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Thoughts on Relocation

Introduction-Deciding on whether or not to relocate is a major decision facing any individual, family or corporation. The only 3CF “C” that doesn’t face this decision is a “Community” unless a planned dam is going to inundate that community.

Relocating can be done for several reasons. One, the best, is for strategic reasons. This means you did the research on where you are currently located and ultimately decided it was best to relocate in order to survive. Hopefully you thought of AdIOS (Adapt Improvise Overcome Survive) to help you reach this decision point.

The other reason for relocating is a job change, disaster and/or some event has forced you to move from your current location.

Main Essay for today:

I say relocation is a major decision as it can end up being a costly decision. Weighing the options of staying in your current location or moving to another relies on good, very good, information. Other areas of this blog can help you gather that information in an orderly and logical manner.

In the end, the decision to relocate will mean that risks to relocate out weigh the challenges to adapting and improvising in your current location.

Perhaps your current location is subject to frequent major storms or earthquakes. As we saw with Katrina and Sandy, these storms can force many businesses to fail and locals in this area to figure out long-term (over a month) continuity or survival plans. The cost to prepare for a long-term event may be higher than relocation costs.

One of the major points of 3CF is the ability to walk to work (think Living Triangle) and have a long stay hotel ready to receive any local workers whose home falls in an unsustainable area. If the cost to prepare and set this up at your current location is too high or just not practical then relocating becomes a viable option.

Over the last couple of months I’ve travelled through several cities in the US Midwest. As I pass certain areas I can’t help but thing about how a 3CF solution could be applied there. At the same time, I can see how it would be difficult to set up a 3CFortress in certain areas without major renovation. In some areas “sprawl” is so embedded that relocation from that area might be the better or only option.

Pardon me while I digress to another dig on Urban Planning…or how it is applied in most cities/communities. I will never understand how “chunk” urban planning will ever work. How many times have you seen or driven through an area that has a “chunk” of housing with nothing else around it? In order to get to work, recreation and/or retail you have to drive your vehicle to another “chunk” of retail or “chunk” of businesses. Obviously, this violates my “Living-Triangle” philosophy.

Why not put the living, business and retail/recreation within walking distance of each other? Brilliant! Well, at least I think so. I recently discussed the “mixed living” areas that are springing up in some cities. Definitely a move in the right direction as far as 3CF is concerned. But I have to say it is a step that needs a few more steps to get to the 3CF level.

If you find yourself in the “forced” to relocate situation then decisions need to be made much faster and sometimes in real time. Real time relocation is commonly called “bugging out”. Bugging out presents a unique set of challenges. What to bring, traffic on the exit routes, fuel for the vehicle; can your vehicle carry everyone and their gear?

After taking a simple look at bugging out it should drive you to think more about where you are and if staying put is a better option. As I mentioned above, your local surroundings may not make it possible to stay in place. If you live above seven floors in a high-rise apartment or condominium then water can’t be pumped that high when the power goes off. Are you prepared to haul enough water to drink, cook and bath with in order to survive? How far from your residence is this water source? How far is it to the local grocery store? Most grocery stores don’t have more than three days of supplies on hand and will quickly run out in a crisis.

Many more questions arise about staying in place and if that will be possible in a crisis. Besides what we just talked about the question of how to get to work is huge. With an estimated 30% of businesses failing after Sandy it makes you wonder if part of the reason was employees not being able to get to their place of employment. No work equals no income. This is double trouble for both employees and businesses that the 3CFortress concept works to solve.

A base concept for a 3CFortress is to have living (residence and long-term stay), retail and corporate office co-located so that movement from one to the other is possible by walking. A side benefit is security. Think of the after-math of the Boston Bombing and the Paris terrorist siege. When neighborhoods are ordered to “Shelter in Place” it means all movement, recreation and commerce shuts down. While it is not literally true, a 3CFortress can pull up the drawbridge or shut out outside contact very easily if planned correctly. Imagine the relief at being able to go to work, take a walk, or go to work during a crisis.

When making a decision to relocate it should be planned to take advantage of setting up a 3CFortress complex and the benefits that would bring. In business continuity planning this can mean setting up an alternate location. Movement to and operations at the alternate location is planned until movement back to the original site can be safely done.

