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BuildingCircles Project

Facilitating affordable, sustainable, nature-integrated, adult communities


Creating Affordable, 
Ultra-green, Adult Communities 
for Independent Living on 
Vashon-Maury Island, Washington

Robert Bornn, Executive Director
Laura Worth, Communications Director
Advisory Board


   Imagine: Intentional Adult Communities for Independent Living
   Facilitate: Development of Community
   Why BuildingCircles Project?
   The Resources
   Goals for New Building
   Share: Share What We Learn.

Contact Us

Sunrise over Dockton
Maury Island, Washington
Photo by R. Bornn



(BuildingCircles is a project of LifeSense Institute, a nonprofit corporation)



BuildingCirclestm Project on Vashon-Maury Island (VMI), Washington is committed to helping residents build intentional adult communities to achieve independent living.  We will facilitate affinity-based, co-housing-like communities based on affordable, ultra-green and nature-integrated housing.  We have a particular interest in building adult communities now that will be viable for people in their coming elder years.  These projects will demonstrate that intentional community building  using principals of universal design will serve individuals with special needs of all ages and will result in stronger communities for society.

These emerging “creative elder” communities can be as simple as a few neighbors who wish to plan ahead, creating a system of mutual support.  For example, this might include pooling of resources to sponsor services like grocery shopping, transportation, or on-site medical care.  These support systems will improve efficiencies and lower the cost of living for people of all ages.

More complex creative elder communities can include structural improvements or additions that permit assisted living.  These improvements could create on-site residential rental dwellings for professional caregivers as needed. 

Ultimately, with motivated people, available land, and community support, a comprehensive cooperative community could be built.  The community we envision will be based on environmentally and human-friendly land planning, structures, and relationships. 

BuildingCircles Project is a project of LifeSense Institute, a new nonprofit corporation on Vashon-Maury Island.  Robert Bornn and Laura Worth founded LifeSense Institute to facilitate programs, including the BuildingCircles Project, to improve quality of life on Vashon-Maury Island and beyond. 


To realize these dreams the BuildingCircles project leaders will bring together: 

  • vision, inspiration, and motivation 
  • strong business leadership 
  • project management
  • experience and expertise 
  • group facilitation services 
  • consulting services 
  • coaching and mentoring. 

If you have interest in creating a community support network, retrofitting your home to support ultra-green, independent living, or building a model intentional community similar to what we describe below, please contact us.

If you do not already have people in mind to share your dream, we can help you identify potential stakeholders for your intentional community. 

Vision clarification and concept development begins a process that identifies your short-term and long-term goals.  After a guided exploration of feasibility, strategic planning leads to a step-by-step action plan that sets the project in motion.  Facilitation of this process develops trust and communication among stakeholders:  essential cornerstones to the ultimate success of the community.

The next step after creating the plan is to implement it.  That might mean installing universal design and authentically-green home improvements.  It might mean helping you create a design-build team or working with your existing design-build team to realize your vision. 

We can help you plan for financing and ownership of your community. 

LifeSense Institute will contract with individuals or organizations to facilitate BuildingCircles building projects of all sizes.  Grants, donations, and membership fees paid to LifeSense Institute are expected to lower the cost of these facilitation services. 

Why BuildingCircles Project?
FIRST, we believe that advanced housing structures, subsystems, and land use plans can result in retrofitting and new building that is both affordable and environmentally sound.  BuildingCircles Project is committed to promoting new structures that will offer residents:
  • ultra-green design, including highly-efficient water and energy systems
  • acoustic and visual privacy
  • inexpensive heating and cooling
  • nature-integration with load-bearing roofs for full plant growth 
  • low maintenance and earthquake resistance

SECOND, BuildingCircles Project can also promote a new cooperative, team-building approach to the organization of the people and resources required to build these contemporary intentional communities. 
Homebuilders can benefit from "barnraising" strategies that will allow them to encourage professionals and volunteers to share expertise, skills, physical labor, and financial resources. 

