Analysis: Given our map of the ‘New Lands’ is not a geographical description, but rather a diagram image the new Utopians will be able to point toward and understand their position in the socioeconomic background is not one of a ‘place’ but rather of the bureaucratic framework of current ‘techno-giants’ and consumers. The following analysis aims to chart the growth…
Timeline of the Mediterranean
50 millions years ago: continental drift creates over 10’000km of coastline around a relatively calm sea.
2’000 – 250 BC: Egyptians trade by sea with the Minoans in Crete. Phoenicians found merchant colonies throughout the Mediterranean, are followed by the Greeks, their rivalry is well established by the 5th Century BC.
1st Century BC – 6th Century AD: By 30 BC, the Mediterranean becomes one political unit – Rome. By the 5th Century AD, Germanic tribes, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Vandals control various coasts.
7th – 16th Century: With the rise of Islam, Mediterranean is divided between Christianity and Islam, Spain vs. Anatolia. Frequent fights over Cyprus, Crete, and Sicily. In 12th Century, Barcelona, Genoa, Venice, and Constantinople build extensive trading empires, despite threat from Muslim pirates. In 1453 the Turks capture Constantinople. 1516 – 1574 entire eastern Mediterranean is controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
16th Century: Mediterranean loses some of its importance to the Atlantic coast of Europe, because of the safety of long distance sailing and trade routes going to America. There is a balance of power between Spain and the Ottoman empire until the 18th Century.
20th Century: the Mediterranean is one of the main battle areas in WWII between Axis and Allies. The Cold War splits the sea into pro america and pro soviet factions. Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy and France are part of NATO, while Syria is pro soviet, Egypt is at first pro soviet and then bought out to be pro America.
Now: Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta, says the refugee crisis has turned the Mediterranean sea into a “cemetery”, as more and more refugees drown (2013)
Domestic political pressure in Europe is leading to the EU putting more pressure on stopping migrants from coming into Europe. They want to push the problem back to land, and are empowering Libya by giving them the necessary funds to strengthen their coast guard. Libyan coast guards patrol the sea, far beyond their own borders into international waters, and take migrants back to Libya. They use unprofessional and dangerous intimidation tactics. Despite the money they receive from the EU, their organizational structure isn’t very well developed, making the situation more dangerous. The refugees that are taken back to Libya are treated as criminals in a famously broken justice system, many prisoners have reported horrendous conditions, torture, and rape. Although there is a bit of a drop in migrants crossing the sea, it is not because of this pressure, but because of a deal between the EU and one of the major militias in Libya to stop trafficking. They are paying the militia not to smuggle anymore, while at the same time accusing rescue missions of collaborating with smugglers. More refugees are being locked up in detention centers in Libya, because there aren’t any less refugees trying to reach Europe. With less NGOs able to effectively work in the area, more people will drown, because the root cause is not addressed, and so there are still as many people finding different ways to reach the mediterranean. NGOs operate in international waters off the coast of Libya, which according to Maritime Laws is legal, but Libya has “asserted its right to operate well beyond the territorial limit of 12 nautical miles, defending the move as necessary in order to control the rescue operations” (1). NGO boats are still allowed to continue their rescue operations, however, it has become increasingly unsafe to do so, and so many of them have stopped. Some NGOs have been accused of collaborating with smugglers as an attempt to stop their operations too. Italian authorities drew up a code of conduct for NGOs, 5 out of 8 did not agree to this code. MSF objected to the requirement that they must themselves take the migrants to a safe port instead of transferring people, as it would hurt their effectiveness, as they cannot rescue more people in the area while other refugees are being brought to safety. They have, along with other organizations, questioned the necessity of having to allow police officers on board, as this damages their goal of neutrality. Save the Children agreed to the code of conduct, saying they already operated in this way, and yet they too had to stop their mission due to Libya’s increased presence. Italy had threatened to shut its ports to NGOs that did not agree to the codes, but the most they can do is institute more checks and investigations on their vessels. Right now, there is only one large NGO boat and a few smaller ones rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean.
There are many reasons why I have chosen Mars to be the site of my Utopia. One of them is that because my Utopia is somewhat large in scale it will need to occupy a large area and control a great number of industries. If everything my utopia could need, or to a certain extent want, is to be supplied primarily by automated production. Which creates problems when there are already people there. If everyone could be convinced to join my utopia then it works but if not then problems emerge. So I have decided to start my utopia in a place where there is no one and where there will be enough space and resources for my utopia to function. Obviously it will not be on Mars as it is now but on a Mars that has been transformed, primarily by robotic labor, to be more Earth-like and hospitable for humans. The fact that, a. Mars will have to change considerably before it can actually be the site for my utopia, and b. not all that much is known about Mars when compared with Earth, means that it is not very easy to specify an actual specific location on Mars where it would be located. The structure of the region once my utopia is established will probably have most people living together in somewhat densely packed communities the size of a modest city. These communities will be surrounded by a hinterland where many of the things consumed by and used in the communities are produced and the population of humans is small. As my utopia has an entire planet to live on there will doubtlessly be many of these communities and a lot of moving of goods between them. What is important is that all people and all communities have equal access to them.