While this alternate planning is ongoing it seems logical to look at strategic relocation alternatives. Even if the relocation area has several plusses a business needs to know how many of its employees will relocate to the new location.

If a strategic relocation is viable then the move will resolve several or all of the current location issues. Relocation like this takes a staff to plan, organize and execute the move. If you are an individual, small family or business then you have to think about the same areas, as would a staff. Not an easy task!

I plan to devote a chapter to how a staff can plan a strategic relocation. The military has a system called the Military Decision Making Process or MDMP. It is a detailed process where a commander (leader) and his/her staff can use to gather information/intelligence, develop courses of action, decide which one is best and implement the plan that was decided on. Depending on time and resources this can be done with a small or large staff.

As I’ve pointed out before from my military training, “Planning is not fighting”. No matter what you are planning to do at some point you must act. Procrastination should not be in anyone’s vocabulary. With the current risks to any community or corporation it becomes readily apparent that action needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Check It Out – Is relocation something I’m just talking or planning for? No. After a long planning period I made the decision to relocate my family to Springfield, MO. It is in an older neighborhood on the North side that has a great “Walkability Score” to several “Living Triangle” points.

While the move wasn’t without cost it did involve a move to a much cheaper cost of living area. Missouri is one of a few states where the price per gallon of gasoline is below $2.00. I recently purchased Regular Unleaded for $1.79/gallon.

Does Springfield have ALL the advantages needed for a 3CFortress? No. As soon as you travel to the South side of town you enter another world. Actually, Springfield was two different cities when first starting out but that too is another story. Plenty of areas have what can easily be called sprawl. Plenty of areas have the “chunk” areas with very low Walkability Scores that require a vehicle for all basic errands.

It will be interesting to see if Springfield can be the tipping point for 3CFortress concepts. I’ve already seen some possible sites. Springfield does have a 2030 plan so change for the future is possible.

Quick Tip – Travel, beyond walkability, will be required in many situations. Travel outside the region is required for many including myself. If this is a concern for your strategic relocation planning then how close is a regional airport, highway that carries the out of season produce and common need items, and to public transportation (bus, rail, commuter)? As mentioned several times before, a bunker won’t work and neither will a place out in the middle of nowhere. Think about that.

Look Who’s Talking – I’m always glad to see comments left on the blog site. It is great to see other blogs and web sites addressing some areas that the 3CFortress deals with. Let me know the challenges you’re facing and what you want to see on future blog posts. I plan for all of this to go into a book at some point.

Various Articles Compared With 3CFortress

Thought I would go off on a tangent for this post and talk about some articles I read recently and how they compare with a 3CFortress. Do they point to what I’m saying about a 3CFortress? Let’s get to it.

First up is an article about a milkman outside Seattle, WA. You don’t hear that term used much today. Depending on your age you may remember a milkman coming to your house every few days. He delivered the fresh milk in the glass bottles with the paper caps. As I remember it, if you let it sit the cream would rise to the top. He drove a distinct truck ( which I have to say is not exactly the case in the article. Granted, he did drive a large box truck that was painted in a black and white dairy cow pattern.

The article was in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, titled “Modern-Day Milkman Has No Need for Speed”, September 10, 2014 in the CARS section, page D4. The milkman delivers milk from the Smith Brothers Farm in Kent, WA.  This fits in precisely with the 3CFortress concept. The main point I like to bring up is about involving local farmers most often for the row crops they produce. What’s wrong with including a small dairy farm to support the 3CFortress community? Nothing!

In addition to the milk he delivers baked goods, butter, yogurt and cream. I remember the Charles Chip man came around about the same day/time as the milkman. While grocery delivery never has done well this is one area where it could work. A crazy thought of new and old technology came to mind. With talk of the “Internet of Things” it is possible for your refrigerator to send a message to the milkman so he knows to deliver another round. Of course, keeping it low tech with you telling the milkman when to deliver next works the best.

Another WSJ article on EMPIRE BUILDING (love that title) titled, “Reconstructing A Berlin Palace, Piece by Piece”, from August 15, 2014 by Harriet Torry. First off, a picture of the palace or proposed palace appears to fit in with the 3CFortress concept. Inside it will have a museum, university facilities, and a library. Nothing wrong with all three of these as a part of a “wing”. It said the eastern facade will be contemporary overlooking the Spree river. Can’t beat a location next to a river if you want dramatic views. The article didn’t really go into what that contemporary wing will have in it. For a 3CFortress it could include an office complex, hotel or living areas with retail stores on the first floor.

