Where to live?

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davidm's picture
davidm
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Where to live?

 Hi again,

We have been looking to buy a house or land to build a house before I saw the CC. With this new information I am rethinking it.

My ideal house would be in a spacious northern California town, populated by progressive, liberal thinkers, on  an acre of fertile land (or sharing a community farm, close to town, with an active well that could be manually pumped, full insulation with good roof overhangs and ample thermal mass, a full array of photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water, a windmill and a stream with mini hydo. An electric vehicle and electric tools. And a food storage cellar.

This is pretty much a guess. My most immediate question is does it pay to move to California? We like where we are in western Massachusetts. But I don't want to be hungry and cold. I don't even know if northern California wells can sustain agriculture without imported water. I do know it is a lot sunnier there for solar power.

I don't really know how to start researching this question of where to live in a post oil age. I got a book called strategic relocation by Joel Skousen, but it doesn't really address this issue in a practical way. Does anyone know any good resources? Anyone care to share your thoughts on the type of environments, communities, and places that might make sense? (Our family is all over, but more in the east.)

Thanks!

David

 

GiraffeOK's picture
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Re: Where to live?

Sharon Astyk has some intersting observations in her article "Adapting in Place - And When Not To" here: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/03/03/adapting-in-place-and-when-not-to/ - more about *whether* to move than *where* to move.

Let us know if you find that ideal spot...you're likely to have a lot of neighbors from this board!

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Re: Where to live?

 Thanks, Giraffe!

That was helpful and just the kind of thing I'm looking for. I guess people have survived most everywhere long before fossil fuel. I'm one of the ones torn between places and without strong community in any one place. 

I'd love a post-oil perspective on the different regions of the US, examining core issues like agriculture, water, alternative energy, transportation and other resources. I imagine this kind of thing will be coming if it's not already out there. 

But I liked the perspective in the link you posted! That might be more the point.

David

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Re: Where to live?
davidm wrote:

I'd love a post-oil perspective on the different regions of the US, examining core issues like agriculture, water, alternative energy, transportation and other resources. I imagine this kind of thing will be coming if it's not already out there. 

Hey DavidM --

Certainly Cali is an attractive option in many ways.  Something to consider is post-crash or post-oil, California is going to be chock-full of people who've migrated there from out of the rest of the dry Southwest.  I'm in upstate-ish NY, and one of the reasons my wife & I are adapting in place -- apart from the effort we've put into this place already -- is that the winters will make it inhospitable for people to simply show up and squat/start from scratch.  Surely, there are challenges involved w/the weather (surviving the cold, shorter growing seasons, etc.) but at the same time I believe they'll likely make the NE an unattractive option for the Lurching Masses once the S begins to HTF.  

By the same token, because the environment is challenging, I believe that people are more likely to cooperate in important ways.  I'm not saying that won't be true of N.Cali/Oregon/Washington states, but all those people in San Diego/LA/Vegas/Phoenix are going to (try and) go somewhere -- and IMO it won't be Tegucigalpa...  

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Where to live?

 Great point, Sager. Thanks. That makes sense. There were a lot of people going to CA during the dust bowl days and many did not fare well I suppose...

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Juvysen
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Re: Where to live?

I'm also in upstate NY, and planning to stay in the north east. 

Learn how to preserve food.  So you won't be hungry AND cold ;) 

I'm looking into ways i can change my house so that it will make better use of the sun for heat.  That is, passive solar.  So, you could look into building/buying a place in your current area that has passive solar heat and good insulation so that you can heat it minimally with just a small wood stove or such.  There's lots of information out there on this sort of efficient use of the sun for heat if you do some searches on google.  Other ideas - earth berming, straw bale construction...

At least the north east makes it easy to do water collection from your rooftop...

The food growing season can be extended quite a bit (even winter gardening is do-able) via hoop greenhouses and such.  Potatoes, apples, carrots, and squash can be stored well through the winter and I don't know about where you are, but where I am there's an abundance of deer (although, who knows when that will change).  You can also raise rabbits/chickens, etc for food in the winter.  Also, the northeast has a decent small-farm infrastructure, which will definitely be helpful should TSHTF. 

I should read the sharon astyk article... maybe she covered all that (probably).

JMO

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Re: Where to live?

California has some very serious budget problems these days.  And, a drought. 

becky

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Re: Where to live?

