Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A House of Dreams (for you and 39 of your closest friends’ families)

A House of Dreams (for you and 39 of your closest friends’ families)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 24, 2010

Isaac Davis Haines (1835-1901) seems to have lived a life of both idealism and hard practicality. Born in Ohio to a family with a Quaker background, he claimed to have had a visionary experience with his deceased daughter Jessie who taught him about the Gospel and the responsibility Haines had to save his kindred dead. After searching several years for a faith that matched his vision, Haines met missionary B.H. Roberts who taught him the Gospel as preached by the Latter-day Saints, and Haines was baptized in August 1884. Haines soon brought his wife and children into the Church.

The Haines family moved to Logan where Haines engaged in genealogical research and temple work. He also served for a time as superintendent of Utah’s Industrial School, a reformatory for both boys and girls, involving at least some of his family members in that project. He was also elected mayor of Logan.

Somewhere along the line, Haines became interested in the United Order and, with the help of gardener and landscape artist Ola Larsen, he became fascinated with the idea of working out the necessary practicalities for such an organization to work (at least as he understood it). He apparently believed that individual families must have their private spaces while still living in communal life with other Order members. Each family should have the same space and opportunities as every other family. The community must relieve women of as much of the drudgery of housework, especially labor in the kitchen, as possible, to free women to work in the temples. Wholesome recreational activities must be provided for all members of the community.

And so Haines and Larsen drafted the design of a building and grounds to house 40 families together on a plot of land covering 25 acres. The four-story building was to be circular, consisting of 20 wedge-shaped divisions; each wedge was divided into two mirror-image halves, each long, narrow half (comprising 20 rooms total, divided among the four stories) housing a separate family.

Each home was to have a greenhouse and rear (interior) garden shared with the other family occupying the wedge. In the very center of the circular building was to be a communal kitchen, separated from the homes by covered walkways 60 feet in length, so that the heat and work of the kitchen would be kept separate from the families’ living quarters. In the basement under the kitchen were to be the heating and other mechanical plants for the entire building. (Presumably the women would still be tied to the kitchen, but with less individual work since the labor of heating stoves and ovens would be shared.)

Unfortunately, I have only the detailed floor plan of the first floor. Presumably the upper three stories included bedrooms and other private spaces, but we can only guess …

The shared building itself would have entrances to each private dwelling on the outer edge of the circle. This plan preserved a bit of the old Plat of Zion concept, in that each doorway faced landscaped gardens and recreational areas rather than other dwellings; also, the curve of the building would remove all but the nearest neighbors from eye-line.

Other facilities to be built on each 25-acre lot included a dance hall (24) and ward meeting house (17), fields for playing croquet (22) and baseball (12), and separate girls’ (28) and boys’ (27) playgrounds. A bandstand (23) would shelter musicians to play for both dances and general community enjoyment.

I, uh, have found no evidence that any such utopian communal facilities were ever built, in Logan or elsewhere. Still, it’s fun to see what two believers in the United Order dreamed up as an efficient, pleasant solution to the question of having all things in common while still preserving the ideal of family living.

What think ye?



  1. I don’t have a complete key to the rooms for the individual family dwellings. The communal kitchen would be in the circular center space at the top of the wedge. 2 and 4 are covered walkways. 3 is the dining room. 5 is the greenhouse, shared by families in both sides of this wedge. 6 is the library; 7 the back parlor; 8 the entrance hall; 9 the front parlor. I think 10 is just a hallway to the back rooms, with access to the staircase.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have drawings for the top three stories and their floor plans.

    Interestingly, the front steps and entrance ways are shared with next door neighbors, but not the same neighbors who share the greenhouse and gardens.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 8:54 am

  2. I love it. When can I move in?

    Comment by Dane — June 24, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  3. Dane, I was going to email you and an architect friend to be sure you both saw this. I thought you’d like the intentional community aspect!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  4. No basketball court? Perhaps that was included in the ward building.