This palace could easily fit in with the 3CFortress. A university for life-long learning along with a library. Everyone working and living there would have an easy “living triangle” to deal with. Walking to work and recreation would be no problem.

The article talked about the Schloss having “challenges with regard to deadlines”. The grander the scale and taking into consideration corporate, retail and community needs is a big challenge. Their deadline is mid-2019 with a lot of time devoted to reconstructing what the old palace looked like. If you don’t need to make a limestone or marble masterpiece then go with more modern architecture facades. They can still be dramatic which I see as I collect my “tower concept” articles (to be posted another day).

The other challenge was funding despite having raised over $40 million. But when you think of what it costs to develop a large complex from scratch the costs can easily double or triple this amount. Keep in mind that there will be cost sharing, also another topic for a future date.

Yet another WSJ article (can you tell I like reading WSJ) is “Miami Beach Venture Makes Hires” by Craig Karmin. The Faena Hotel Miami Beach will have 101 suites and 68 guest rooms. It includes 42 luxury condos which it said were all sold out. Rule out any question of people living in a hotel environment. Think about how the complex can benefit all by sharing needs of both traveler and condo dweller and it doesn’t have to be this large of complex. While the Faena might not have or include retail shops there are other developments in the area that are doing it the 3CFortress way. Others have a shopping mall, arts center and high-end condos to provide another great example of a “living triangle” that doesn’t include (or need to) a vehicle to go anywhere.

Some are including features that date back to the 1940’s. The importance of having a great architect can’t be overstated. Two listed as “World-renown” architects were Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas.  Building in energy and water saving/collecting features is a challenge best left to the professionals.

Contract what I just talked about for Miami Beach with Atlantic City. The number of large casinos closing is dramatic and includes two Trump properties. The reasons are complex but I will try to compare to a 3CFortress and let you decide if I’m on track or not.

No doubt the Miami area is appealing to the high-end luxury market as are many others. But the old “Build it and they will come” is never always true. I’ve haven’t been to Atlantic City but there is no doubt plenty of luxury appeals were put in place at several locations. What jumped out at me is if these places can’t stay in business with gambling revenues of $30 to $131 million then something is very wrong.

I can’t help but think it has to do with several pieces missing from the whole 3CFortress concept. A 3CF is designed to be self-sufficient or come very close by minimizing the dependencies on outside sources for living and working there. The article said owners were looking at “other uses” such as hotels. This is a start but on a baby step in the 3CF direction.

If you want to read more about “AdIOS” and the “living triangle” then look at past blog posts. How these owners (and new owners) adapt, improvise and overcome these challenges will determine if Atlantic City survives or becomes a blight like areas of Detroit. Definitely housing for the workers within walking distance is needed. Dramatically shortening the distance food goods have to travel before being local is another huge challenge. As I’ve said for other cities razing areas and turning them into other uses (like garden plots) will go a long way at making this area sustainable. I realize the growing season there is not all year long. Just saying that a very basic look needs to be made at how the living triangle can support the corporate and community needs for everyone involved.  That is the only way this area can survive in the “off season” and long-term into the future.

My last point for today is an article from USA TODAY, “FEMA urges families to plan for emergency”, sub-titled “Wants people to do just one task: Create communication plan” but Donna Leinwand Leger in the NEWS section (September, 2014).

This article ties in with FEMA’s month-long push that ends with “National PrepareAthon Day” on Sept. 30. See the website You can imagine the chaos when a large scale disaster hits. Thinking that cell phone or mobile service will be there is not a realistic expectation. You need to think ahead on how you are going to communicate with employees and family. The website has a plan that you can download and print out.

If you can’t communicate then “everyone” needs to understand where they need to go. Is it the house? Is it a specified shelter or location? Not having this in place and discussing it from time to time will mean added stress in a crisis situation. No one needs added stress as it tends to make you not think clearly.

In closing, what do you think? Are there new developments in your community or at your place of work? I would love to hear about them. We all have to start somewhere.

