A billionaire wants to build an inclusive utopian city. Heads of government are skeptical.

E-commerce billionaire Marc Lore wants to build the world’s first “waking city” he calls Telosa somewhere in the desert of the United States, where he says residents will have equal access to healthcare, to excellent schools and safe environments regardless of income. But to live there, people will likely have to meet diversity and inclusion criteria.

The $ 400 billion metropolis, titled ‘America’s New City,’ will begin to build when properly funded, says Lore, a former Walmart executive, but didn’t say how much funding is needed to get started construction.

The word Telosa comes from the ancient Greek Telos, which means “highest goal”, and the term “awakened city” used by Lore means to be mindful of racial or social discrimination and injustice. Lore aims for Telosa to be a diverse place that is home to diverse races, genders, sexual orientations, religions and political affiliations..

“Telosa’s mission is to create a more equitable and sustainable future. He’s our North Star, ”Lore said in a promotional video. “We are going to be the most open, fair and inclusive city in the world. “

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Lore has not said how he would get the money to fund Telosa, and has yet to acquire land or water rights, precursors to persuading people to leave real cities for his hypothetical. Lore also did not understand how he would operate or persuade government officials to grant him the power to operate.

Lore’s mission statement for Telosa is to “create a more equitable and sustainable future” that can “become a role model for future generations”. This is supported by a 150,000-acre design proposal with eco-friendly architecture, sustainable power generation and a drought-tolerant water system, according to the Telosa website.

“We have a chance to prove a new model of society that offers people a better quality of life and better opportunities,” Lore said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a team of 50 volunteers and staff that includes architects, economists, engineers, climate experts, historians and designers help create the selection criteria for potential residents.

Big potential challenges

Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director of the National League of Cities, said having a city that requires an application selection process could lead to “a host of problems, including just thinking about the criteria at hand and how might these criteria change over time. The last thing we would like to see are criteria that could be perceived or genuinely discriminatory in one way or another. ”

According to Telosa’s website, equity is a new business model based on the premise that citizens should have a stake in the land. As the city gets better, so do the inhabitants. It retains capitalism but with an additional funding mechanism for improved service throughout the city. With equity, Lore hopes to create a higher level of social services for residents, without the additional burdens on taxpayers.

“We have a chance to prove a new model of society that offers people a better quality of life and greater opportunities,” he wrote.

While there is no location for the city, Telosa’s website says Lore and his team are researching locations across the United States, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Lore and his team. Arizona, Texas and the Appalachian region. Lore hopes 50,000 residents spread across 1,500 acres will move to the city by 2030, costing around $ 25 billion, according to United States today.

“I don’t want to be the ruler of the city; it’s more of a public service, ”said Lore United States today. “I want to give her a place to grow and flourish. It’s not supposed to be a private town; it’s supposed to be a city for everyone, with an innovative way of life.

Since Lore is mostly looking at desert locations, there won’t be enough water. Story told United States today that for this to work, the city will need to use 80% less water per person.

Not a new concept

This is not the first time that a utopian city has been imagined by a wealthy person. Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2017 announced plans to build a smart city outside of Phoenix on 2,800 acres, and millionaire Jeffrey Berns bought 67,000 acres in Nevada for a smart city, according to United States today.

But NLC’s Rainwater is skeptical of the concept. “There are a multitude of cities in the United States and around the world that (…) have become great over time due to the nature of cities that shape and form throughout their history with people. who live there, ”he said. “So I’m a little weary of the ideas of billionaires wanting to create cities from scratch. “