Thumbnails Outlines
Björn Westerberg Nauclér
Muizenberg, South Africa
1.0 Introduction
This document, hereafter referred to as
the synopsis, is an incomplete project de-
scription. It describes the process of acquiring of
a piece of farmland and transforming it to a 4-5
inhabitant settlement on the road to sovereignty.
A further component of the project is to create
another document to supercede and replace
this one. Hence, this document should be
seen as work in progress; asking more
questions than it answers.
2.0 Concept description
Burning Land is a permanent settlement based on the
ten principles of Burning Man
. It is not an attempt to make
a permanent version of the Burning Man festival. Such a creation
would be economically, environmentally and socially unsustainable.
The objective is to acquire a piece of farmland in South Africa, most likely in
the Western or Eastern Cape, with existing buildings and boreholes. Then the
project will enter a process to slowly move this little settlement closer towards
self-reliance. It is not the goal to completely disconnect from society, but to re-
duce reliance on it. To begin with, the farm will have 4-5 inhabitants sharing the
same set of core values.
Once established, the settlement will grow parts of the food and generate
parts of the electricity it needs. It will also provide a platform for undertak-
ing different creative projects to provide the income needed for addition-
al expenses.
One part of the business plan generation is to thoroughly
define the ‘package’ – What is provided by the project
and what is expected from each inhabitant.
2.1 Characteristics
& features
The base of the projects and activities that are
undertaken by Burning Land stem from a strong
sense of ethics and principles.
The birth of projects will sprout on a do-ocratic basis; when
an inhabitant of Burning Land gets a project idea, they can put
it into action without any ado. No decisions to be taken, no
conversations to be had. An economic structure that supports
this kind of behavior is still to be designed as a part of the
business plan.
It is important that the settlement can provide both
the physical, psychological and emotional
framework that fosters creation, rather
than slowing progress down.
Proposed early bird projects to start once the settlement is operating:
Generating wind and solar energy at a low cost, partly using upcycled material
Growing crops according to permaculture principles, also to generate biodiesel
and biogas
Creating a refund system for selected materials and upcycle the material to art
Set up a small campsite for visitors and contributors
Arrange customized parties and other events
3.2 Underlying dream
My dream is a world of equality, accep-
tance, inclusion and a freedom for expression
of oneself. I believe that such a world is possible
and perhaps the only way to sustain human life. I
believe that fundamental truths about human na-
ture have been repressed through ideals based on
constant economic growth and an almost universal
striving towards material excess. Hence, my role
in society is to empower people to ask them-
selves what kind of world they would like
to live in, and how this world can be
made possible.
3.3 Life guiding principles
- Ownership of material possessions is a
false premise with the only real effect and purpose being
to concentrate wealth amongst a small group of people.
- I believe that it is a basic human right to be able to
express oneself, be it through conversation, art or music.
- There is space for everyone to be heard and feel ac-
cepted. We don’t have to agree, but it is the responsibility of every hu-
man being to listen.
- As soon we take something for granted without
questioning it we are ignoring our own ethics and passively tak-
ing a stance in favor of the status quo.
- We are stronger together, and
when we create is when we shine the most.
3.4 Field description
This project is rooted in the South African local context,
and operates in the following fields:
Creative freedom
Community development
Anti-consumerism & environmentalism
Business design
Agriculture / permaculture
4.0 Research summary
The main question guiding the research has been “How
can we prototype another world together?” The four research
subjects most relevant for the concept are:
Burning man & similar festivals
- Burning Man is the world’s largest ex-
periment in alternate realities and radical societal change. It might not be a
sustainable way of life, but presents participants with an array of questions about
the nature of the world.
Off-the grid societies & micronations
- Some people have already taken a step away
from the conventional notion of western society. These people are pioneers leading
the change that will be necessary in the years to come.
Intelligent disobedience
- There are many ways of creating change in society.
Some believe in voting and reformation, others in throwing bricks. There are
direct and non-violent ways of protesting status quo.
– Humans have tried to conquer the earth for a long
time, forcing ecosystems into submission. Permaculture is all
about the opposite; learning how to integrate man with
natural systems and create sustainable relationships
between people, other animals and crops.
