TAZ, Seasteads, and Water-borne Community

The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerrilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.

The TAZ is thus a perfect tactic for an era in which the State is omnipresent and all-powerful and yet simultaneously riddled with cracks and vacancies.

From The Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey… Wikipedia article, here

I find ol’ Hakim a little hard to read, but the name says it all, don’t you think? Temporary. Autonomous. Zone.

It fits right into the blender in my head with the concept of seasteading – an attitude which may occur at the vessel or fleet level. Add in many years of musing, missing and longing for water-borne community. A dash of easily built barge hulls in kaleidoscopic plethora of form and function. ZZZZZZZZZ! Mmm-mmm!! A heady mix.

Water-borne communities are nothing new. In fact, what’s new seems to be wide-scale efforts to eradicate them. In the eyes of many Concerned Citizens, any conglomeration of home-built shantyboats or even down-at-the-heels yachts tends to be viewed as blights on the viewshed. Bureaucrats see us as health hazards, impediments to navigation or hotbeds of public menace.  Between them, they grind away every working day to contain the problem of Us.

“Got a problem with that,” they say, “Come to the meeting and represent yourselves.”

Sure. There’ll be at least one a week, forever. But I shall breath deeply to regain my wa, and spare you the rant.

What I wanted to talk about are possible synergies inherent to these concepts.

TAZ means that, within the existing set of laws and prejudices – and potentially into a future where such peaceful assemblies are outlawed – a water-borne community can coalesce in a locale. Density need not be as high as pictured above, though it has its attractions. Alternatively, a complex of bays and coves might be chosen, each within rowing distance of the next. Evaporation of the community is as easy as casting off, to re-condense in another place, another time, another configuration.

The beauty is that each can come as they are. Rolling stones may roll through, pausing to gather a bit of moss. Some may prefer to explore the area in small excursions interleaved with festivity and art.  There is world enough, and time for elders, gardeners, weavers, homebodies… those with large equipment hobbies, or to whom the rigors of mobility exceed their abilities or interests. Resources unavailable to those constantly underway – owned in common, perhaps – may be concentrated. When large endeavors are undertaken, many hands are available to lighten the work.

I modestly propose the TriloBoat as work-horse hull. Greenhouses, shops, living quarters, storage, decks… communal vessels of every stripe. Perhaps the tractors, cargo runners and cruisers, as well. Keep it small, of course, and KISS… get each to wear as many hats as possible. Don’t want sprawl, after all.

Once a certain, critical mass was achieved, such a community and its constituents would be able to bootstrap itself into whatever its citizens dream of being.

It can start with one, but the more the merrier.

Tranquility Base, this is Shantyboat

Originally posted 2016-03-05 19:08:47.

Editor Note: Read more stories on Triloboats.com.


  1. YES! I LOVE IT!!!

    The TriloBoat and Collaborative Modular Project concepts fit neatly into this because their shapes and modular sizing allow for easier integration into a larger “float.” Also, they are cost-effective and affordable. But while square boats may make it easier and less expensive, any boats can be rafted together temporarily, and the only real essentials are a sense of community and respect for others.

    • Hear, hear!

      Bey’s original proposal is anarchistic – the elimination of heirarchies. The TAZ is a here and now step in that direction. And for that, as you say; respect and a sense of community.

      Let us ‘make it so’!

  2. I see that about Bey, now that I have started reading his writings. It’s slow going, but hardly the most difficult I’ve encountered… fascinating and inspiring/encouraging once you see his anarchistic focus and start looking for ideas and principles that can be used in a less-radical approach. I do not want to destroy present-day society; it may be doing a fine job of that itself. I am not a threat to anyone or anything… I just want to survive, thrive and live in community with others of like mind.

    Two present-day phenomena come to mind that are somewhat similar to this Tranquility Base TAZ concept. The first one is the Occupy movement which appears similar in the sense that they establish a TAZ… the big difference is that they establish their enclave in direct and open opposition to the powers that be. The second one is Slab City in California, where an alternative community has grown up on abandoned land, and has for the most part been tolerated by the government because it does not make waves or offend the sensibilities of the neighbors.

    Tranquility Base TAZ would be, I think, much more like Slab City. I do not see us as trying to change society in any grand way; we simply want to live and perhaps provide an alternative kind of life and community for the few who might want to join us. We would not choose to be “in the face” of the establishment but rather to simply exist quietly and peaceably until it becomes time to move on to another anchorage (or anchorages).

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