Sunday, March 30, 2008

Utopia - Part One

I want to build the greatest community this country has ever seen, and I want to do it in Texas.

First off, I don't want it to focus on and be built around a golf course - the world has an excess of those. However, I still plan to have a country club - only it will be for a racetrack. The indulgence of the community will be for driving fast cars fast.

That said, I hate commuting, so I want to to be structured around not needing a car to get by. Ideally, day-to-day travel can be done on foot or via public transportation. The details are still being worked out in my dementobrain. I want it far enough from municipalities that it can be run with HOA and deed restriction governing, but close enough for a bearable trip via light-rail or more preferably by bullet train into San Antonio and Austin (the trains ought to be equipped with WiFi to encourage the move out to my dreamland). 

I want the place to be a haven for car nerds and have ways of transporting cars that are not strictly street legal to and from the track(s). I want people to be close enough to each other to inspire a sense of community but still have that time-honored American need for some isolation. That and the transportation stuff is proving the most difficult to conceive.

I think that a lot of parks with easy access and easy monitoring would be a great alternative to lawns, if it can be executed properly. I want to be as self-sufficient with energy as possible with solar/wind fields incorporated into the community. I want a family-friendly, eco-conscious society that gravitates toward powersports. My motorsports complex would incorporate a wide variety of sports and be set up for large racing events to take place there. I would like to attract high-profile racing there to encourage the overall buildup of the place. I want it to be a visitor-friendly place that encourages learning in a hands-on way. I want to foster an environment of thinking and real community. Americans are terrible at community. The advantage of such a car-themed community would be a thread connecting the residents.

From the business side, I want to have timeshares and rentable storage next to the track to draw in visiting outsiders. I want the place to draw tourists and enthusiasts and their dollars for short stays. The motorsports park could be the largest of its kind in the world, and I would welcome virtually every form of racing short of NASCAR - maybe even drag-racing. 

I would invite universities and companies to compete in green competitions - either racing or parameter challenges (like mpg shootouts or zero-emissions endurance racing). 

In short, I plan to remedy most of America's problems in my uber-society. 

Thank you,


Jennifer said...

Ahh, Brian! One of the very few things we are in agreement on!! I have some ideas. One being, naturally, some SOUND PROTECTION from your racing! That's all on you; I know nothing about it. Ok, I read in a magazine about smaller, greener communities being built now that foster a sense of community like you are talking about. I don't remember a lot of the details, but one thing they seemed to have was a community garden. It was not huge. I imagine it as something that a block shared together. Smaller yards in front, and I think they actually all faced each other on a square, and in the center of the square was the garden? I don't know if that was in the magazine, but it is a FINE idea! Almost like mini town squares all in the neighborhood. Ooh, and we could have our own little city bus route from the Utopia to the shopping areas (which, due to the prolific racing attraction, get built close enough to bike or walk as well, of course). Man, I think I'm starting to channel Sesame Street. I think I can hear "Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood" in my mind :) Oh, by the way, there MUST be a swimming pool! I will not get on board without one! A splash park for the kids would be great, too. I know you are into homeschooling, but I will need schools in the area. You know what would be awesome? Driver's ed at the track! Kids could learn street driving AND race driving! I'm sure the insurance would be prohibitive, but that would rock. Um, my kids won't be allowed, just so you know. Claire can't walk across the floor without injuring herself. She just busted her face, gave herself a black eye, bit through her tongue, busted open her chin, and we THOUGHT she might have broken her nose (she didn't) in one solitary fall at my mom's house last week. Ok, back to Utopia. Architects are getting smart about changing living situations when they design homes. A greener choice would be homes that adapt from a childless couple to kids to teenagers to empty-nesters. I've seen designs that do it, though $ is always an issue. But, in deference to the green movement, wouldn't it be cool if the renovation costs (turning a home office into a bedroom and bathroom, etc.) were built into the mortgage, so as the changes came up, they were prepaid? Oh man, I know I'm dreaming, but it is Utopia, after all. Let's talk about it!

Brian said...

I love all of it - and I will comment sometime very soon when it is not almost midnight. You echoed many of my own thoughts!

Chanda said...

I had the best bread tonight for dinner. Whole wheat with nuts in it! Very moist too. I'm off to get on the treadmill, blah, and attempt to burn off all this bread. I know! I have an idea for your community! Let's power the Utopia with treadmill power--it will encourage exercise.

Jennifer said...

Chanda, in that case, our house will be candlelit. What is your favorite snack food? Also known as your greatest downfall. Mine, of course, is Coke. Candy next. I'm a sugar addict. Brian, can we have Coke machines on each block? The proceeds can fund something really community-minded that I have yet to think up. The treadmills, maybe.

Jennifer said...

FYI - I was just looking at my sister's "Cottage Living" magazine, and there's an article about a pocket neighborhood facing a courtyard, green, with commuting options, and it looked great! Now, add a racetrack!

Jennifer said...

Good luck on finals!!!