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Lansdren

Build a town kit - what skills are needed

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If you like humor mixed with your sci fi I would fully recommend the "long earth" series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. I wont go into to much detail but the series explores the idea of people setting off and starting new towns and cities in far off places with little but hard work and if they are lucky some additional knowledge. Its very much in the spirit of the romanticized version of the period of expansion in the early USA.

 

One element that really struck a cord with me is how there is a mix of low tech and very high tech as the series goes on, at the start they are building much like would have happened in the 1800's cutting back the forest and trying to claim a little land for themselves.

In one of the later books (could be three or four) there is a comment that these new colonists are being supported by help from home as it were with kits which were basically glorified digital schools. The idea appears to be blueprints and step by step guides on how to do things, think a useful version of wikipedia.

Its got me thinking, if you were starting a community from scratch what skills would you need to be able to teach people so they could survive and thrive and I mean from real first steps.

 

My first musings on the subject are these

 

1) The immediate - Survival skills - how to find water, food, shelter and how to make fire. First Aid Without these no long term plans can be made

2) The short term - Basic construction (probably woodwork/carpentry). Basic agriculture (how to clear a field and knowing when to sow and when to harvest). Tool making (basic tools to let you then make better tools) Geology - understanding how to find and map minerals for later use. Medicine - longer term protection of health. Clothing (from weaving to tanning)

3) The long term - Power and Industry ( maybe steam as a starting point maybe water powered) Environmental engineering (making the world better for us but in balance with itself)

 

I suppose my thoughts are moving in the direction of if we could restart education what form could we turn it into where we could be more self sufficient as individuals but even better as a community

 

What skills would you add into the mix?

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I would want a set of foxfire books, first of all. 

I like Doctors and Dentists, so that. Smiths and woodworkers, definitely.

Then you have to see what you've got. Some places have a special gift like perfect water to make whisky, or coal or gold. Sometimes it is the people that have the gift, skilled silversmiths, great cheesemakers, things like that. People always have fantastic imaginations, so feed that for inventions.

After water, food, shelter, health, then joy.

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Fairly quickly a self-reliant community  will need a source of fiber and weaving/sewing skills.  Probably have to get by with leathers in the beginning, shortly followed by wool and then  hopefully vegetable fibers.  Ofc industrial hemp could serve almost right out of the gate even if soil was poor, rainfall was marginal and climate was on the cool side.  Warmer climes would eventually look to cotton and cooler to flax. 

But clothing is really a nice thing to have in winter :)

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looking long term,you would want a good education system. not as we have today but the emphasis on reading and writing in the early years. once they can read and write, children have the skill to read and teach themself. after those early years,education becomes more focused individually depending on the career ideas of the student. a medical profession will need different studies than a hunter or even a farmer,etc. then the later years would be spent as an aprentice to study under elders to learn the "trade". be it medical,construction,hunting,etc. in the long run, this way will lead to better qualified workers than we have even now.

 

    i also think you would be smart to develop an R&D center. a group  of ppl  with varrying knowledge of science and some with mechanical,engineering and electrical skills.not all book smart but again actual hands on knowledge. thsese ppl have 2 jobs. 1 is to develop new ways of doing things,such as renewable energy or better medicines. the other is they go out into the field and spend time with the real workers. this keeps them grounded and expanding their hands on knowledge. they will be able to see different ways to do things with their own eyes.not sit in an office and dictate how things should be done like today.but they will help come up with better more efficient ways of getting jobs done.

 

      

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14 hours ago, Picklesnout said:

I would want a set of foxfire books, first of all. 

 

Never heard of those before but now they are on my list of things to get, thank you so much for that

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7 hours ago, JAZZ said:

looking long term,you would want a good education system. not as we have today but the emphasis on reading and writing in the early years. once they can read and write, children have the skill to read and teach themself. after those early years,education becomes more focused individually depending on the career ideas of the student. a medical profession will need different studies than a hunter or even a farmer,etc. then the later years would be spent as an aprentice to study under elders to learn the "trade". be it medical,construction,hunting,etc. in the long run, this way will lead to better qualified workers than we have even now.

 

    i also think you would be smart to develop an R&D center. a group  of ppl  with varrying knowledge of science and some with mechanical,engineering and electrical skills.not all book smart but again actual hands on knowledge. thsese ppl have 2 jobs. 1 is to develop new ways of doing things,such as renewable energy or better medicines. the other is they go out into the field and spend time with the real workers. this keeps them grounded and expanding their hands on knowledge. they will be able to see different ways to do things with their own eyes.not sit in an office and dictate how things should be done like today.but they will help come up with better more efficient ways of getting jobs done.

 

      

Elements of your post spark some other thoughts

 

Education - a return to a real apprentice system would appear to be a good idea for a smaller community, much more hands on and practical in nature but balanced with theory so you don't end up with the problem I see today where a lot of people can do a bit of a job but have no understanding of the elements around them. In my day life I hear something like "We do this because that's how its done" to often and normally just before something off script happens and they don't know what to do now because all they were taught was the "press this button" form of instruction.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Jostler said:

Fairly quickly a self-reliant community  will need a source of fiber and weaving/sewing skills.  Probably have to get by with leathers in the beginning, shortly followed by wool and then  hopefully vegetable fibers.  Ofc industrial hemp could serve almost right out of the gate even if soil was poor, rainfall was marginal and climate was on the cool side.  Warmer climes would eventually look to cotton and cooler to flax. 

But clothing is really a nice thing to have in winter :)

Jostler, you're right! I forgot all about clothes in my utopia, heathen pervert that I am? LoL oops. ? Great point.

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I've always wanted to just build a place in the middle of no where. I think if I ever had the means... then.... cop cabins for all :D

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