I have friends who moved to California decades ago when they first married.  Since retiring they have uprooted to Oregon because its too expensive to remain in California.  In fact, Oregon is being populated by many Californians for the same reason. 

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Re: Where to live?

You might want to consider a couple of areas in North Carolina. We have four seasons, including the occasional snow or ice storm, but winters are relatively mild. We've had droughts, but nothing like out west. Asheville has a thriving local economy/sustainability movement, as well as an active arts community and gorgeous scenery. Less well known is the Chatham/Orange County area just west of Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park area. It is a magnet for sustainable farming, biofuels production and self-sufficient living. There's even a local currency! For a first hand account, check out the book "Small is Possible" by Lyle Estill, a local entrepreneur.

If you're not familiar with the South except through the media stereotypes, you may be surprised that there are progressive, liberal communities here.

 

 

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Help!! Relocate to NC??

Hello all!

I was going to start a new thread but, I thought this may be better to revive this one.

I have an opportunity to take a transfer OUT of New England to North Carolina. Specifically, New Bern (or vicinity). I am going down in a couple weeks to "interview" but that is a formality. From phone calls I have had with them explaining their situation, I am EXACTLY the person they are looking for. Same company, same benefits, different location.

My positive thoughts for going: Long growing season, small community, near the ocean with plenty of boating. (Think fishing) NO snow. My company would move me so I am not worried about that. Employment is as secure there as it is here in my field. The local retirement community actually gives me more "clients" unless Obama-care ruins it. Cost of living is about the same except for housing. Yes all you southerners, your cost of living ISN'T that much different than up here in the great wintry north!  Housing isn't that much different either for the community I am looking at. (near the water)

The worst part(s): NO family outside of our own nuclear tribe. I know no one there except for those I would be working with. We would have to go down to one income and acquire debt (another house). Yes, it's hotter than hades in the summer there, but here winter NEVER knows when to go away. New schools for the kids. Closer to hurricaines.

I would go in a heart-beat. My wife is the one who is skeptical. And, I have two school aged kids. Extended family support is here. Yet, the city I live in here could get ugly if there is an all out collapse.

Some help from the "community" would be appreciated. Please share with me the good, the bad, and the ugly. What could I be missing with the move?

Thanks in advance - C.

 

 

plato1965's picture
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Re: Where to live?

 

 Slightly contrarian but well argued articles on the rural vs urban issue here:-

  http://patternliteracy.com/urban.html

 http://patternliteracy.com/urban2.html

 

I'd recommend browsing the other articles on that site for anyone still in "Panic mode" about PO..

 it certainly helped me get things into perspective.

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Re: Where to live?

davidm, I'm new here just today and was doing a little browsing to see what kinds of discussions are going on here.  You caught my attention in part because I live in Western MA too and have sometimes wondered the same thing.  Currently my conclusion is that this is a pretty good spot to be for a number of reasons.  The Upper CT River Valley has amongst the best soils in the world , water is abundant with very little irrigation needed, and there is wood everywhere should that be necessary for heating & cooking.  Wildlife is abundant as well. There is a very large and active  permaculture community here.  The skills these folks possess is incredible, and there are far more related educational opportunities coming out of that group than I can begin to avail myself of.  In addition the folks associated with historical organizations such as Historic Deerfield posess significant old time skills and knowledge that would be useful in a radically changed environment.  The acreage being farmed and the number of farms has increased in recent years.  Our farms are family run rather than corporate.  The Town Meeting form of govt. in all of the small towns in combination with the towns being largely run by volunteers makes for a more cohesive culture than you will find in many other places that instead stress the individual over the community.  Yes it is cold in the winter but folks have lived here since the 1600's.  A wood stove would both keep you warm and cook your food.  The growing season is short but as another poster noted it can be extended somewhat. 

The one big drawback to Western MA that I have not resolved is our proximity to the BoWash corridor and should those folks head our way, we could not remotely begin to accomodate them.  This causes me to look to the north sometimes thinking maybe Vermont would be a better place to be, but overall we have an exceptionally positive situation here where we are.  People sometimes take it for granted until they experience someplace else. 