THIRD, inventors and innovators may also participate in other LifeSense Institute projects, such as Vashon Energy Project.  Participation in pilot projects of the Vashon Energy Project may lower homeowner costs.

The Resources
The BuildingCircles Project will assist you in bringing together professional and volunteer participants representing disparate motivation, skills, and resources loosely represented as three “circles.” 

Owner-Builder-Inventor Circles: These are the highly motivated people who, with guidance from the BuildingCircles Project, create a community plan.  This may mean simply designing practical social support systems with neighbors and friends.   For new building projects these people would create a land use plan, design their homes, obtain creative financing for land and materials, and organize the various contributing participants.  They may also wish to participate as co-inventors. 

Advisor and Supplier Circles: These individuals, often professionally licensed and generally expert in particular applicable fields, may volunteer a limited number of hours to the BuildingCircles Project.  Their expertise will be key in training and sharing information with the other participants. It is likely that many will participate because of a desire to open themselves to new planning, design, and building methods. Some may wish to learn skills outside their own field of expertise that are applicable to building their own homes.  Some may participate in building as interns in various academic programs or through hands-on workshops or classes.  Individuals and companies may donate subsystems and materials. 

Explorer Circles:  These individuals may gather and organize legal, technical, and other information for review.  They may also help with physical labor.  Similarly to the advisors, motivation for these individuals will also likely come from a desire to learn skills applicable to building their own future homes. 

Goals for New Building 
We will help clients who wish to build new structures to organize the planning and construction of affordable, sustainable, nature-integrated structures on Vashon-Maury Island.  Affordable structural improvements, homes, and/or community developments of many sizes and types can be built.  We will facilitate architectural choices which offer significant earthquake resistance; fire and vermin-proofing; easier maintenance; and inexpensive, comfortable, temperature and humidity control. 

These extremely low-maintenance and low-energy-use homes and communities can also include: 

  • Micro-power generation with “neighborhood grids” based on solar energy
  • Water harvesting and disposal
  • Composting and related sewage solutions
  • Full-scale gardening and "micro-farming" on their load-bearing roofs and solar green houses.



LifeSense Institute will share what it learns about these model community developments.  Sharing will be achieved through web, various media, conferences, and other educational means.



We are actively seeking participants and donors for LifeSense Institute and the BuildingCircles Project.  In-kind-donations (services, materials, and equipment) are welcome.  We anticipate collaboration with a network of local and worldwide professionals with expertise in relevant fields. We are forming a dynanmic advisory board to optimize our projects. If you have interest, please contact us to join our mailing list, learn of sponsored informational events, and programs and activitites.

Contact Information
Robert Bornn and Laura Worth
BuildingCircles Organization
P.O. Box 2443
Vashon Island, WA 98070
(206) 463-4284



Sunset over Quartermaster Harbor, Vashon Island, Washington by R. Bornn
Sunset over Quartermaster Harbor
Vashon Island, Washington
Photo by R. Bornn

A vision of our future
begins with preservation 
of the earth.


Privacy Policy:
We will never sell or share your contact information with anyone without your permission.

The Small Print:

LifeSense Institute is a Washington State nonprofit corporation.
LifeSense Insitute is registered for solicitations under the Washington State Charitable Solicitations Act, RCW 19.09.
LifeSense Institute is not currently a tax-exempt organization under IRC 501(c)(3).

This site is for educational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional consultation.
No claim is made or implied that the ideas, inventions, illustrations, and documents on this site are applicable to any
housing, building, or land use project.  Nor does the site represent in any way consulting services of any kind.
Nothing on this site is an offer to sell, transfer, license, or use proprietary technology.

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Copyright (c) 2006 by Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.  All rights reserved.

LifeSense Institute, LifeSense Technologies Corporation, BuildingCircles,
Vashon Energy, Imagine * Facilitate * Share,Alternative energy for life, and
Facilitating affordable, sustainable, nature-integrated, adult communities
are trademarks of Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.
Photos by Robert Bornn.