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May 16th, 2022

Relations With the World

This is the fifth of six articles in the Atlas Urbium pilot season on the Shakers. A pre-release of each article is shared with AU NFT collectors that support the research.

The Congregation of Strangers After Leaving the Church, June 30th 1878, Kimball Studio of Concord, NH.
The Congregation of Strangers After Leaving the Church, June 30th 1878, Kimball Studio of Concord, NH.

Shakers had a utopian vision for life in community that revolved around egalitarianism and peaceful relations. They looked for space to pursue this vision by taking distance from centers of power, and took care in managing their relations with these centers as they amassed power themselves. In a moment in which the world order is in the midst of yet another tumultuous shift, it is encouraging to come across a case like the Shakers, who somehow managed to develop a distinct cultural identity and socio-economic model for themselves without having to resort to violence. This is, however, a reality that we should avoid over-simplifying.

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April 29th, 2022

Funding and Revenue Model

This is the third of six weekly articles in the Atlas Urbium pilot season on the Shakers. A pre-release of each article is shared with AU NFT collectors that support the research.

In some of the earlier articles of this season, we’ve touched upon the ways in which groups of Shakers rallied resources to jump start early communities. We’ve also explored how every aspect of life in a Shaker community was as carefully coordinated as an industrial production line. Our objective with this article is to go deeper into the relationship between the Shaker social system and the revenue-generating activities that allowed their communities to perpetuate in time.

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April 21st, 2022

Ownership and Coordination Protocols

This is the third of six weekly articles in the Atlas Urbium pilot season on the Shakers. A pre-release of each article is shared with AU NFT collectors that support the research, who join the core team and an invited Builder to discuss it on token-gated channels before publication.

This week our invited Builder was Angelo, from build_republic, a community first, real estate second approach to co-working that brings together members with a vested interest in the cities that they live, work, and play in. The discussion with Angelo and our collectors explored creating incentive ladders; stewarding community commons; debt as a measure of trust; exit costs and their role in building community; concentric circles of responsibility and privilege; embracing incompetence in member-centric rather than user-centric projects; developing and retaining community talent; ascetic governance; cultural conventions as regulation; nostalgia for a home we don’t belong to anymore; and more…

If you’d like to join the next conversation, or know more about the Atlas Urbium pilot season, read this.

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April 14th, 2022

From a Node to a Network

This is the second of six weekly articles in the Atlas Urbium pilot season on the Shakers. A pre-release of each article is shared with AU NFT collectors that support the research, who join the core team and an invited Builder to discuss it on token-gated channels before publication.

This week our invited Builder was Kenji López Rivera, CEO of Urvita, a network of co-livings in Mexico powered by a tokenized fractional real estate model. The discussion with Kenji and our collectors took us through ways in which the real estate market is broken; aligning values and investments; selling results over political agendas; collapsing worldviews into products; bootstrapping IRL communities through crowdfunding; the ‘third generation problem’ of all cultural endeavors; correlations between fertility and innovation; cultural versus genetic contributions of citizen classes; alternative structures of familial obligation; and more…

If you’d like to join the next conversation, or know more about the Atlas Urbium pilot season, read this.

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April 7th, 2022

Founder Story, Pitch and Recruitment Strategy

This is the first of six weekly articles in the Atlas Urbium pilot season on the Shakers. A pre-release of each article is shared with AU NFT collectors, who join the core team and an invited Builder to discuss it on token-gated channels before publication.

This week we had @EricWollberg, Head of Community at Praxis, join our collectors for a conversation on this article, which spawned discussions about: the concept of the frontier in a finite, interconnected world; opportunities for community projects during moments of instability; sum-positive neighbor relations; the current crisis of meaning; self-actualization as a service; designed versus emergent social contracts; the relationship between cultural movements and physical world endeavors; building solid cultures in the absence of the need for mutual aid; leveraging institutions with deep ideological roots; and more…

If you’d like to join the next conversation, or know more about the Atlas Urbium pilot season, read this.

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March 23rd, 2022

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our pilot season! Each season of Atlas Urbium will look into one experiment in collective living and consider how it dealt with archetypal problems of community building. The season is an opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions of the content between collectors, the core team, and invited guests. Along the way, we will release articles that share our insights to the public.

If you want to know more about where Atlas Urbium is headed, read here. If you have no clue at all about Atlas Urbium but you’re curious, maybe start here.

Double portal into a Shaker room. The Shakers exercised a radical form of equality of the sexes across every aspect of life in society. Despite their vows of celibacy, men and women lived under one roof, constantly aware of the opposite sex but restrained from carnal temptation by a minutely choreographed way of life. Image: Paul Rocheleau
Double portal into a Shaker room. The Shakers exercised a radical form of equality of the sexes across every aspect of life in society. Despite their vows of celibacy, men and women lived under one roof, constantly aware of the opposite sex but restrained from carnal temptation by a minutely choreographed way of life. Image: Paul Rocheleau
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March 18th, 2022

Some Reflections From the Dry Run

We’ve been hard at work over the last couple of weeks figuring out how to make the months of research we’ve undertaken on the Atlas Urbium pilot case most useful to our Collectors and the larger community-building space. Our Case 001 Dry Run with Early Collectors a couple of weeks back revealed the potential that the research has to catalyze relevant conversations, but also the need to further structure their format. Wikipedia pages or brief opinion pieces on some of these cases are a great starting point for those of us that are curious about some of these cases. But there’s hunger for slower, long-form content that is presented in a digestible way. And for it to come with a community eager to have earnest, creative discussions around the pieces.

The School of Athens, Raphael, 1509–1511. Raphael depicted the Renaissance not as a static revival of antiquity, but rather an impossible conversation between ancients; cloaked in the skin of his most talented contemporaries; housed in one of the most daring and innovative architectural projects of his time
The School of Athens, Raphael, 1509–1511. Raphael depicted the Renaissance not as a static revival of antiquity, but rather an impossible conversation between ancients; cloaked in the skin of his most talented contemporaries; housed in one of the most daring and innovative architectural projects of his time

After hefty rounds of discussion amongst the core team, with early collectors and project advisors, we’ve found that now more than ever we need to be scavenging for inventive answers to the archetypical problems that present themselves to any group of people that decide to embark on a collective living experiment. How we build and govern a community that contributes to a protocol is complicated enough. But add to this all the layers that come with the ambition to coexist in an environment that manifests a unique vision of the good life, and we are talking about a very, very hard problem.

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December 1st, 2021

A Catalog of Experiments in Collective Living

In this moment of accelerating experimentation with new kinds of sovereignty in the crypto space and elsewhere,  the Atlas Urbium aims to better understand the ways in which communities with different degrees of autonomy across time have shaped the physical environment under their domain.

Each entry into the atlas will look at one case in which groups of individuals have self-organized around a set of common values to live together in novel ways that offer an alternative to the status quo. We will explore the spatial and social implications of different governance models, as well as their relationship to their geopolitical context. The Atlas will emphasize the connections between governance structures and architectural/urban forms.