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Re: Where to live?

weather patterns,fallout, dirty bomb?

i dunno,robie

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Re: Where to live?

robie, I'm not sure if your comment is referring to Western MA in particular or everything east of the Pacific coastline, but yes with prevailing winds blowing from west to east, Western MA and everyplace else on the east coast will be on the receiving end of fallout should anyplace west of us be detonated.  I did see somewhere the most likely  wind pattern that would come out of NYC were it to be nuked.  Long Island and Southern CT would get the worst of it and then within MA Boston and areas to the sourth to a lesser extent given the dissipation over distance.  Albany being nuked would be a different story.  Then we'd be in the direct path I think. 

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Re: Where to live?

Mountain Biker

I live in western NY and used to live in and around Albany, NY close to where you live.  The eastern US was the area first settled on the N. American continent because of the livability of the area with abundant resources, including forests, water, game and tillable soils.  The infrastructure was first established by the settlers, small towns within an easy horse ride or long walk apart, roads laid out along the contours of the land, small farms suitable for intensive farming and easily adaptable to permaculture principles, etc.  That infrastructure is still in place and the communities are ready-made for the kinds of institutions promoted on this site. 

I grew up out west where, except for some parts of the Pacific coastal region, the settlement patterns are newer and spread farther apart, largely built up since the advent of the automobile.  In other words, not designed on a human scale.  Farms are large, suited to mechanized farming, but ill-suited for non-petroleum based agriculture.

Plus, and this is a personal pitch, you live in the center of among the most culturally alive regions anywhere.  Within a few hours of NYC, Boston, Montreal and a natural wonderland that includes the Adirondacks, Greens, Whites, Berkshires and Catskills; a coastal region that goes from southern Conn. to Maine with old fishing villages along the way; and, a network of inland lakes and rivers that are historic as well as easily navigated for the kind of commerce that prevailed in the colonial era and will likely prevail again in a post-petroleum world.

I would think long and hard before leaving the northeast.  I made my choice decades ago and haven't regretted it for a minute.  Ask Chris M. where he's set up housekeeping. Wink

Doug

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Re: Where to live?

Doug, my apologies if I led you think I'm questioning this area as a good place to live in the future much changed world.  My first post gave many of the reasons why this area is a good choice.  In October I attended a talk that Kunstler gave near where I live and he shared much of the same sentiment that you have expressed.  He thinks the northeast (or at least the smaller towns and cities of the northeast) have the infrastructure, traditions, and culture for adapting to a post-peak oil world.  He said that there is no hope at all for cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas and that the newer urban/suburban areas of the south and west will not be able to adapt very well.  The best setups are the old milltowns and farming communities surrounding them that are everywhere in the northeast.  The compactness of the old mill towns (easy living proximity to work) in combination with much of the old rail infrastructure that they used to draw upon still being in place as well as the water sources that used to power the early mills can be resurrected.  I live in the same county as Chris.  He chose well in deciding where to live.  Were I to ever move, I think it would be further north to a small town in VT, but if I stay in my present community forever, that's OK too.  In my case such a move would be in conjunction with retirement and so earning a living would not be a consideration in making the selection of where.  For now I am well employed and staying put. 

Full Moon's picture
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Re: Where to live?

 What does 'well employed' mean ?   I would like to know who thinks their jobs are secure and what you are doing .  Should we feel relief now that the unemployment is at average of 17% ?  Should we feel secure and for how long ?

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Re: Where to live?

It seems to me that if we're talking Peak Oil or a breakdown in resources (food, goods, etc.) that at least for a time, it will be almost a matter of survival to be as far away from the populated east coast as possible.  I don't see the areas that you are talking about being as abundant as you speak of ,at least for a while, because of the sheer numbers of people scrambling for basic necessaties.   I'm not even talking about a sudden event as I think the desparation and numbers can develope over a relatively slow to medium event.  In the long run the old mill towns etc. make sense but I just don't think there's enough distance given the population all up and down the east coast.  I am curious about anyones opinions on this note.

Also, I think one of the saving grace scenarios in a post petro world will be our rail system.  Because of this my family is strongly considering a small town out west with abundant natural resources and a focus on the arts.