    Very interesting concept. From my experience living in graduate student family housing and apartments, the sound-proofing between apartments would be very important in close quarters like that. There’s no experience quite like having small children and living above someone who is very sensitive to noise. Or finally getting your child to sleep and then having to listen to someone else’s colicky baby crying half the night. Or listening to someone else’s child learning the trumpet. Normal American construction methods would quickly test the bonds of brotherhood and the concept of a Zion people.

    I don’t understand the greenhouse and interior garden part of the plan. If the building is four stories, how would the lower floor get any light?

    Comment by Researcher — June 24, 2010 @ 9:32 am

  5. Radical. I get the feeling that lots of early LDS were, in fact, radical free spirits, willing to break with their families and traditions. Which is quite an opposite mentality of lots of modern LDS–free-wheeling ideas like this make us nervous. We like conformity. One of my friends was lamenting to me how her father never could join the Church or be comfortable in it (she was from a part-member family, so her father knew the Church well) and it struck me that many of the personality traits keeping him out of the Church would have made him fit right in with the pioneer generation.

    As much as I personally like the IDEA of this, I must admit to me affection for free-standing dwellings.

    Comment by ESO — June 24, 2010 @ 9:33 am

  6. It’s beautiful, really. It’s interesting to me that there were others trying ideas like this elsewhere around the same time. It seems like that era was something of a renaissance- the Steiner communities, the Onieda, the Icarians, New Harmony…

    ESO brings up something interesting too- so many of our early forbearers seemed willing to be radical in their thinking- in whatever way worked for them. And just as our culture has pulled a u-turn and become utterly mainstream, so too has our conformity. Whatever you do, don’t rock the boat.

    Comment by Tracy M — June 24, 2010 @ 9:59 am

  7. It may be that only the front (rooms 6-10) would have been four stories — there are no staircases marked except at the front, and those long wedges would have made for some difficulties in getting from a back room on one floor to a back room upstairs. That would have left the greenhouses, dining rooms, and walkways to be single-story structures. Having only the front of the house multi-storied would allow windows in all rooms, too. I do wish we had ALL the floor plans!

    I also wonder about room sizes. If it is only the front part of the house that is four stories, and there are 20 rooms overall (including dining room and greenhouse, probably), then all floors would have been a warren of rather small rooms. That, and the lack of effective soundproofing (if trumpets were not dreamed of, surely there would have been lots of pianos), are other symbols of an impractical dream rather than a practical reality.

    Still, it’s fun to see what somebody dreamed up. Like you, ESO, I find it charming (you might use another word) that someone took the United Order concept so seriously that he would spend time mapping out plans.

    I do wonder, though, about that chapel, which is hardly bigger than the croquet ground or the bandstand. No room there for basketball courts!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  8. The daring-to-be-a-nonconformist part makes me think of some posts around the bloggernacle. Sometimes posts get a bad reaction, at least from me and other more, um, traditionally minded people. If I could remember that people are only thinking through a “what if” scenario, rather than calling for full implementation of their half-formed ideas Right Now, I might be closer to the spirit of this kind of “what if” architectural experiment.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  9. All those minor details can be worked out (sound-proofing, recreational areas).

    Count me in!

    Comment by Mina — June 24, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  10. This is the kind of thing that makes studying early Mormon history so interesting. Thanks for putting it up.

    Ola Larson was my great-great-grandfather. I knew he was an outstanding “gardener and landscape artist”. At one point he was the main gardener for the governor of New Zealand. He eventually emigrated to Logan where he had a landscape and nursery business. But I never knew he participated in this project. It looks so exciting.

    I have put a couple of events from his life on my blog. Though the part you have just added I will have to share with the rest of my family.

    Conversion & Mobs
    Persecution & Emigration

    Comment by Bruce Crow — June 24, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  11. Ardis–definitely charming. And of course, croquette could be our sport de force–no need to transition over to that new-fangled basketball. Croquette is a much more charming sport, and less likely to rankle, cause rage, or swearing. Unless you are playing against me–I’ve got croquette skills.

