When most people think of a “condo”, they usually picture a flat
or apartment in a high rise. Think instead of a more rural a recreational
condo like a multi-family mountain ski chalet or some vacation condos on
the beach or lakeside. Now consider the possibility of putting such a condo
development in some rural rolling hills countryside adjacent to some farm
land and combining the concept of a recreational retreat with a survival
retreat. In this way, your survival retreat becomes a group endeavor, which
offers several cost-saving advantages, establishes clear rights and responsibilities,
and, also importantly, an operating system of government.
Survivalists tend to be individualists, thus they are going to want their own space at least some extent, be it a room or a complete townhouse. Condominium law clearly provides for private space and public space, which are clearly defined in writing with rules, financial responsibilities, and penalties included. The condominium association, which enforces these rules and manages the public areas, is a democratic system of government elected by the owners. Also, new condominium laws have allowed for even more flexibility; say each unit also gets a private amount of garden space on common land, a private locker in the main shed, two parking spaces, etc. It is limited largely by imagination of the developer and then the association.
Remember, it is of course cheaper to built multi-tenant buildings than separate houses for many reasons. Savings can be expanded by including common heat for at least common areas, building a highly efficient earth bermed design, or heating common areas with a wood fired outdoor system running hydronic heat (i.e. http://www.centralboiler.com/ ). Consider sharing a $25,000 2.2 KW solar panel system or a 3 KW or larger windmill (i.e. http://www.meridiansolar.com/residential.htm ) which chares a large battery bank system that serves everyone. If you don’t use electricity to heat or heat water, for the stove, for the dish washing, air conditioning, or for the clothes dryer (use gas, propane, wood, or other sources instead) you really don’t need that much power. Most electronics don’t draw that much, and to be even more efficient, you could wire some special outlets for straight DC if you can get the voltages correct for what you are trying to run (TV, computer). Better to get a large generator and a backup than one for each unit, and to standardize on fuel, and buy in bulk. These shared costs can be very clearly divided among condo owners, even with meters installed, if need be, to be completely fair. If individual members want more, then they can buy more for their condo unit. The point is, it creates a system of working together and sharing costs, while still allowing people to have their own private supplies in their own private spaces. IMHO this is why communes don’t work, and why condos are growing in popularity. In a condo system, you are held accountable for what you must give to the group, but beyond that, if you want your part of it to be nicer, that’s fine. Inequality in your own unit is up to you, and you are the master of that space, though you owe some service for the common good. This creates a workable, fair, balanced system subject to review by an elected association.
Now imagine the aspects of defense. You have the chance to set up communication, surveillance, and command systems to be in place from the start. Defense really takes several persons to do effectively, and a condo development with multiple units, with many families working together, gives you the people power to pull from and create an effective defense, not to mention an entire cohesive, and extremely self-reliant micro community.
Common areas can include common buildings for storage, maybe a green house, swimming pool, fishing pond, a farming operation, or how about a mess hall, a large commercial style kitchen that can feed everyone. One person can cook for 2 or 20 in just a fraction more time if you have the supplies and equipment. (This also frees up people to do other things.) Consider a walk-in deep freezer, and a food storage system everyone shares. Ideally, most owners would want the flexibility each unit having its own kitchenette, but cost will dictate whether this is set up more like a large house with many bed and bathroom units (more like a dorm, bed & breakfast, or hotel) or more like a group of apartments or town houses with some common areas also.
All too often in survivalism, you have one spouse that is into it far more than the other. This is where making the condo survival retreat into a recreational complex is a great way to justify the cost. Personally, it would be ideal if the condo association owned a large amount of farm land and either had a farming operation going, or worked with a local farmer to do that so food production capability, and food storage was always in a ready state. Put in a fish pond, chicken coop, bee hives, and have small animal herds you can grow quickly if you need to with plenty of feed in silos (which can also make great observation or defensive positions too). For the “city folk”, such a rural retreat offers all the outdoor stuff, camping, hiking, hunting, working on the farm, ATVs, fishing, (if up north – snowmobiling, cross country skiing, show shoeing, etc.). Remember paint ball is a great way for your group to get to know each other and train. Thus the condo serves many purposes; recreation, piece of mind, and a real estate investment (though there would no doubt be some rules as to sale or transfer of interest). Consider it if you are planning a survival retreat with others. - Rourke ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat )