Agency 23: Community Land & Utilities

17 min read

The Community Land and Utilities Agency is the twenty-third agency in the community. The agency’s primary role is to provide land that other agencies use to build within the inner community and mirrored villages and to facilitate the provision of utilities to participants.

The agency forms part of the Land and Utilities Bureau, together with Agency 22 (Cropland and Pastures) and Agency 24 (Transportation & Raw Materials). The three agencies own all land used for agriculture, building the community’s physical campus, and sourcing raw materials.

Land and utilities

The public facilities that the agency deals with include parks, libraries, auditoriums and theatres, sports facilities, and community art facilities. Others include schools, hospitals, and museums. The agency works with participants and other community agencies to facilitate access and to advise participants. To achieve its objective, the agency performs the roles described below. For some of core roles, it does not liaise with other agencies. For others, it needs coordination with other agencies.

The Capital Bank Agency (agency 8) receives investment in the form of partnership interest from limited partners, which it in turn invests in community agencies, including the Community Land Agency. The agency uses these funds for operations, including down payments for the loans it needs to acquire land, and delivering chargeable services to participants. From its revenues, it pays the Capital Bank a return on its investment, which in turn enables the bank to pay limited partners superior returns on their investments.

What and how utilities are provided

The Community Land and Utilities Agency facilitates participants’ access to a host of utilities including water, electricity, natural gas, and waste disposal. The agency provides the infrastructure that enables the utilities to reach participants.

The community is built to maximize access to utilities by participants. In a branch, every two apartment buildings are built together. This enables them to share stairways and elevators, and therefore, optimizes their use, and prevents the construction of otherwise rarely-used facilities. This approach also enables two apartment buildings to duplicate utility systems, which is useful for backup.

Electricity is delivered to participants’ apartments and businesses through a central grid that the agency sets up with the help of contractors. The grid helps stabilize power distribution, such that low or high consumption can be balanced effectively. The agency does not produce power, however. Instead, vendors produce electricity and use the agency’s infrastructure to distribute it, at a fee. The agency’s power grid provides evacuation centers to take up power once produced, transmission lines, and distribution centers.

Businesses run by limited partners produce electricity and offer it competitively to participants. Electricity is mainly generated through nuclear energy, which is cheaper and safer. Every aartment has a backup fuel cell that generates power using natural gas. The backup is automatically plugged in if there is too much demand, or a vendor is unable to meet demand for a short time. The grid also helps in storing power during low demand.

The Community Land and Utilities Agency also sets up the grid infrastructure needed to supply natural gas to apartment buildings. Vendors mine gas with the authority of leases from the Raw Materials and Transport Agency (agency 24) and supply it to participants using this grid. In instances where the community’s land does not have such resources, vendors procure the natural gas from elsewhere.

The community obtains water through available sources such as dams, rivers, groundwater, desalination of seawater, and rain harvesting. The Raw Materials and Transport Agency issues leases to water vendors who make the water available for domestic, industrial, and agricultural use. To get the water to where it is needed, vendors rely on the water grid set up by the Community Land and Utilities Agency.

Water for each use – domestic, industrial, and agricultural – is treated differently. Most water for domestic consumption is recycled using technologies that reduce consumption by up to 99% of what is used currently. Domestic grey and blackwater recycling also puts recycled water back to use immediately after it is used. Industrial water is also recycled extensively, resulting in minimal water leakages – households will need minimal “new” water, to replenish leakages.  

Irrigation is more water-intensive than industrial or domestic consumption in the community. The grid accommodates this with larger capacity and dedicated supply lines. Where possible, recycling is used to save water farm larger areas, and meet the community’s food demand.

Waste management is a complex process, considering the waste in question and the application of technology in the process. As indicated above, most water for domestic and industrial use is recycled. Recycling employs multi-effect distillation and pyrolysis, which results in fresh water and a residue that can, after further treatment, be transformed into charcoal. Water recycling is handled in apartments.

The charcoal that results from recycling can be used for fuel or be used as a soil additive. Apartment hosts hire contractors to remove the waste from apartments to where it is needed. Burning results in carbon dioxide. The Community Land And Utilities Agency sets up pipelines that transport the gas from apartments to greenhouses and vertical farms, where it is used to boost vegetables’ growth. The pipelines are run by contractors who are paid by the fees participants pay for waste management.

Solid waste is produced by recycling, composting, or landfills. Organic matter, such as vegetables is transported to cropland and used to produce compost manure. Clear glass is recycled to make containers and bottles and reused. Colored glass is ground and used in construction. Plastics are treated through catalytic pyrolysis to produce carbon and other products. The Community Land and Utilities Agency sets up the necessary facilities that businesses that specialize in waste disposal use for these techniques.

Where waste cannot be recycled or otherwise reused, it is transported to landfills. The agency sets up landfills as needed, and through its automated system, coordinates contractors as they transport waste from where it is produced to the landfills.

Due to the use of technology to deal with waste, each community will have a relatively low amount of waste that needs to be taken to a landfill. Therefore, 50 communities, which together form a NewVista, can use one landfill especially when they are close together. Where this is logistically suboptimal, more landfills can be created closer to the community.

In addition to services provided to participants by contractors using the Community Land and Utilities Agency’s infrastructure, every branch has a cell fuel-powered utility system that acts as backup and optimization tool for utilities access. The system provides electricity, water, air conditioning, and waste management. Using energy from the fuel cell, the system is especially useful for waste management, including multi-effect distillation and pyrolysis, as well as the drying up of biomass for landfill or for use as a farm input.

Roles of the agency

  • Acquire land for community buildings, and lease it to relevant agencies to develop
  • Facilitate provision of utilities to participants
  • Training

Community Land

The three agencies in the Land and Utilities Bureau procure land on behalf of the community. Part of the land is used for community buildings, while the rest is used for cropland and pasture, easements, mining, and transport corridors. The Community Land and Utilities Agency is responsible for zoning and preparing 2.88 square miles of land that agencies will use to build village buildings (apartments), district buildings, hubs, and their mirrors outside the village. As part of readying the land for construction, the agency lays any infrastructure needed, such as water and power. Once buildings have been constructed, the agency that owns a structure pays an annual leasing fee to the Community Land and Utilities Agency.

Utilities’ provision

The Community Land and Utilities Agency facilitates participants’ access to utilities. The agency sets up the relevant grids, pipelines, and other systems that vendors and apartments use to provide utilities to participants. With the assistance of contractors, the agency maintains the systems and improves them as necessary for optimal performance.

Vendors lease the agency’s infrastructure to provide services. for instance, a power-generating business will hire the grid to supply electricity. It will also use this system to collaborate with other producers with a view of balancing power supply, efficiency, and reducing wastage.

Training

The agency endeavors to train participants on the right ways of processing waste, to ensure it can achieve its objective for recycling or otherwise reusing waste. The agency offers extensive training to participants on the proper use of utilities, not just to ensure prudent use, but to also enable them to extract maximum value from them.

Farmers are trained in irrigation efficiency, which is a key element in sustainable water management. Modern irrigation techniques are highly wasteful, with less than half of the water used making it to the root system where it is needed. With proper techniques and expertise, the agency can still be able to empower farmers to farm crops deemed too water-intensive, especially in water-insecure areas.

How the agency works

Background on presidencies

Every presidency in the community presidency is a four-member entity whose members represent one of the four major demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). However, a president serves the whole community in their role, rather than only their own demographic. Presidents’ diversity and commitment to serve all is provided for in the community bylaws and ensures that all access services without any discrimination.

These four major demographics are evenly split in ordinary society, with each group accounting for between 23 and 27% of the population, and with regular fluctuations as people’s status changes. The community appreciates that discrimination across all social categories happens based on marital status, other social categorizations notwithstanding; married men are likelier to dominate other demographics, especially single men and single women. Married women are also likelier to have better outcomes in careers and leadership than single women.

The community’s infrastructure promotes equal access to economic and social resources and opportunities. The composition of the community as a whole and those who serve it in the community public service is closely monitored to prevent numerical domination, which can lead to nepotism or unequal access.

Besides marital status, the recruitment to be a participant, and to serve in the public service carefully considers other social categorizations, to ensure racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual groups are well represented in the community as they are in the society in which a community operates. These considerations inform the constitution of the community public service. The diversity in community public service, which is provided by bylaws, is aimed at creating a community that is blind to all other considerations besides service to participants. The service is therefore designed to be free of discrimination.

Executive presidency, bureau board, and demographic presidencies

The Community Land and Utilities Agency is served by an executive presidency of four presidents. The executive presidency sets the agency’s overall strategy and operating policies. It also sets up an automated system through which the agency interacts with participants. Adjusts the strategy, policies, and automated system as needed to better serve the community.

As part of the Land and Utilities Bureau, the Community Land and Utilities Agency’s executive presidency forms a 12-member bureau board together with the executive presidencies serving the Cropland and Pastures, and Raw Materials and Transport agencies. The board is a check and balance tool for individual presidents and agencies, especially on decisions that have far-reaching implications for the community. In the initial period, as a community is formed, the board plays a critical role in the acquisition, zoning, and development of land for various uses.

Within the bureau board, three presidents from the same demographic form a demographic presidency. There are four such presidencies in the bureau. The demographic presidency works on matters of common interest to a demographic, that cut across the three agencies. The demographic presidency also plays an important role in the mentorship and training of new presidents.

Demographic presidency ADemographic presidency BDemographic presidency CDemographic presidency D
Executive presidency, Cropland and Pastures (22)22A22B22C22D
Executive presidency, Community Land and Utilities (23)23A23B23C23D
Executive presidency, Raw Materials, and Transport(24)24A24B24C24D

Limited partners, branch presidencies, and boards

As part of the Land and Utilities Bureau, the Community Land and Utilities Agency does not have operational presidencies that serve participants on agency-specific matters. Instead, the agency relies on branch presidencies and the human relations’ village presidencies for interactions with participants, in addition to the automated system. This section illustrates how this works, from the community’s organization, to branch presidencies and boards. 

Limited partners and dependents

A limited partner is the basic unit in the community. A limited person, usually above 18 years old, but sometimes as young as 16, has been admitted into the community and has invested $20,000 as partnership interest, for which they earn a return. This is regarded as one unit of partnership interest.

Over time, a limited partner can add more units of partnership interest, as their business prospers. The more partnership interest units a limited partner has, the more the return they receive from the agency.

 A dependent is a minor, or a person living with a disability, under the care of a limited partner. In some instances, a dependent may be a fit adult, who for various reasons is supported by community agencies, and assigned by contract to a limited partner.  Limited partners are responsible for any legal agreements that their dependents enter into, either with community agencies or other participants.

Together, limited partners and dependents are referred to as participants. Participants who are dependents, because they are still minors, can start a business when they reach 12 years of age. This allows them to save up and invest $20,000 into the community by their 18th birthday, and possibly as early as 16.

Limited partners and their dependents reside in apartments (village buildings). Each apartment has 4 floors, with each floor containing 16 apartments. Each floor has floor has 7 – 12 limited partners, with each limited partner having 1 – 3 dependents. Each floor therefore has around 25 residents. With four floors, each building has approximately 100 residents. An apartment building also forms a branch.

Group councils and branch presidencies

 Of the approximately 100 residents in a branch, around 40 of them are limited partners. Each group has around 10 limited partners and forms a group council. A group council is diverse, containing different social groups that are reflective of the society within which a community operates.

Additionally, a group contains members of the four main demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). The council meets at least quarterly and provides limited partners with a platform to interact and discuss common interest matters to their demographic within their branch. One of the members of the group council serves the group as a captain.

Four captains who serve the four groups in an apartment building (branch) form a branch presidency. A branch presidency’s membership is drawn from the four main demographics, for the purposes of representation.

Captains are responsible for recruiting limited partners into the community through their council and by extension, branch. A captain does not recruit limited partners only from their demographic. Instead, they work to ensure that their recruits are diverse, considering social categorizations, gender, and social status, in addition to demographic groups.

Captains work in concert with their fellow captains in the branch presidency, and other presidencies in a village and district to ensure that the district is as diverse as possible. They are guided by present data on how diverse their district, village, and branch are, and what needs to be focused on to improve. They are also guided by community bylaws, which expressly require diversity as shown by demographic data about a population from which the community intends to recruit limited partners.

The captain serves as a service extension of the Human Relations Agency, though they also act as an interface between participants and other community agencies. For agencies that do not have operational presidencies, such as agencies in the Economic and Public Administration Bureaus, captains come in handy in helping participants navigate the agency’s automated system and other relevant tools used by the agency to deliver services.

10 branches form a village. Each of the branch presidencies also belongs to a specific branch board. Branch boards provide an additional check and balance for captains and branch presidencies. Branches are numbered based on the village’s hub, in the direction of the breezeway one-way traffic direction.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-16.png
Numbering system for branches.

A hub is formed at the intersection of breezeways between villages. Hub buildings are used for a range of commercial activities that need to be closer to residential areas, such as daycare centers, grocery stores, and emergency centers, among others.

