‘Transition Town’ Ahualoa?

I read the Transition Handbook last year. It’s a growing movement, and it’s full of great ideas for making sustainable local communities. There are lots of issues to figure out, about how to interact with local government, and finding the people who have the time and talent for organizing. I’ve spent some months thinking about how my community could use the Transition model, and there’s one other major issue: Geography. Transition works with face-to-face meeting; that’s a fundamental pillar. Not just monthly face-to-face either, but frequent. That means a community that lives close to each other, within a small area.

The area i live in, Ahualoa, is around 3×2 miles, 6 square miles. That might be OK size-wise, but there are drawbacks:
1. A 1000-foot rise from one end to the other makes getting around more energy-intensive.
2. Few roads (no grid or spokes) and no paths, so to avoid trespassing you have to walk/drive a long way, to go a short way as an ‘io flies.
3. Many sparsely-inhabited 20-acre lots means low population density.
4. No central point or public space. 60 years ago, we had several small schools and, i believe, a store. These are long gone. There’s nowhere to meet or barter.

You can see the pattern of big lots with few roads:

Unless we can improve these issues, Ahualoa remains in danger of being a 100% car-dependent ‘bedroom community’ to other places – which is a very bad place to be when only the rich will drive cars.

2 thoughts on “‘Transition Town’ Ahualoa?

  1. We live in a similar area. The small town 10 miles away is pleasantly gridlike and has some centers, but our valley is very linear and like you said, hard to get off the road-strip without trespassing.

    On the one hand its an excellent place for practicing farming and other sustainability-oriented pursuits, but as for implementing these things when they are needed, the situation is not without worry. I’ve gone so far as to wonder about animal-powered transportation for the trek to town (and even then, there is not a whole lot there) but the expenses and impact of horses also bother me. Its certainly a walkable/bikeable distance, but I suspect people will vacate long before that becomes commonplace.

    Nonetheless, I don’t ever want to move again and I’m trying to carve a life here that is flexible and robust enough to make it worth establishing long-term projects and roots.

  2. Hello — a new follower here.

    My husband and I live in a place that will become absolutely unsustainable once oil shortages begin, and we have major weather issues as well. I’ve been trying to convince him to move somewhere less vulnerable and have recently begun to consider Hawaii, especially the Big Island. I started to wonder about the mindset of people on the island, and that led me to your blog.

    I see your predicament about the area in which you live. Horses and/or donkeys and mules may become essential in times to come — and while they do require grazing land, they also provide manure. Not everyone need have one, though — in the olden times, a travelling tinker often went from farmhouse to farmhouse selling goods not readily available otherwise. But isolation, access to medical care . . . these are concerns for areas such as yours. Have you considered ways you might cope?

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