    Comment by ESO — June 24, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  12. Really quite interesting. This made me think of a Brigham Young sermon in which he described a communal eating room for a United Order (October 9, 1872, JD, 15:221):

    Now suppose we had a little society organized on the plan I mentioned at the commencement of my remarks—after the Order of Enoch—would we build our houses all alike? No. How should we live? I will tell you how I would arrange for a little family, say about a thousand persons. I would build houses expressly for their convenience in cooking, washing and every department of their domestic arrangements. Instead of having every woman getting up in the morning and fussing around a cookstove or over the fire, cooking a little food for two or three or half a dozen persons, or a dozen, as the case may be, she would have nothing to do but to go to her work. Let me have my arrangement here, a hall in which I can seat five hundred persons to eat; and I have my cooking apparatus—ranges and ovens—all prepared. And suppose we had a hall a hundred feet long with our cooking room attached to this hall; and there is a person at the farther end of the table and he should telegraph that he wanted a warm beefsteak; and this is conveyed to him by a little railway, perhaps under the table, and he or she may take her beefsteak. “What do you want to take with it?” “A cup of tea, a cup of coffee, a cup of milk, piece of toast,” or something or other, no matter what they call for, it is conveyed to them and they take it, and we can seat five hundred at once, and serve them all in a very few minutes. And when they have all eaten, the dishes are piled together, slipped under the table, and run back to the ones who wash them. We could have a few Chinamen to do that if we did not want to do it ourselves. Under such a system the women could go to work making their bonnets, hats, and clothing, or in the factories. I have not time to map it out before you as I wish to. But here is our dining room, and adjoining this is our prayer room, where we would assemble perhaps five hundred persons at one time, and have our prayers in the evening and in the morning. When we had our prayers and our breakfast, then each and every one to his business. But the inquiry is, in a moment, How are you going to get them together? Build your houses just the size you want them, whether a hundred feet, fifty feet or five, and have them so arranged that you can walk directly from work to dinner. “Would you build the houses all alike?” Oh no, if there is any one person who has better taste in building than others, and can get up more tasteful houses, make your plans and we will put them up, and have the greatest variety we can imagine.

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 24, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  13. ESO, I’ll defer to your croquette skills, but I beg to differ about the conflict potentialities. At least in basketbrawl you don’t begin the festivities with combatants holding clubs and hard projectiles.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — June 24, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  14. I’ll eat croquettes, thank you very much. But if you want to play croquet, I say “Game on!”

    And, much as I love you all, I don’t want to live with 40 other families in a place like that. (Even though I’m accustomed to living with a lot more close neighbors than you suburbanites.)

    James Naismith invented basketball about a decade before Bro. Haines died. That might explain why a basketball court was left off.

    And, sorry Brother Haines, but your design conjured up in my mind a vision of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, a model penitentiary.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 24, 2010 @ 11:11 am

  15. Such wonderful additions you all made while I was out visiting teaching!

    Bruce, I’m glad to know more about Ola Larsen via your links. I felt bad that I couldn’t identify much about him (those Scandinavian names always intimidate me when I start searching) — I couldn’t have guessed that a descendant would not only save me the difficulty of searching but already have written about him. Although I’ve focused on Haines because he wrote the material that is my source for this, I think that Larsen may be more responsible for the actual plans, given Larsen’s landscaping experience.

    Love that extract, J. Brigham was a bit of a dreamer himself, no doubt about it.

    And whether we fry our croquettes or club our wooden balls through wickets in croquet, that whole exchange makes me laugh.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  16. Oh, and just think: if only the front parts of the building had been four stories tall, how interesting life might have been for Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly–if he lived there. A lot of other windows to see through those rear windows.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 24, 2010 @ 11:48 am

  17. Wonderful idea. Were the drawings from a newspaper? Like some of the others, I have not been able to wrap my head around this being four-stories. I think you are right that just the outer ring would be four stories.

    I really like all the green space in the middle. It appears that both covered walkways would be shared between two families as well as the entry. The greenhouse off the dining room is nice, but may be better right off the kitchen if food would be grown there. Also, moving it further from the four-story building would provide more daylight to the greenhouse. Those on the bottom half of the ring would never get any sunlight. You could possibly swap the dining and greenhouse to remedy this.