Reply to on Scouting and Bug-Out

Title of article:  Scouting For a Survival Bug-Out in the Wilderness or the Desert

I have to admit that it is tough to form a positive reply to posts or advice like this. But a large portion of it will just plain get you killed or make it close to impossible to survive a long term crisis. The big question was about bug-out so survive in place or bug-in was determined to not be an option or the correct option.

The article correctly stated that city or desert areas are going to be tough so the recommendation was to scout out your bug-out location in advance. Trouble is, the wilderness area suggested are not practical or what I point out will throw you into a very desperate situation.

To cut to the chase, I agreed with one or two of the replies that talked about “community”. Yes, that is one of the three C’s in 3CFortress. What I have been saying is finding a community or corporation that has prepared is not a realistic expectation. As this article pointed out, you do have to use the 7 P’s but my point is use them to find and/or prepare a “C” for natural and manmade threats. By doing that a 72 hour or multi-month crisis is already prepped for. The plan, hopefully practiced before hand, will be activated. Using the AdIOS acronym any of the variances to the plan can be dealt with.

I do hate to respond so negatively on these responses. If it is not a survival article, like this one, it is an unrealistic security article. I hate to inform you but you are not a subsitute for SEAL Team 6. You need numbers and size on your side to make it through even the most basic crisis.

Look back through the other 3CFortress blog posts and see how to get started on the right path…before it is too late or the crisis hits.


Time To Get The 3CFortress Ball Rolling

Time has come to get started on how building a 3CFortress is going to leave a positive mark on the USA and possibly the world.

With that in mind I drafted a 52 week plan (one year) of just how to accomplish this with your 3C’s (City, Community, Corporate). I will be publishing one post per week that will provide the basis for a book to be published, “It Takes a 3CFortress”, which is a play on the book It Takes a Village…with poetic license.

I’m excited to get this ball rolling and look forward to the coming weeks as I get the new posts published. Hope, at the same time, that the interest in this idea grows. Several things about the current thinking on business continuity, retreat communities and survival (in general) are wrong and time grows short to get those corrected.

I will be using my own acronym, AdIOS, which is Adapt Improvise Overcome Survive. At the same time I will be using problem solving, risk management and the Military Decision Making Process to make this into a step by step process.

Stay tuned and feel free to send a reply or comment. Thanks

Global Water Crisis

The water crisis, both current and future, includes a lack of water (drought) and a lack of access to clean (fresh) water. Water is vital in our daily lives in amounts that we tend to loose track of. During a crisis, water is a top concern that ranks above the need for food. You can die without water in about three days. Drinking contaminated or polluted water spreads several diseases that can kill you. Let’s take a look at this major issue that is not going away without some prior planning.

Some of the things that drove me to write this post:

>Reports that the large aquifer in the Midwest, Ogaliata, being depleted faster that it is renewed. Irrigation of croplands is sited as the main concern but many states rely on this for drinking water as well.

>FEMA reports on the severe drought in the USA. Drought is not a new issue. In 1988 the drought and heat wave killed an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people. California and the Midwest continue to suffer with conditions expected to continue. Islands are especially vulnerable (see the case of the Marshall Islands). For more see

This is another risk that many would put in the top ten, maybe top five, with a high probability that should be addressed in any pre-crisis planning. But more times than not the crisis passes and everyone goes back to the same wasteful practices that contributed to the crisis in the first place.

When you think about a water crisis, you realize it touches all of the 3C’s – Corporate City Community. There are things individual homes can do in a city or community that go a long way to easing the daily water demand. That daily demand can run into the hundreds of gallons per individual. It is easy to see how a few adjustments can go a long way and save on your monthly water bill at the same time. The city can impose restrictions on water use but enforcement is spotty and relies too much on voluntary compliance. The city can restrict the sale of free flowing water devices.

Another way the city can address the water issue is working on or building the infrastructure to handle water runoff and sewage with a diverse plan instead of a central facility. A related risk to drought is surprisingly flooding. Heavy rain, if not handled correctly, will lead to flooding of streets and waterways in residential and commercial areas with debris and mold issues to deal with.