4.1 Future research
The research for this project has not ended with this synopsis, but will continually
evolve. The synopsis is a lens focusing the beams, not a finished product. Further
research is needed in the following fields:
Suitable land and ecosystems
Blue economy & ZERI
The South African economic, legal and cultural context
Passive solar architecture
Permaculture, agriculture, aquaponics and irrigation
Business model generation
Energy generation
4.2 Most relevant needs &
There is a general trend in society towards urbanization
and disconnection from nature. At the same time the count-
er-movement is getting stronger. People are, through a higher
degree of connection, getting increasingly aware of the destructive
effects of consumerism: the environment is suffering, wealth is being
increasingly concentrated amongst a small elite and the psychology of the
world is being influenced and manipulated.
Transition towns and off-the-grid societies are appearing in both South Africa
and other parts of the world, and the general interest for living a life con-
nected to a strong value base is increasing. Every single society has their
own principles and ideas about how they want their world to look and func-
tion. The more options that are explicitly available to people, the closer
to heart will the inhabitants of these communities be able to live their
The world is in need of radical change, and none of us can
make it happen alone. To present an alternative,
is to take active action in both creating
change and inspiring others.
4.3 Partners
& relations
The scale of the Burning Land project requires involve-
ment of more human resources than myself. I will actively work
to involve the following groups into the project:
- People who have a strong interest in taking part in the project, who
could invest money into it and be a part of the core group that makes it all happen.
Legally binding contracts are needed for future inhabitants to ensure commitment.
Supporters -
As the project progresses and reaches a wider audience, people who cannot be
a part of the core group might want to be involved in other ways than as inhabitants. A process
for how to utilize these resources will be developed.
The extended Afrikaburn community
- As the burning culture is one of the cor-
nerstones in the project design, much value exchange can happen between Burning Land and
the Afrikaburn community. Joint art creation, storage of art cars and larger installation pieces
(depending on the final location of the settlement), off-burn events and as Burning Land being
a catalyst for other meaningful relations.
- Close connections exists between the project and the staff and students
of the Kaospilot Business and Design school. Innovative minds will be of great use in
business model generation and organizational design.
Permaculture experts
- The project has connections to a few perma-
culture experts who can help with the design of the agricultural
element of the settlement and defining the parameters for
land scouting.
Current status
The first formalization of
Burning Land is done through this
synopsis, in January 2014. At the
time of writing the synopsis there
are still many things to work
out until the project plan is
viable and complete.
4.3.1 Kaospilot Outpost project
At the time of synopsis publication the project has applied for a Kaospilot Outpost
project group. The current timeline is based on the assumption that this request
does not get accepted.
If the project proposal gets accepted, the following activities of the project will be
delegated to, or done in collaboration with the Kaospilot project group:
Business model generation based in Blue economy
Ethical branding, marketing & fundraising
Research and development of a suitable organizational structure
Research of the local economical, cultural and legal context
Ecosystem research and regeneration / permaculture studies
4.5 Target group &
needs addressed
The prospect inhabitants of Burning
Land are, so far, all members of the Burning
Man community, which means that they have
a deeply felt understanding for the underlying
principles of the burn, and consecutively, Burn-
ing Land. For these people, the burn is a lifestyle
rather than a party in the desert. They will now
be presented with the option to live in clos-
er touch with their values and princi-
ples; spending their time on what
they feel is important.
4.6 Competition
The only similar project that I have
managed to find is
. There are
however big differences, as Permaburn is:
a) Located in California, USA.
b) Not used as a permanent settlement, but more
as a sculpture park and event space.
As such, it is fair to say that the project is op-
erating in a blue ocean. There are no success
stories to follow, no great mistakes to
learn from and no competition to
4.7 Sales concept,
branding & identity
The major revenue stream for the establishment of
Burning Land will be the shares of the settlement (see
section 4.9). As these will be payed by the inhabitants no
sales strategy will be developed for this part of the budget,
but close relations developed and deep interviews conducted
within the core group of inhabitants to ensure commitment
and suitability. Legally binding contracts will also be devel-
oped to secure the development process.
By declaring Burning Land a new nation state, citi-
zenship and passports can be provided, currency
($0 notes) printed etc. All of this without
any political power, but as a novelty.