    Overall there is something quite nice about having food preparation at the center of our lives and communities.

    Comment by Jonathan K — June 24, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  18. Believe it or not, these drawings were published in the Young Woman’s Journal with the admonition that the girls think about what they wanted their own future homes to be like.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  19. I thought of the Panopticon, too, Mark B., but the lack of a central point of surveillance (the kitchen as spy?) made me hold back on that reference.

    I’m usually on the pro side of communal living projects and interested to see how shared labor/resources are built into the architecture/landscaping. This is an tantalizing snippet of such planning, as are the remarks of Brigham Young J. Stapley quoted—though I’d want the “Chinamen Question” addressed first.

    The United Order is one of those things in Mormon history I always wish I had more time to research and think about and this post has gotten me wishing again…

    Comment by Mina — June 24, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  20. I’m sorry, but that sounds way too much like living in a high school to me–especially the eating arrangement bit. At best, I can picture it as a blend between Hogwarts and the temple. At worst, a work-in-progress which frustrates the daylights out of the 20% of the people who do 80% of the work. I worked in a kitchen and I know how that goes. If they called me to be a kitchen worker, I might have to plead insanity.

    Comment by Paradox — June 24, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  21. Wow. I used to sketch up house ideas that would seem pretty crazy to the normal architect (a trampoline room with velcro walls, slides, etc.), but this is awesome and practical.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — June 24, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  22. If only Haines and Larsen had known about green roofs, the sunlight in the gardens problem would have been solved easily.

    (And speaking from my experience with a much too shady garden, you just can’t grow vegetables without a lot of sunshine.)

    Comment by Mark B. — June 24, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  23. I have a friend who at one time tried to get his married siblings together with he and his wife and all of their kids and buy a surplussed elementary school in their neighborhood, sort of like the United Order. I think he had visions of family togetherness. Most of his siblings had played basketball or touch football with him, though, and knew of his somewhat volatile temper, in contrast to his otherwise loving heart.

    They all said no.

    And I have to admit I love my brothers and their wives and kids, but we all would make each other crazy to live together like this. So that makes me wonder how much I still have to learn before Zion truly is in my heart.

    It also reminds me of the pull of living in a more cooperative community that was exhibited in the comment by someone who had lived in Snowflake during the worst years of the 19th century. When asked why he remained in such a difficult desert place, he replied “I guess I just like living with people who can do these hard things”.

    Comment by kevinf — June 24, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  24. Stapley, I don’t know if I’d call it communal living, so much as familial living. BY specifically said a family… presumably a large multi generational polygamous one.

    But I’m trying to square several instances of the phrase communal in this thread with explicit statements that
    “The United Order is an individualistic system, not a communal system.” which have come from dozens of prophets and apostles.

    Comment by chris — June 24, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

  25. Chris, you’ll need to provide some support for your “explicit” quotations. The only ones I can imagine making such patently false claims are those few who were so allergic to any word that even remotely resembled “communist” that they cheerfully falsified the historical record in order to obscure the nature of the United Order as actually practiced, in its several forms, in the late 19th century church. The United Order, as then practiced, was nothing if not communal.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  26. Chris (#24) — We confuse ourselves by imprecise language. The United Order as practised by Joseph Smith and a very few others for the business of the Church in his day was wholly different from the United Order concept of Brigham Young’s day. There is nothing in common connecting them. And yet, the term “United Order” is used for both periods.

    Comment by ji — June 24, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  27. ji, you overstate the disparity (“nothing in common”). That said, chris, Ardis is correct, you are simply parroting a gross mischaracterization at best and prevarication at worst. As you will be able to see in a forthcoming paper on adoption as practiced in LDS temples, Brigham Young held a belief that heaven was organized as an extended kin network. This vision was the basis of succession, organization on the trek west, and for his Order of Enoch. Family wasn’t necessarily (or even mostly) biological.

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 24, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  28. Um, wow.

    And #18 adds another wow for me.

    Comment by Michelle — June 24, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

  29. The community must relieve women of as much of the drudgery of housework, especially labor in the kitchen, as possible, to free women to work in the temples.


