The billionaire of America and former Walmart executive and e-commerce tycoon Marc Lore unveiled his big plan to create a utopian city from scratch somewhere in the American desert.
While in the conversation with Bloomberg, he told the new city called Telosa, after the ancient Greek word, ‘telos’ meaning ‘highest purpose’. The purpose behind this mega project is to solve or eliminate the growing wealth gap in America, which is nowadays the country’s biggest challenge. That’s why he decided to buy cheap land in the West or Appalachia and create a town. The city would feature indoor framing, energy-efficient buildings autonomous electric cars, and high-speed transportation.
The most innovative proposal is how the land would be owned: anyone might build and sell residences, but the city would retain ownership of the land underneath. Theoretically, the value of that land would increase over time. Lore estimates that when the city grows, the property will be worth $1 trillion and will generate $50 billion in annual revenue from investments that will be used to ensure that all citizens, regardless of income, have access to healthcare, good schools, parks, safe streets, and transportation. It’s known as “equitism,” or a variation on capitalism, according to Lore.
In another interview Lore explained from his New Jersey lake house, “I’m trying to create a new model for society, where wealth is created in a fair way,”. In addition to that, he explained “It’s not burdening the wealthy; it’s not increasing taxes. It is simply giving back to the citizens and the people the wealth that they helped create.”
“The mission of Telosa is to create a more equitable, sustainable future. That’s our North Star.” According to CNN, describing his proposal as “the most open, the fairest, and the most inclusive city in the world.”
Areas in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, and the Appalachian region are apparently being considered as potential city sites. This plan, according to Lore, is based on the principles of Henry George, an American economist, and social theorist. In his book from 1879, “Progress and Poverty,” George essentially claims that rising inequality is due to private land ownership.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a Danish architect who previously designed the Google and Apple offices, owns the company, they released a series of digital renderings to accompany the announcement. Lore’s utopian concept was brought to life by an architecture firm. The images depict greenery-covered residential towers with people who appear to have plenty of open space. Because fossil-fuel-powered vehicles are prohibited in the city, autonomous vehicles are seen riding alongside scooters and people down sunny streets.
A fresh approach to urban planning
The proposal promises transparent governance and a “new model for society,” in addition to innovative urban architecture. The city would allow inhabitants to “participate in the decision-making and budgeting process,” taking its name from the ancient Greek word “telos” (a phrase used by philosopher Aristotle to designate an inherent or higher purpose). Meanwhile, residents will be able to share land ownership through a community endowment.
On Telosa’s official website, Lore explains that he was inspired by American economist and social theorist Henry George. The investor cites capitalism’s “significant flaws,” attributing many of them to “the land ownership model that America was built on.”
“Cities that have been built to date from scratch are more like real estate projects,” Lore said while promoting the project. “They don’t start with people at the center. Because if you started with people at the center, you would immediately think, ‘OK, what’s the mission and what are the values?’ (CNN).
Researchers have been studying utopian cities since the 19th century, and they’ve mostly discovered that top-down economic models don’t work, according to Mark Giliem, an urban design professor at the University of Oregon. Cities, he claims, grow spontaneously as a result of a plethora of circumstances.
“Lore talks about reformed capitalism, but who will be in charge?” asked Giliem. “I think this sounds dangerous.”
Lore says he wouldn’t be in charge. Rather, the city would be “people-centric” and built on values of openness, fairness, and inclusivity. And it could take 10 to 20 years for it to happen—if at all. “It’s a moonshot,” he said. “I don’t know if it will work, but we’ll learn a lot.” (FORTUNE).