The tentative name of my utopia is Chapekelia.
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.
- The Kentucky State Penitentiary is built (1879)
- A flood damages the prison’s property, and Governor Albert Benjamin Chandler allows the Prison Industries Reorganization Administration to inspect the Penitentiary (1936)
- A new Kentucky State Reformatory is built with surrounding farmland (1937-1939)
- Inmates file a lawsuit against Kentucky state prisons claiming cruel and unusual punishment (1980)
- The court creates a consent decree for the reformatory in order to correct some issues of the lawsuit (1981)
- Judge Edward Johnstone rules that the Reformatory complied with the consent decree (1992)
The Kentucky State Reformatory is located in Oldham County, Kentucky. It stands as Kentucky’s wealthiest county and the 20th wealthiest county in the U.S. It has the second highest percentage of college-educated residents in Kentucky and is known to have the best public school system in the state. The wealth and high population of educated people comes as a result of the popularity of summer homes east of Louisville; summer homes were converted into permanent, year-round communities. The average price of owner occupied residences in Oldham County stands at about $250,000. The median household income is about $85,452, and the average male income is 1.47 times the average female income. Persons in poverty make up 5.9% of the county’s population. The majority of working citizens commute to Louisville but live in Oldham county in order to avoid crime and benefit from the public school system.
The socioeconomic status of those in the Kentucky State Reformatory stands as a stark contrast to the surrounding area, and the city layout demonstrates this divide; the Board of Education sits just outside of the road to the prison, and a country club is just over a mile away. The Kentucky State Reformatory is not primarily comprised of Oldham County citizens, nor is it comprised of people who share the Oldham County education and socioeconomic status. As the Kentucky State Reformatory is the prison nearest to Louisville, the impacts of the prison are primarily experienced by citizens of Louisville. Low income neighborhoods are most affected by the issues of prisons, resulting in additional strain on familial connections, economic strain, elevated crime rates, mental health issues, and infectious diseases which can also impact socioeconomic status. These neighborhoods have an infection rate that reaches 90% in some instances, and infectious disease can lead to social isolation and huge limitations in work and housing. Statistics also show that young members of these communities have shorter life expectancies and are much more likely to contract infectious diseases themselves.
2018 – The founding of Mar by an indigenous tribe
2020 – Colonial powers try tear down the government and destroy lands, however, they are fought off by the tribe who claim their “rights to homeland, freedom, and equality” in the name of their God, the sun.
2025 – They have recovered from the damage done by intruders and strengthened their defense system and passed a law allowing immigrants to receive the same treatment as members of the tribe
2090 – The community is politically stable (members of government still mostly tribal members) and not economically reliant on any state but their own.
3000 – The city flourishes with multiple generations of indigenous and immigrant families living in peace with one another because of their equal opportunity for involvement in governing and teaching.
Socio-Economics: Located on the hills of Mar Chile, my utopia looks out over the Pacific. Almost every home has this view and access to the beach. The landscape itself promotes equality by being able to afford almost everyone a view of the beach. This is the goal of my utopia; to ensure everyone access to proper and comprehensive education, an income that can provide for the members of the household, and access to the services that the city provides to ALL citizens.
The citizens must be educated for no cost to themselves or their family. Starting in kindergarten, continuing through high-school and college, education is free. The schools can group the children by the district without worrying about creating schools only for the poor or rich because everyone is almost economically equal in this society. Without the 1% dominating private education and its resources, everyone pays taxes that partly go into education; creating a safe, productive, and fun place to learn. The schools have no uniforms, which usually created a sense of equality that prevents students from being made fun of for having ripped or dirty clothes, that signify their family is low income. I appreciate the use of uniforms in schools, especially for elementary and middle school. However, I’d like to preserve equality in other ways and allow the schools to permit students to wear almost whatever they please so that the students may find, create, and share/express their individuality with clothes. Every school, until 11th grade, teaches the same subjects that are intended to be universally applicable and a good foundation for what the child chooses to study in the future. In 11th grade, the student has the opportunity to create a focal point for the rest of their time in high-school. Though, they may change paths once they get to college. The colleges in my utopia would all be prestigious institutions respected for their commitment to showing the youth how to be equal and maintain equality in a society. Creating and preserving equality will be the main goal of every adult in Mar, so the education system must promote ways to ensure the equal treatment of all its students/the citizens of the city.