One of the main themes of a 3CFortress is to reclaim the water used by the facility. I can’t overstate how key this point is. Millions of facilities rely on fresh water getting to their site and pay good money for this. Why in the world would you use this fresh water only to dump it out via the sewage line? Figure out a way to process the water on site so that it is compatible to the costs of getting it there. Recycling water can be cheaper than treating it at a central facility and distributing it from there. Water storage of fresh, gray and black will be needed with the capacity to handle the daily use of all the occupants.

Overseas you will find that not all water is turned back into fresh or potable water. It is time, in the USA, we start thinking this way. So called gray water can be used in many ways without a threat to the general health and well being of the community. Reuse of gray water means less treatment costs. I saw this working as a private security contractor in Iraq. Forward Operating Bases or compounds used by Westerners had to deal with this issue or suffer the consequences. Many hotels will warn that the tap water is non-potable or don’t drink it. When bathing, don’t get the water in your mouth. It is advisable to use bottled water for brushing your teeth. Is the USA ready to make these changes? Doubtful without a great deal of education on this matter.

The severe drought is a major event that is driving some changes to be made. It is possible that change will be avoided leading to another Dust Bowl scenario. How much is irrigation of crops really costing us? If that irrigation was not possible what are the impacts to our agriculture industry? Devastating if not handled in the short term. Traveling through Nebraska a few years ago I saw what happens when irrigation water fails to reach the crop, in this case corn. Hard to miss the two or three foot high brown corn stalks on the edges where the irrigation water didn’t reach it. It showed me that the normal rainfall for that areas was not enough to support growing that crop. Severe drought turns into a disaster when farmers find out that the irrigation water will not be available.

After reading this far and thinking about the water crisis issue I hope you get a sense of the urgency needed to address and provide a plan to mitigate it. If the amount of rainfall is below normal amounts it would seem obvious that we have to adapt and improvise with the water we do have available. Misuse or inefficient use of water will not resolve the water crisis and most likely will make any future event more severe.  The probability of a severe water crisis is too high to ignore. Planning, both short and long term, needs to start in earnest as reacting in the middle of a crisis can lead to business closures, shutdowns and needless deaths.

Quick Tip – Reclaim and reuse water from commercial and residential areas. In other articles I said to think of a home or building as a giant RV (Recreational Vehicle). Capture the gray and black water for recycling back to site use or back into the environment in a non-polluting way. Sending it to a city water treatment facility should be on the decline, replaced by on-site treatment. Think of this like the solar energy trend where local sites send excess energy to the grid. There are companies looking into this, Veolia for one. This is just one way to handle the water crisis and be better prepared for a disaster.

Look Who’s Talking – An article in USA Today titled, “Damon seeks water everywhere for all”, Friday, January 24, 2014 jumped out at me. Here is a quote from Matt Damon at the Davos Economic Forum:

It’s just unthinkable to those of us who grew up in America or Canada that anybody could ever lack access to clean water”    – Matt Damon

The article shows that water is a global concern but no just in Third World countries. Matt cofounded with Gary White that seeks to address the 1 billion people that lack a safe and consistent way of getting water and the 2.5 billion people that don’t have regular access to a sanitation facility. They have a micro-finance program on the web site that is very interesting. A sister site by David Winder, WaterAid, was mentioned. The article closed with a statement that the water crisis is a top 10 global risk for 2014.

What Do You Think? Is this a top risk addressed in your crisis plan or Continuity Operations plan? Are you ignoring it? Is your company or city ignoring it or addressing it?


The Meaning of the 3 C’s

The “3C” part stands for Corporate City Community. All three of these groups need to build a “Fortress” into their future plans. Short term plans. Moving to a fortress concept ensures business continuity during several likely crises that could happen. If 50% or more of businesses, cities and communities (including so called retreat groups) fail in a natural disaster and/or an economic crisis then the question is “Which one are you?”. Your answer better be one of the ones that stayed open.

History and research gives us enough examples of how all 3 C’s failed to plan ahead. It could be said that the contingency plans, the continuity models or the urban planning was doomed to failure. Question #2 then is “What are you going to do about it on an individual and group level?”. As the articles build I will present how this can be accomplished easily and naturally so you find yourself open, operating and surviving. I will introduce you to 3 more C’s: Castling Concentration and Connected.