    Comment by Alison — June 25, 2010 @ 5:18 am

  30. Ok, parroting? Is that a way to smear a quote? I’ve heard it dozens of times… I’m not going to be able to go back and pull up the variety of talks, I know a lot have been given.
    Googling pulls up from Wiki
    “The United Order is an individualistic system, not a communal system as the Prophet Joseph, himself said” – President J. Reuben Clark, Jr
    More wiki…
    “Church leaders, including David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, Ezra Taft Benson, Marion G. Romney, and J. Rueben Clark, Jr, often spoke of the stark differences between the United Order and communism”

    I didn’t read anything about “communal” in that quote by BY, I read it was family oriented.

    Certainly the church owned some property then as now, that people were called to work on. Communities I suppose have a communal element to them. But I don’t see it has being communal in the sense that a large pool of the resources are owned by the community. It’s intensely individualistic in the sense people gave all to the Lord (not community) and received back according to their needs and wants.

    I see interesting things like this and the BY quote as trying to square up some efficient ways to run things in a community. But you’re right I did specifically call out communal because of its associations with communism. I’m not an oogy boogey communist scaremonger. But I do think when I’ve heard prophets, and members of the first presidency with my own ears say it was not a communal system I figured I’d point it out.

    I’d hasten to add, the more recent prophets who spoke on the system were doing so with the benefit of hindsight in an attempt to differentiate it from a communistic system, which was filling a lot of the world and dominating an important part of US and global politics — therefore it was important for them to speak about it.

    Comment by chris — June 25, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  31. chris, it is simply that they were wrong. President Clark’s quote was specifically egregious because it tried to quote Joseph Smith. The reason that I used “parroting” is because it seems to me that you have not actually done any research or reading on the realities of United Orders.

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 25, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  32. Chris, for some basic reading on the subject of the United Order, I would suggest:

    Arrington, Leonard J., Feramorz Y. Fox, and Dean L. May. Building the City of God: Community & Cooperation Among the Mormons. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co, 1976.

    It does not seem to be in print, but you can often find a good used copy or a copy in a library. And after reading it, you should be able to say more about the topic than providing one or more out-of-context quotes.

    BTW, the word “communal” does share a common root with “communism” but its meaning is not identical.

    • shared by all members of a community; for common use: a communal … kitchen.
    • of, relating to, or done by a community: communal achievement.
    • involving the sharing of work and property: communal living.

    Comment by Researcher — June 25, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

  33. I called chris out so feel obliged to post his reply.

    However, Keepa is not a forum for political discussions, so I am calling a halt to further discussion of communism, and whether or not there is any relation between communism and the communal aspects of the various manifestations of Brigham Young’s version of the United Order beyond the similarity of label.

    I will say, chris, that your understanding of the way those United Orders functioned is common, but no less mistaken. The United Order of Kingston, with which I am intimately familiar — it’s not saying too much to claim that I am more familiar with it than is any other living person — was communal in exactly the sense of that word used in this post and the majority of its comments. It was only coincidentally familial — many but by no means all members had some connection to the family of Thomas Rice King. The documents speak philosophically of everyone’s donating their property to the Lord and expecting the blessings of heaven therefor, but the same documents spelling out the practicalities of how that property would be used and what could or could not be withdrawn should someone leave the order make abundantly clear that the property was held and operated by a community, one run by civil directors, not the Lord and not by ecclesiastical or even familial/patriarchal authority. When someone wants to “prove” a political point about the difference between communism and the United Order, it’s very easy to pick and choose bits of those documents while entirely overlooking other bits and, more importantly, the overall meaning and purpose of the documents as a whole.

    Such picking and choosing is blatantly obvious in the writings of JRClark, ETBenson, and others you mention, and is the falsification of the historical record I referred to. Acknowledging their political bias and how it was expressed doesn’t negate their priesthood or their authority or my respect for either.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 25, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  34. University of Illinois Press reprinted it in the 1990s as well.

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 25, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  35. Thanks for the book tip, I’ll be ordering it.