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Re: Where to live?

full moon, by well employed I mean I have a job that pays well and has decent benefits.  My employment is not secure at all given economic conditions unlike any the company I work for has faced in my long career.  I've taken a 20% cut in pay and could well find myself unemployed one of these days but for now I still make more than most and am at a stage in life where even the pay cut has not had a material impact on my style of living.  It means I am saving less each month is all.  I always lived within my means and for many  years I have lived below my means.  I'm in my mid 50's and will just slide into an early retirement is all should I become unemployed.  The kids are grown, their college is paid for, I have no debt, the daughter's wedding is paid for, and I've helped get my son into his first house.  My family obligations have been met and I will adjust to the circumstances.  It is just luck of the draw that I am old enough to be in this position.   Had the economy imploded when I was younger I'd of been in deep doodoo.   Should I become unemployed my biggest concern would be how to tide myself over with health insurance until I'm 65 (assuming Medicare is still there.....now that's some wishful thinking).  I'd probably have to stay in MA so as to avail myself of our version of universal health care in which I am guaranteed to be able to get myself a reasonable policy.  That's important given I had a serious cancer 6 years ago which effectively renders me uninsurable. 

rocketgirl1, you hit upon the one big drawback to my little corner of paradise.  You can practically see the BoWash hordes from here.  There are so many of them and so few of us in our small towns up here.  I assume the population of my town could double overnight just with adult children and other relatives returning home from urban areas in an emergency.  We don't have the resources to accomodate thousands of refugees let alone defend ourselves should there be large numbers who would seek to take what we have.  This is the piece of the equation that has me thinking further north up in VT coud be better.  Post 9/11 there were some NY'ers who relocated to this area.  I know of at least one person who relocated here from New Orleans post-Katrina.  From a Board that I am on, I've been seeing an uptick of folks from the metro NYC area buying farmsteads in this area vs the typical vacation home in the woods, so I know that this area is on the radar of some folks as to where they plan to bug out to should it come to that.  That's a compliment to the area but it is not in my interest. 

 

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Re: Where to live?

I think so too MB.    I just think it would be years before any land out east would be safe from the hordes and the same goes for the west coast.

 

Congrats on your 6 yrs. since cancer.  I too had cancer about 5 yrs. ago and I am mindful of what Obama is trying to do with health care since his mom passed and the sting of dealing with insurance cos. 

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Re: Where to live?

rocketgirl1, you said that you've followed some of the conversations over at PFI.  You may recall that Monotreme's rule of thumb is that you want to be at least 200 miles from a major metro area.  He seems to favor the midwest and calls NYC the "City of the Doomed".   Regretfully Western MA is only about 100 miles from Boston and is less than 200 miles from NYC.  Throw in Hartford and everything else between Boston and NYC along the coast and there is a real problem were the cities to empty.   Much of the Boston crowd would head north into NH & ME, but many would head west towards us too.  I expect we'd get much of the CT crowd heading north, whereas others would head into upstate NY.  The NYC crowd would likely disperse towards PA and upstate NY is my best guess. Western MA is popular with the NYC crowd though and we'd certainly get some. 

A friend from WV over at PFI said a while back that his county emergency coordinator person said that WV's plan is the not allow metro DC folks off of the interstates and that they would funnel them through into OH instead, the reality being that WV is not equipped to take in millions of DC refugees.  OH in turn indicated that they'd close the border with WV if WV did that.  Someone else indicated that PA would close the interstates at the NJ border to preclude being overhwhelmed by NYC refugees. 

Things would get pretty ugly real fast in the northeast and so you may be right.  After the initial turmoil the old mill towns and surrounding farm communities of the northeast would be well situated. 

 

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Re: Where to live?

davidm

One of my favorite places in California is Napa Valley, Calistoga topping the list, sounds like what you are looking for, unfortuately our govt is out of control here just like most of the others in the world.

http://www.napavalley.com/visitorsinfo/

http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/

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New Zealand Place to Move

Small population - highly productive rural sector - 80% of electricity generation renewable so outside of peaking requirements the lights will always go on.  Enough gas and oil to supply domestic economy if borders closed.

Location - A long way away from anyone with big guns.

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Re: Where to Live?

Chris Martenson wrote this some time ago about his decision of where to live:

Chris Martenson wrote:

Community:

The first thing we looked for was a vibrant community where people had already demonstrated an ability to self-organize.  We settled on "cooperative grocery stores" as a proxy for the kind of behavior we were looking for. The reasoning was that if people cared enough about their food to organize and sustain their own commercial enterprise, then they were the kind of people who would willingly and successfully organize around other local needs as well. Once we found an area rich with cooperative stores, we dug around further,, looking for other "signs of life" indicating that the local people were actively creating their own opportunities and filling at least some of their own needs. Fairs, festivals, and cohesive traditions such as Halloween extravaganzas and block parties are good indicators of this. For us, there was also the consideration of the presence of a strong home-schooling community, which our area happens to have.