A branch’s number determines with whom its presidency will form a branch board. Branch presidencies 1, 2, and 3 form one branch board, as do 4, 5, and 6, and 7, 8, and 9.

Four villages make a district. The last branch presidency in each village in the community (branch presidency 10) combines with three others in their district or cluster of 3 districts to form additional branch boards. The last branch presidencies in villages 1, 2, and 3 in each district make a board. The last branch presidencies in village 4 of each of the 3 districts in a cluster also form a board.

This can be illustrated as follows:

Besides belonging to a branch presidency and a board, every captain belongs to a demographic presidency of 3. A demographic presidency is made up of 3 captains within a board, and who serve the same demographic. The demographic presidency mainly serves an advisory function, safeguarding issues common to the particular demographic, and helping in mentorship and support for incoming captains.

The automated system is designed to help participants with all the help they need in matters related to the Community Land and Utilities Agency. However, should they run into problems, captains assist them in navigating the system, or direct them to relevant contractors who help them at a fee.

Automated system

The Community Land and Utilities uses an automated system to interact with contractors and where need be, participants. The system handles requests for maintenance, coordination between various vendors, and troubleshooting, among others. Through the system, the agency can discover problems with its systems, and secure the services of contractors as needed.

Contractors and branch/village presidencies also engage with the agency through the system, unless in specific instances when they need to personally engage with the executive presidency. Such engagements happen from Monday to Thursday every week, for 45 minutes from 8:00 to 8:45 AM. 

Contractors

The Community Land and Utilities Agency relies on contractors for much of its work. Contractors, who are limited partners in the specific community, are hired to set up the automated system, survey and zone land, and make it fit for construction. They also set up the various systems needed to facilitate access to utilities by the community, including the power grid, water systems, localized waste management and disposal, landfill management, and natural gas.

While the agency’s automated system is equipped to assist in maintenance, to the agency’s systems, contractors are needed to carry out the actual work, including plumbing, electrical works, and similar work. Each time a contractor performs some work concerning the agency, they prepare a report. The report helps the executive presidency pinpoint any issues with the automated system or other systems that it runs, and correct them in time.  

Inter-agency cooperation

The 24 community agencies form three columns of 8 agencies each. There is loose collaboration between the agencies in a column. The Community Land and Utilities Agency forms part of the second column.

The agency receives loans to buy and prepare land, and to set up systems for utilities from the Capital Bank (agency 8). The bank also invests capital in the agency. It receives a return on its investment in addition to loan repayments. The Community Land and Utilities Agency works with the Stewardship Agency (agency 2) in the development of hubs, their mirrors, and industrial buildings. The agency also collaborates with the Stewardship Agency as contractors are accredited to supply utilities to participants. The Legal Affairs Agency (agency 14) assists contractors as they sign contracts to provide services to the Community Land and Utilities Agency and participants.

The 24 agencies are organized in rows and columns. Beyond working in their bureau (row), agencies also interact extensively within their column. An overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Human and Financial Capital Department is here, and an overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Process and Property Department is here. A more detailed version of this graphic with some historic background is posted here.

Presidencies’ offices, meetings, and quarterly conferences

Offices

The Community Land and Utilities Agency’s executive presidency has offices in District Building 23’s first floor, on the western side. Facing them on the eastern side are the offices for trustee presidency and Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidency serving the agency and District 23.

Trustees and the regulatory operational presidencies alternate their offices. Trustees have the offices in building 23 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the operational presidencies use the offices on Mondays and Wednesdays, as shown in this timetable:

Building 11/ Bylaws and IT InfrastructureBuilding 23/ Community Land and Utilities
MondayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
TuesdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency
WednesdayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
ThursdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency

The first floor’s layout is as follows, including other public servants who serve District 23.

Working hours and meetings

All community public servants work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. The Community Land and Utilities Agency’s executive presidency uses this time to interact with other public servants and in some instances, contractors. On Thursday, each presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.

On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole board meets, where the presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.

Quarterly conferences

Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together in the same row.

Quarterly conferences are held in District Buildings 5 and 17. Each building has a lower and higher assembly court. The different demographic groups use the assembly courts as follows:

BuildingAssembly courtDemographic
5Lower courtMarried men (A)
5Higher courtMarried Women (B)
17Lower courtSingle women (C)
17Higher courtSingle men (D)

Branch presidencies do not attend quarterly conferences. Instead, they follow the relevant proceedings online alongside other participants.