A family’s income is always sufficient to sustain the individuals of the household. Raises are given to workers when they or their significant other has a child. Those who work jobs like construction or dishwashers at a restaurant will be paid for the hours they work. I cannot guarantee that no one will have to work jobs like that. The education system allows students to follow a path that if fully engaged in, will open up opportunities to work intellectually versus physically. Although jobs go quickly like in any other changing economy, those who are educated can find a job that allows them to use their intellect (teaching or governing). Others who cannot find these jobs often choose to outside the city for work/adventure. Not everyone has to stay in this utopia and contribute to it in order to receive a free education. Immigrants have the same right to education as anyone who lives in Mar.
It is theorized that the moon formed when a planet known as Theia collided with the earth. The resulting debris began to orbit the earth and eventually formed into a solid sphere known today as the moon. Humankind as long desired to reach this faraway barren rock, and we did achieve that goal when the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission crashed on the moon’s surface in 1959. The first successful manned moon landing was achieved by the US in 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on our precious moon. Since then there has numerous more ventures to our grey home away from home. However, there has never been a permanent settlement on that uninhabitable orb of desire.
As most people know the moon has no food, no capacity to grow food, no water, no breathable atmosphere, and severely less gravity. A perfect place to build a home. Obviously, the moon base community would have to be sheltered in large domes to protect them from the cold vacuum of space. We will create a self-sustaining community of five thousand people living together in this dome, all with assigned careers. The dome shall be called the bubble. There will be greenhouses as well as air and water production plants. There will be great views of the absolute nothingness of space. The members of the moon base will be divided by class. There will be the lower proletariat class and the upper bourgeois class. The proletariat will wear red and the bourgeois will wear blue. Every thirty years there will be the customary workers revolution in which the red shirts will rise up and overthrow their oppressive overlords the blue shirts. The red shirts shall impose a new order over the blue shirts who they shall make do the labor that once was the binds of their oppression. And all shall be well and happy in the moon base. If anyone refuses to perform their role as part of the collective, they shall be exiled to a smaller separate faraway dome where they will be forced to do labor for the greater good. Children of the moon base will be indoctrinated to know what is right and what is wrong from an early age since wrong-thinkers are dangerous to the sustainability of the bubble community.
“Susanville, CA” citydata.com, 2018.
“Susanville”, City of Susanville, CA 2018
“Lassan County Incorporated and Unincorporated Areas”, Lassan County 2018.
“The California Correctional Center”, lightinprison.org, 2018
Susanville, formerly Roopville, is a rural town in north-eastern California. With a population of about 17,000 people, Susanville has always been a small community. Susanville was originally founded by Isaac Roop, and its present name was adopted in 1857. The town was incorporated in 1900. The California Correctional Center opened there in 1963, the High Desert State Prison opened in 1995, and the Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong, opened nearby in 2007. Susanville was the subject of a 2007 documentary entitled “Prison Town, USA”.
The economy of Susanville originally revolved around agriculture, mining, and lumber. Today, it is one of many rural towns in America whose economy depends entirely on the state and federal prisons that have been established within the towns. The establishment of prisons within Susanville was intended as means to revitalize the economy, after Susanville suffered massive job losses when the fields of farming, mining, and lumber declined. Today, the Susanville economy revolves around prisons– in 2007, half of the adult population were employed by one of the three nearby correctional institutions. This trend still sustains today, as both the High Desert State Prison and the California Correctional Center employ approximately five-to-ten times the amount of people as most other employers in the area (this includes the county and city governments, the nearby Lassen College, the school district, the medical center and Walmart).
It is worth noting that the population count of 17,000 people includes those who are incarcerated at either the High Desert State Prison and the California Correctional Center. The working adult population in Susanville is about 4500 people, meaning that approximately 2250 of those work at one of these two prisons. Between the 2000 and 2010 census, the prison population rose by about 4000 people, meaning that more people had to be hired to keep up with the demands of a higher prison population. In fact, there are signs that Susanville may be in need of a new facility- both the High Desert State Prison and the California Correctional Facility have been over capacity for some time. The Susanville economy is heavily reliant on the prison system, and though the prison population in the California Correctional Center has been declining over the 2010s, 2017 sparked a new boost in inmate population. The current inmate population of California Correctional Center is 4468, and the population at the High Desert State Prison is 3442.