The sales concept for the crowdfunding campaign (again, section 4.9)
is yet to be developed. It will be based on the following values:
Freedom of expression
Community & co-creation
4.9 Budgets
There is at the time of print
no detailed budget created for
the project. Budgeting will be
a central part of the business
plan, and as such being a part
of project delivery rather
than this synopsis.
4.8 Business model
Business model generation is a part of the project itself, and is by
such not completed at this stage. The following guiding principles will
pose as the fundament for generation of a suitable business model:
Blue economy & ZERI
Circular economy
Do-ocratic leadership
Upcycling & regeneration
A prototype
business model canvas
has been created for the project,
covering the time up until the establishment of the settlement.
Revenue streams include:
Inhabitant investment
- Each inhabitant will con-
tribute with a sum of money. This is likely to be the
major revenue stream, while at the same time ensur-
ing a level of commitment.
- Crowdfunding is very commonly
used within the burning culture, and will here both
pose as a revenue stream and an extension of the
community via investment perks.
- Pre-orders from project activities can
be handled before the community is operational and
as such used as leverage.
Expenses include:
Farm -
Including buildings, boreholes and pumps
A 4x4 vehicle for transport
Tools -
For metal-, wood- and agricultural work
Power and water -
For startup operations
Crowdfunding perks
Construction material
Farmland (incl buildings)
4x4 truck
Metal & wood tools
Agricultural equipment
Crowdfunding perks
Building material
Power & water
A rough estimate (all numbers in KZAR)
4.10 Main challenges
At this point in time, the greatest fears that I have for this project not to
succeed are:
People not committing when it comes to signing the contracts
Crowdfunding campaign not raising the funds needed
Not being able to create the team of individuals needed
Not finding a functional legal model
Personal relations within core group failing and initiative dies
Problematic relations with conservative neighbors
Success in getting everything in place, but without a realistic continuity
A proper risk analysis will be undertaken at a later stage, as a part of cre-
ating the business plan.
5.0 Project plan
The project is broken down into a
number of major activities, later to be
deconstructed into a more detailed WBS
and RACI matrix. Many activities will be
running simultaneously during the major
part of the project and the intention is
to build a small team of people who
are all contributing to han-
dling the activities.
Project synopsis completed and published
Proposal for requesting a Kaospilot Outpost project group
Research parameters defined and a research plan created
Parameters for defining what kind of land is needed are formu-
lated and agreed upon
Burning Land media channels created and populated
A crowdfunding campaign for raising a part of the funds needed
has been designed
A business plan for the project is completed, superseding and
replacing this synopsis
The crowdfunding campaign is completed and part of the funds
needed available
The future inhabitants of Burning Land are selected and legally
binding contracts formed
5.1 Project scope
The aim for the first phase of the project (ending 2014-05-16) is to:
Find the people and form the team required to turn the project into
Formulating a shared vision together with the future inhabitants
Create a business- and continuity plan for the project
Create media channels and media
Identify the parameters to guide land search
Gather the funds necessary to purchase a suitable piece of farmland,
through contracts with future inhabitants and sourced through crowd-
5.2 Success criteria
The first project phase will be rendered as a success if:
4-5 legally binding contracts with future inhabitants are completed
A document is signed by all future inhabitants, agreeing on a shared
vision for the settlement
A plausible business plan is in place to cover the establishment of the
settlement; i.e. all phases after phase 1
A continuity plan is developed, describing how the settlement will tran-
sition towards sovereignty
Enough funds are accessible, through contracts, donations and sales, to
balance the expenditure of the establishment budget
Table of contents
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Concept description
2.1 Characteristics & features
3.2 Underlying dream
3.3 Life guiding principles
3.4 Field description
4.0 Research summary
4.1 Future research
4.2 Most relevant needs & opportunities
4.3 Partners & relations
4.3.1 Kaospilot T19 Outpost project
4.4 Current status
4.5 Target group & needs addressed
4.6 Competition
4.7 Sales concept, branding & identity
4.8 Business model
4.9 Budgets
4.10 Main challenges
5.0 Project plan summary
5.1 Project scope
5.2 Success criteria
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