Each of the four assembly courts has seats for 480 presidents representing the respective demographic. In the diagram below each of the 4 courts is illustrated. The ceiling of each court has an elliptical arch that enables executive presidents, who are the only ones who make a presentation during the conference, to speak without the need to amplify their voices. The 480 seats are easily rotatable to enable presidents to face whoever is speaking.

Each of the four courts has an identical arrangement and number of seats. The exact arrangement of each court can therefore be illustrated using one court, in this case, building 5’s lower court that is used by married men (A).

Within an assembly court, the 480 presidents are arranged in terms of demographic presidencies of 3. Land and Utilities Bureau’s demographic presidency for married men (22A, 23A, and 24A) sits as highlighted in the graphic below.

Representations of hierarchical- and matrix-type organizations.
The structure of a hierarchical-type organization is shown on the left, and that of a matrix-type organization is shown on the right.

Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:

  1. Access to public facilities is considered a key element in maintaining a community’s quality of life. In some quarters, it is even considered a civil right. Participants will have access to the facilities they need for leisure, sport, and for health issues (Ghasemzadeh, R. and M. Kamali. “Accessibility to the public facilities: a mean to achieve civil rights of the people with disabilities in Iran.” Iranian Rehabilitation Journal 6.7 (2008): 73-82).
  2. There is a strong link between physical exercise and health. The provision of facilities is therefore not only for the direct benefit of providing recreation, but also for health reasons, besides cultural exchange (museums and other cultural centers), and professional discourse. People who live in communities where they have access to such facilities are likely to be healthier (Eriksson, U., D. Arvidsson and K. Sundquist. “Availability of exercise facilities and physical activity in 2,037 adults: cross-sectional results from the Swedish neighborhood and physical activity (SNAP) study.” BMC Public Health 12.607 (2012): 10.1186/1471-2458-12-607).
  3. By involving the community in the development of public facilities, the community is able to develop facilities that a majority of participants can actually use. The process also garners wider support in the community, and ultimately helps fulfill the objectives of the agency. Some public facilities, such as parks may have a historical or sentimental value to participants. Their development must therefore consider their viewpoints (Kansas, University of. Community Tool Box. Kansas City: University of Kansas, 2018).
  4. In developing public facilities, it is important to consider community demographics, such as increase in population, the age groups of residents, culture, among other characteristics that could have an effect on preferred and needed public facilities. Public facilities that are developed with such considerations are utilized optimally, and are more beneficial to the participants (Anchorage-Municipality. Public Facility Planning. 2019. 07 07 2019).
  5. The management of public facilities is guided by international standards. The standards enable benchmarking and establishing best practice in facility management. The community will develop its own standards that aim to improve on the international standards (ISO 41001), to enhance usability and manage running costs (Tranchard, S. New ISO standard in development to facilitate facilities management. 21 09 2016. 07 07 2019).
  6. The development of public facilities must consider the ease of access to everyone with an interest in accessing them. Some of the factors to consider include age, people living with disability, or with other health conditions that demand special accommodation. With easy access to these facilities, the community can realize their full potential, both socially and economically (Ghasemzadeh and Kamali; and Hayati, A. and M. Faqih. “Disables’ accessibility problems on the public facilities within the context of Surabaya, Indonesia.” Humanities and Social Sciences 1.3 (2013): 78-84).
  7. Public facilities are not only good for their functionality. They are sometimes a testament of a community’s economic and social prosperity, or lack of it. Many times however, they display a community’s culture and influences, and the artistic impressions that define the community. The Public Facilities Agency will therefore develop facilities that embody the values of the community even as it focuses on their usability and impact on the community (Zhou, L. “Research on the Design of Public Facilities in Urban Environmental Art Design.” International Conference on Arts and Design, Education and Social Sciences (2017): 225-230).
  8. The return on investment used to develop public facilities cannot be quantified on financial terms only. The public facilities generate more than the rents the leasing Agency receives. They have cultural, health and recreational value too. Therefore, while the Public Facilities Agency repays the loans used to develop these facilities, it generates invaluable benefits to participants in other ways. Performance measurement tools should however be employed to have a clear quantitative and qualitative idea of the return (Pichova, S. & J. Stejskal, 2015. “Return-on-investment of public investments to systems which provide public services? a case study,” ERSA conference papers ersa15p1399, European Regional Science Association).