The town population of Susanville leans to the right of the political spectrum. I could not find any data on the political leanings of its incarcerated population.
There are multiple reasons that I believe the area outside Susanville would be an appropriate place to situate my utopian community. First, being in a rural area means that we do not run the risk of kicking people off their land or out of their communities, as there is abundant space to build on. Second, because it is situated at the intersection of two major highways, Susanville is very accessible to the outside world, meaning my Utopia could be easy to join. Third, the fact that the town has a history of an agricultural economy means that it would be thinkable to attempt sustainable farming here. Fourth, high deserts are a great place to harness sustainable energy- the high elevation makes wind turbines a good option, and the harsh sunlight is good for farming and harnessing solar energy.
Finally, the reason why I wanted to set up my Utopia near a prison town is that I want to be able to reach out to people who are directly involved with the prison system, be they newly released inmates or the people whose livelihoods revolve around being part of the prison system. If we think about the mechanics of building interest in a community, it is much easier to engage people in conversation whose lives are immediately affected by the problem that we are trying to tackle. Finally, if my Utopian community is successful, we will be able to demonstrate our society in opposition to the specific aspects of American society that we are problematizing.
The primary issue that our utopia addresses is the disconnect between humans and nature. This disconnect, which has roots in Genesis and man’s dominion over the Earth, has led to various other issues. The idea of private land ownership, along with ideas about dominating, taming, and curating land, has led to the imperialist appropriation of lands. European, especially English, ideas about the “improvement” of land by its human occupants being fundamental to the occupation of that land played a significant role in this. These ideas have also lead to the exploitation and destruction of that land. Furthermore, this attitude toward land dictates to a considerable degree how beings living in close proximity to each other interact, both human and non-human. The idea of owning land removes humans from the fabric of the environment and promotes a negative view of other beings existing on that land. Our utopia addresses these issues through the absence of any land ownership whatsoever. Instead, people live responsibly on the land along with the other beings that live in the environment. Through creating a space that is naturally shared by both humans and non-humans, these issues created by private land ownership are avoided.
Our utopia aims to address societal trauma caused by the human severance from nature by placing utmost emphasis on nature as a means of sustenance, community, and empowerment. We believe that land and human relationship to the environment plays an integral role in how people interact on both interpersonal and larger political scales. In order to combat environmental racism and social injustices caused by capitalism, this community will prioritize self-sufficiency, artistic craft, queer inclusivity, and a system of commerce/exchange based on communal sharing and gift-giving rather than money. To establish self-sufficiency, the community plans to implement permacultural methods in order to produce food and other resources. Permaculture is a style of cultivation that caters to the natural ecosystem, allowing it to flourish, sustain, and regenerate without extensive human manipulation. This form of agriculture also helps to restore the human relationship to nature because it maintains the agency and holistic capacity of the given environment instead of treating it as simply a means to an end. In the same vein, the community will structure their own habitation around nature, rather than attempting to rewrite the earth by clearing trees and to creating a conventional colonial settlement. They will build their homes in and around the trees and preexisting geography. This may result in buildings that vary in size and purpose. Since architectural set ups won’t necessarily conform to those that try to encompass a set number of functions or occupants, this will draw away from traditional senses of familial containment and isolation, and thus only enhance the interconnectedness and mobility of members of the community. Furthermore, the diy construction of houses and buildings will undermine the barrier between the inside and outside by featuring one-sided windows that blend with the landscape from the outside and provide an ample view to the outdoors from the inside.
Another way that this community will foster a human reconnection to nature is in their utilization of outdoor space. A range of activities, such as education, social congregation/gathering, and work won’t be confined to the indoors, as nature will become a default site in which the community does. Everyone will therefore cultivate a deep knowledge of the local flora and fauna, and be able to navigate the area and effectively derive ingredients for food or medicine. This is another sustainable method in line with one of their central tenets, minimizing waste and reducing/reusing/recycling. Lastly, a large component of their life and culture will be quilt-making and textile arts, as it’s emblematic of their functionality, creativity, practicality, and familial bonds.
Rhythm of Life:
As someone living in this community you could wake up slowly, with the sun. Everyone makes their breakfast and the daily bread – bread that each person makes and shares half of with others. The noise stirs the whole community until eventually everyone is out of their homes, engaging in one of the required activities that drive the community such as farming, cooking, preserving food, or tending to children. Or focusing on their own artistic and academic projects. At night there is a communal dinner gathering where people can discuss, drink, give gifts, or give performances. They go to bed slowly, reading, and surrounded by loved ones.
By: Bones Gilmore, Nia Mbaye, River PS, Ty Holtzman