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.

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