covered workspace in various states of use and/or disrepair. There is presently an active alternative energy and building efficiency contracting company with large insulated warehouse and workshop, and a mail-order magnetics and green appliances manufacturing business. There is significant undeveloped land on an adjoining parcel that may provide basic habitat systems for seasonal work-trade residents, including agricultural production. Forest products, solar power, and clean water are abundant on the land.

Current activities (as of April, 2013) include a website overhaul, implementation of a "space grant" program to effect constructive use of the facilities by aligned projects, and organizing for expanded volunteer operations during the spring season to gain momentum and establish capacity for larger grant funding opportunities beyond. Status reports and avenues for support or engagement will be increasingly available through the new website portal.

References

Ingenio Santa Ana OSE Documentation is a good example of how an industrial facility can contribute to the OSE project.

http://www.mif.co.uk/event/the-biospheric-project is moving forward on a similar track in the UK.