L5, or Lagrange point 5, is an area in the moon’s orbit around earth where space colonies are often planned to take place. L5 is a point of relative stasis—a balancing point between the gravity of the earth and the gravity of the moon (there are five such points in any system with one body orbiting another). Little energy is required to stay in orbital position at L5, effectively making it a sort of parking spot, convenient to both earth and the moon and a step toward the rest of the solar system. Since L5 is an area larger than the moon and is in a fixed position in relation to the moon, it is possible to locate it and see it—in as much as you can see an empty area.
L5 from Here is a series of photographs of L5, taken from sites of past or present intentional communities which strive for an ideal way of living, a utopia. Five photographs from the ongoing series are shown below with their accompanying text.
Harvard, Massachusetts. Established in the 1840s, Fruitlands was an agrarian commune based on Transcendentalist principles, founded by Charles Lane and Amos Bronson Alcott (the writer Louisa May Alcott’s father). They wished to separate themselves from the world economy by refraining from trade, having no personal property, and not using hired or animal labor. Residents of Fruitlands ate no animal substances, drank only water, and bathed in unheated water. While they did plant crops, they were unprepared to survive long-term according to their principles and disbanded in their first winter. The community lasted seven months.
Kissimmee, Florida. Celebration is a Florida town of about 7,400 residents established in the mid-1990s based on the Disney brand, as a real-life extension of Walt Disney’s vision of the ‘Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). With input from leaders in education, health, technology, urban planning, and architects, Disney Development Company executives created the operating policies and vision for the town, based on Disney World’s idealized Main Street.
Oracle, Arizona. Biosphere II is a giant sealed greenhouse-like structure, built to be an artificial materially enclosed ecosystem, an experimental mini-earth (Earth is biosphere I). In 1991, eight people entered the airlock and remained inside for two years, farming and maintaining the plants and animals, attempting to sustain themselves only from within the ‘biosphere 2’ system.
Estero, Florida. The Koreshan Unity was founded by Cyrus Teed in the late 1800s. While striving for a utopian city of 10 million, the community was at its peak in 1903-1908, with about 250 residents at an extensively landscaped colony with a bakery, a printing house with a newspaper and other publications, a general store, concrete works and a power plant, which supplied power to the surrounding area. Teed’s religious visions included ‘Cellular Cosmogony,’ the belief that we
live on the inside of earth’s sphere.
Harvard Shaker Village Historic District, Massachusetts. The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing is a branch of mainstream Protestantism founded in the 18th century in England, and is known as the Shakers—the ‘Shaking Quakers’—because of the ecstatic nature of their worship services. Shakers settled in various places in colonial America and had as many as 6,000 followers at their peak. They are mostly known today for their cultural contributions, especially their style of architecture and furniture, celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, and model of gender equality.