One of our possible Utopian communities will reside in Black Mountain, a region in western North Carolina near Appalachia. It is 14 miles distance via highway to Asheville, which will provide a safety net in terms of medical or other external aid. The Black Mountain area has an average household income of about $41,000 dollars, less than the national average. The population is aging and racially homogenous – 87% of the population is white and the median age is 52.3. Being a part of Appalachia, the region we plan to settle in is systemically abandoned by the United States government in regards to not only economic affairs but also social issues such as the opioid epidemic. We thought it would be important to settle in a place forgotten or loathed by most of the country not only to demonstrate the adaptability of our utopia but also to test the ability for our utopia’s economic activity to benefit the community surrounding it, which comprises about 8,000 inhabitants. Our group sees bartering, partnerships with local sustainable businesses and an active relationship with local residents as pivotal to this utopian iteration. We chose a place where the utopia could be beneficial to the larger economy without either being absorbed into the community or the community becoming dependent on the economic impact of the utopia. The small size and tight knit nature of Black Mountain prevents too much intermingling, thus allowing the commune to remain independent and differentiated.
-People have occupied the land for around twelve thousand years
-The Woodland culture in what is now Western North carolina around 2000 B.C.E; use of bows and arrows, ceramics, and an agricultural economy began. People began settling around stream valleys.
-By the time of contact with Europeans, the Cherokee people were living on the land.
-Cherokee people fought alongside the French in the French-Indian War from 1754-1761, when they were defeated by English settlers.
-Despite an agreement that there would be no white settlement beyond the Appalachian mountains, white settlers continued settling the region.
-The Cherokee fought alongside the British during the American revolution.
-In 1792, white settlers created a boundary between themselves and the Cherokee.
-In 1838, the U.S. military removed many Cherokee people from their lands by force, sending them on the Trail of Tears.
-Some Cherokee people managed to stay on their land, and are there to this day.
-A road was built in the region in 1850, and a railroad in 1879.
-The town of Black Mountain was incorporated in 1893.
-Today, the town has a population of around 8,000, and is part of the greater Asheville region.