Post collapse retreat: What size town is ideal and how far from major cities?

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fiorgodx's picture
fiorgodx
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Post collapse retreat: What size town is ideal and how far from major cities?

 When originally preparing for a post collapse I envisioned creating an inpenetrable bunker where you and your small group survive with no contact with the outside world. After hearing/reading Chris' stuff, I've been converted to the camp that you need a community to survive. So here are my questions:

What population size for a town is ideal? Too big and there will be many strangers with mouths poking around for food. Too small and you lack a lot of professions and diversity that will be important. What is a good sized town in numbers (i.e. 500 people, 1,000 people, 5,000?)

How far from major cities is ideal? Is 2 hours enough to avoid the Golden Horde or is 3-4 hours more prudent?

I realize the default answer will be "well it depends on you and what you're comfortable with!" but I'm curious on your opinions.

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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explore other possible outcomes

For one, I would say that you might be a little fixated on just one possible outcome: the big collapse scenario, or more specifically the (near) total disintegration of high level political, social, and economic infrastructures.  It is certainly a possibility, but not the only one we should look out for.  The only thing we can be close to certain about was probably said best by Chris.... expect that things (our society, economy, and lives) will get simpler (I'm paraphrasing).  That could cover a range from total breakdown on one end of the scale to a Japan-style 'lost decade(s)' of grinding economic recession on the other end.  A strategy ideal for one may not be good for the other.  For example, if the governments (federal and state) are feeling the economic pinch of a depression, instead of seeing an all-around implosion it is very likely we'd instead see a policy of triage where certain cities or regions receive money and resources while other "less important" or more remote or less populated regions receive very little.  Depending on your profession or lifestyle this may impact you greatly if you relocate to the boonies, as certain job and business opportunities will dry up.  So while there could be a great big KaBoom of collapse like you envision with people fleeing the cities, consider the other possibilities too when planning for the future. 

As for me I figure the truth will end up somewhere in the middle, perhaps with a steadily decaying political and economic infrastructure interspersed with sporadic episodes of chaos and turmoil throughout much of the country (and the world in general for that matter).  So I'm less concerned about distance from a major city than I am with the makeup and character of the town or city in which I live and the area around it.  Our most recent town of residence in the US is a town of around 8,000 a little less than an hours' drive from Anchorage Alaska.  I personally find it to be a good balance because my town has all the services I require (not necessarily all that I want, but that's ok), part of it's economy is based on local agriculture, there is a sense of community there, and on the occasions where I wish to go into the city there are multiple options where I can do so in an hours' time.  As for our next area of residence, that happens to be a city of about 1 million people in central Asia.  Why such a big city?  Well the city is a largely cash-based economy (not overburdened with debt, personal or otherwise) where there are good long-term economic opportunities that we want to explore, it is a place where we have family and friends, it possesses a less complex infrastructure and economy, it's not nearly as reliant on personal autos for getting around as most US cities, and for the most part the people are more family-oriented and not strangers to hardship or the School of Hard Knocks.  There's no guarantee such a place will weather the storm and go on to prosper, but looking at the probabilities I'm guessing there's a fair-to-good chance.  So small town or big city, either might play a part in a successful future plan.

Anyway, just use your imagination and explore other possible outcomes and pick the strategy that covers them all (or rather, the most likely and the most severe) the best.  Any place (big or small) with strong sense of community will probably do better than most whatever the specific outcome happens to be, so if that's what you're pursuing it'll be hard to go wrong with that!

- Nickbert

 

 

deck.hazen's picture
deck.hazen
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No idea what the ideal town size is - but

the place we're headed has a population of about 1200 people and is about 3 hours by car from the nearest city.  The other side of a  farming area would be a good choice.  Hungry desperate people may head out that way, but an astute farmer would know how to put them to work and pay them in food which might create a buffer for you. 

I'm thinking it will be best to get there before the collapse (we're headed out this year) so we can get to know the people we will be entrusting with our lives and they can get to know us.  I think it will take at least a couple of years to learn how to grow food, provide our own medical care, and learn how to whittle wooden sticks down to toothpicks.   I'm retired, but I hope to get some kind of work that brings me into town on a regular basis and my wife and I plan to sign up for a few volunteer activities.

I think, more important than the numbers is the "feel" of the place.  Check out the "Transitioin Town" initiatives in the area you fancy (http://www.transitionus.org/initiatives-map) - many of these folks will have joined up because they saw the writing on the wall.

And, with all due respect to Nickbert, while the "total collapse" model is just one of the options, it's probably the worst I'd prefer to be prepared for it.  So, in spite of my long-standing opposition to guns and the NRA, when I head for the hills, I'll be packin' heat. (after having received proper training and licensing of course)

That's my take on it anyway,

           - Deck

 

 

 

fiorgodx's picture
fiorgodx
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Thanks guys. Any advice on

Thanks guys. Any advice on how to figure out what areas are simpler/more self reliant/tight-knit? I'm considering relocating to another state altogether and it's a tough thing to try to figure out when most of the country is a possibility. Tranisition Towns are a good start though.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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 an interresting read on

 an interesting read on choosing a location    http://www.survivalblog.com/retreatareas.html  

  FM

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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A third choice

You've heard from others who advocate small towns or farming communities, and that's a good option if you can afford it, but there are those who are stuck in cities or prefer to live on the edges of small cities, or like me, on the edge of suburbia and farm country. If  you have marketable skills in a post SHTF world, that might be a viable ooption.

I chose a place in the bible belt where people are generally kind to their neighbors, hard-working and closer to the land; everyone deals locally and a man's (or woman's) word is as good as his/her bond. A number of churches here are feeling the "call" to prep for what's coming.

For me, an ideal community has large yards with small homes--easier to heat and "cool" (read: ventillate)--arable land (since we want to grow what we cannot trade for), and is not further away from a small (no more than 100,000-person) trading center by foot, bicycle, horse or biodielsel vehicle. It should have extensive railroads for shipping (very efficient, those rails), and a lot of farmer's markets and flea markets to set up shop.

Cities of up to 1 million have flourished in the pre-pertroleum age and small ones should be able to do so, post collapse.

fiorgodx's picture
fiorgodx
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 Ah I've read plenty of

 Ah I've read plenty of Rawles stuff, most of it very good, but I like Chris Martenson's philosophy of creating bonds and community rather than isolation and paranoia that Rawles seems to embrace. I'm an east coaster and can't make it out west because I want to be driving distance to my family, so his state by state guide has little use to me unfortunately. I wish he'd expand his thinking to areas other than western states for the benefits of his readers.

Another issue I have with him is a too-exclusive sentiment towards non Christians. I was raised Catholic but am not practicing. That doesn't make me a bad person. In his novel Patriots there were basically two types of people - Good gun-toting Christians and evil cannibalistic communist biker looters. It was very cartoonish and distracted me from the good lessons actually built into the book.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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fair enough

 fair enough ... good luck  where ever you settle .

  FM

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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deck.hazen wrote: And, with
deck.hazen wrote:

And, with all due respect to Nickbert, while the "total collapse" model is just one of the options, it's probably the worst I'd prefer to be prepared for it.  So, in spite of my long-standing opposition to guns and the NRA, when I head for the hills, I'll be packin' heat. (after having received proper training and licensing of course)

Understood.  I have chosen to address that possibility in my Plan B ("bug-out plan") as opposed to my Plan A, which by definition means we can't be as prepared for that eventuality as those who address it in their choice of primary residence.  But we feel the potential opportunities present in other possible outcomes and the proximity to family make it worth trying.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.

- Nickbert

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