Rural with farmland:

Next, we wanted to live rurally, with the specific distinction that there was more than sufficient local farm land to support the existing population. While I am not entirely comfortable asserting that our area meets that test (because I've not yet see an actual study supporting this), we live in and around lots of working farms and among some of the best soil in the country. This distinguishes our area from places which appear rural but are merely wooded or consist of poor soils and are therefore incapable of supporting much food production.

Water:

Not much happens without plenty of fresh water, especially predictable crop yields. The area we chose has ample water in the form of rainfall, rivers, and aquifers (ground water), and we are comfortable knowing that it is not prone to droughts. Water was simply a non-negotiable element in our equation, and I would not feel at all comfortable living in a place where water availability was questionable. For instance, you could not get me to invest in property in much of Arizona, where the dominant source of water is a rapidly depleting aquifer. If a house will last 100 years but gets its water from an aquifer that will run out in 20 years, how much is that house worth? I figure it's worth about 20 years of discounted cash flow from rent.

Population density:

We also wanted to live near enough to other people that there were ample opportunities to socialize and have fun. Movies, concerts, events, shows, parties: all of these require sufficient population density. So does finding the right kinds of people with whom to create a new future. For all of these reasons, we settled in an area that is neither overpopulated, nor underpopulated.

Work:

Living and working and playing should all happen as close to each other as possible. We looked for an area that did not require massive amounts of driving to get each of these individual things done. While many communities will figure out the relocalization details by necessity, we wanted to start in a place where at least some of the details were already worked out. Do bike trails exist? Is there navigable water nearby? Does public transportation exist? Do people tend to live close to where they work? Is this even an option? These are important things to consider.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Water Scarcity Issues

The December 2010 sample Browning Newsletter contains article entitled:

"Dry and Desperate: What Areas In The US Are Facing Increasing Water Shortages - An Analysis"

I think it is worth reading. The charts are graphic and represent some of the best information on what kind of water scarcity issues may arise in the next 10 to 20 years.

Of note, 10 biggest cities that are running out of water: "Orlando, Atlanta, Tucson, Las Vegas, Fort Worth, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, and Los Angeles. " Five of them depend on ground water.

http://www.browningnewsletter.com/images/pdfupload/decemb2010.pdf

Poet

 

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Anti-California...

  Yeah, I suggest you stay back east, whatever. We have budget issues and New York State or any of the other 49 states don't? Only North Dakota has no serious budget issues because it has a State Owned Bank. California is exploring the idea of a State Owned Bank and with the upcoming ground breaking of High Speed Rail in 2012, Desalination Projects throughout the State and various other things that will happen in the next decade or so, I can tell you California will one of the better places to be in a post-Oil society.

 When Honda rolled out its hyrdogen powered car, it didn't roll it out in Grand Rapids, Iowa for a reason. We have a bit of a regaltory issue surrounding some bio-fuels (specifically bio-diesel) which CARB claims causes a problem with underground tanks at fuel stations. Who knows if that's true or not, but Conserve fuel had to drain its underground tanks of B20 Bio Disesel last year (2009 actually).

 People outside of California bitch and complain about CARB, including the car companies trying to get out of high mileage mandates. But in the end we'll benefit greatly from forward thinking.

 I plan on relocating outside of America (Western Europe) for several reasons, but when I return to California this is where I will live long term.

 Having been around the country, I'm in no hurry to move to other parts of the country is not attractive at all.

 

 

 

 

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gregroberts
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Democrats Against Agenda 21

Considering its policies are woven into all the General Plans of the cities and counties,  it's important for people to know where these policies are coming from.  While many people support the United Nations for its peacemaking efforts, hardly anyone knows that they have very specific land use policies that they would like to see implemented in every city, county, state and nation.  The specific plan is called United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, which has its basis in Communitarianism.  By now, most Americans have heard of sustainable development but are largely unaware of Agenda 21.
 

http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

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lottomillions99
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Your decesion is right.

Your decesion is right. California is best place to live.

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