    [chris, your other comment violates Keepa’s comment policy and will not be publicly posted, although it will remain visible to you. I think perhaps the challenges of a blog like Keepa may not be suitable to your temperament, and suggest that you find other uses for your time. — AEP]

    Comment by chris — June 25, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  36. Please stop, chris.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 25, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  37. Re: #27. Here’s why I averred that the United Order as practiced in Joseph Smith’s day had nothing in common with the practice in Brigham Young’s day–

    – In J.S.’s day, the United Order involved only a small handful of members, men only. In B.Y.’s day, there were hundreds, men, women, and children.

    – J.S.: The names were hidden. B.Y.: The names were public.

    – J.S.: The members were scattered and worked separately. B.Y.: The members were gathered together.

    – J.S.: The United Order was for the business of the Church as a whole. B.Y.: The local United Orders were community-based.

    – J.S.: Members earned incomes outside the Order and the Order existed for the benefit of the Church. B.Y.: Members earned their livings within the local Order for the benefit of the local Order.

    – J.S.: The members acted as individuals and lived separately and owned their own homes and businesses. B.Y.: The members lived communally and property was owned communally.

    As I see it, about the only commonality was that they were all Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young was not a member of the United Order in Joseph Smith’s day.

    We err when we take our understanding and definition of United Order from Brigham Young’s day and impose it on Joseph Smith’s day. I wish we better distinguished between the differing definitions and practicings of the common term “United Order”.

    I appreciate the efforts of those early Saints to magnify their callings and build Zion.

    Comment by ji — June 26, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  38. ji, I think you’re right in all these details (except, to some extent, in “the members lived communally and property was owned communally” in B.Y.’s day — that was certainly true in the case of classic Orders like Orderville and Kingston. There were other cases, still considered part of the United Order, which were more simple, where people lived in private families and held much of their property as private individuals, but owned shares in a communal herd or factory or cooperative store). I wish we had more clear-cut terms for the enterprises in the two different eras, because certainly they had so many differences that we misunderstand one or the other by lumping them together under the same label.

    Thanks for spelling out the differences so cogently, ji.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 26, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

  39. While I agree that there was a great deal of difference between the United Firms of Kirtland and Zion, and the Order of Enoch as practiced in the 1870s, I still submit that there are important similarities. I believe that selling of and consecration of property and capital in Missouri is especially important. I also think the nominal support of evangelists is also important. For example, Wilford Woodruff wrote in his diary his experience with “consecration”:

    Believeing it to be the duty of the latter day Saints to consecrate and dedicate all their properties with themselves unto God in order to become lawful heirs to the Clestial Kingdom of God It was under such a view of the subject that I consecrated before the Bishop of the Church of the latter day Saints in Clay County Dec 31st 1834. The following is a coppy of the Consecration: [followed by list of items and their value]

    So to follow up ji’s list, I submit the following:

    -It is, I believe, erroneous to say that only men participated in this consecration. The United Firm directors were male, but I suspect that most of the leaders in Utah were male as well.

    – Wile it is true that United Firm directors were confidential, the identities who consecrated were not secret. If you had a stewardship from the Bishop, it was not confidential.

    – In Joseph’s day, the Firms were also community based, (Kirtland and Zion) but generally the Church was also community based.

    – I simply disagree with the characterizations of property ownership.

    Now, let me say that I fully agree with Ardis, in that there were many sorts of United Order experiments that involved various levels of participation. It would be great if we were more careful in how we discussed them. This is one problem with people trying to get rid of words such as “communal.” It is hard to describe what was going on in individual cases if one is so unwilling to use descriptive language.

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 26, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  40. I’m late to the discussion, but was I the only one who thought “space station”? A circular building, holding multiple, interdependent families, with greenhouses attached to the outside for growing food, is such a cliche of outer space living in science fiction that I’m surprised no one mentioned it.

    BioSphereIII here we come!

    Comment by Clark — June 28, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  41. I never thought of that, Clark, but you’re right! Now I can’t stop giggling.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 28, 2010 @ 12:26 pm