Model LIFE Community : Lifeville
A example of the policies of LIFE in practice
Housing & Sustenance
Lifeville has made the town a car-free zone and used the reclaimed space to build up the town center to provide public and private housing, low emissions business spaces and community centers for education, childcare and entertainment.
When LIFE was introduced in the state, Lifeville used the opportunity to buy up some old housing stock and refurbish it using local workers. Those houses are now part of Lifeville’s BASE housing stock and are made available to citizens on an as needed basis – if Lifeville doesn’t have available BASE housing at the time of need, then citizens are housing in other nearby communities.
The Lifeville Community operates a free canteen at the community center in town which provides all the school meals and two meals a day at the center to all comers. The center buys more than 80% of its food from local businesses and farms in the surrounding region.
As a car-free zone with relatively high density occupation, Lifeville only has three kinds of motorized transport, all publicly provided.
There is a bus service (natural gas powered) that runs around town with a reduced schedule after 10pm and before 5am every day.
There are commercial vans (electric) which can be rented from the Lifeville Community Offices by anyone for personal or commercial use
Finally there are carts (electric) that can carry 4 people and luggage that are available for anyone to use on a first come first served basis
None of the community vehicles can leave the town perimeter, due to physical barriers, and so where each road enters the town from the surrounding region, there is a car park to transfer to Lifeville transport options.
The Lifeville Community has a web site that shows the location of every vehicle in the town and if it is currently available. Citizens use this page to find the nearest vehicle and reserve the vans; the Lifeville Community transport coordinators use it to determine what redistributions of carts and vans need to be made to efficiently meet people’s needs in the coming hours.
The bus service is timed to mesh with peak demand periods such as the beginning and end of the work day, cinema times, meal times and other events around town.
A number of town people run manually powered transport services ranging from bike messengers to rickshaws. The rickshaws are a particular favorite with the town’s elderly population who have lost their driving licenses on account of deteriorating vision and other impediments to driving safely.
Although there has been little change at the primary and middle schools, the high school now provides education for all the town’s people over the age of 14. Many of the new students are also teachers of other classes and the school operates all year round providing academic, vocational and cultural courses.
The Lifeville Community Childcare Center provides child care and pre-school education, to anyone who wants the service, 7 days a week and is staffed 50% by community volunteers and parents.
Lifeville invested in a wind turbine farm (actually only 5 turbines) in an adjacent valley a few years back and has succeeding in reducing their demand from the regional electrical grid by 30% so far.
There are more than a dozen local businesses providing efficiency and micro generation services in the town and citizens receive 50% community rebates on investments they make to reduce their home energy requirements.
Lifeville has just completed the installation of a fiber optic network that reaches to every dwelling and commercial premises in the town – they paid an outside firm to do the installation but the infrastructure belongs to the community. The new fiber optic network and wireless access points throughout the town were paid for by a community bond that will be repaid over 15 years out of local property taxes.
The network infrastructure terminates at the Lifeville Community Data Center which is owned and operated by the community. From the Data Center, Lifeville links out to the Internet, as well as providing connection facilities for any commercial services that want to be available to Lifeville residents and businesses. So far 37 television networks, 5 international communications companies and 15 business data networks are connected to the Lifeville data network.
Also housed at the Data Center is the Lifeville xID. The xID system provides identify confirmation to requests from all the public systems at regional, state and transterritorial levels. xID systems are standards compliant identity storage and verification systems and although somewhat costly to install and maintain, after Lifeville’s population surpassed 8,000, the citizens voted to bring their xID system local and out of the regional data center. Lifeville residents just feel better knowing that their ID information is kept where they can literally “keep an eye on it”.
There are nearly 7,000 listings in the Lifeville Community SPEx, that’s more than one business for every two people! You can get just about anything you want done in town from shoe repair to house cleaning, from custom bicycle manufacture to computer programming.
Only 10% of Lifeville residents have a job outside of town and most of them only have to travel a few days a week.
If Lifeville locals can’t provide the service or product, the Regional SPEx Directory has another 80,000 listings and the State one has over a 20 million!
A couple of old car parks have been converted into allotments which various people around town use to grow vegetables which they sell directly to customers.
The largest employer in Lifeville is a software development company that moved here around the same time as the fiber optic network was installed and was a prime mover in getting the bond funded to make those infrastructure improvements. Their offices are on the edge of town where they have converted an old warehouse adjacent to one of the regional roads to Lifeville, that allows their out of town employees to get in and out easily.
Lifeville has its own Community Medical Center where there are doctors and dentists, as well as facilities for small scale surgeries and urgent care. Lifeville has partnered with three other local towns and the regional heathcare network to operate a hospital out of the nearby Localville town. In this way Lifeville doctors can continue to work with their town resident patients, even when they need more extensive treatement than is available in town.
A couple of locals started a nightclub in the valley under the wind turbines and that attracts not only locals but also people from around the region.
The cinema in town is still doing business as it has for years and there are flourishing streetwalk cafes and restaurants, many operating out of premises built in the middle of old carparks in such a way that in the winter they put up awnings that allow pedestrains to keep dry when walking between them when it’s raining.