Former Walmart Exec Unveils Plan To Build A ‘New City In America’
A ‘new city in America’, set to house five million people, is being planned by a former executive of Walmart.
Last week, Marc Lore, former head of US e-commerce for Walmart, unveiled plans for the new city, appointing a world-famous architect to design it. The billionaire called the plan for the sustainable metropolis, ‘Telosa’.
He hopes to raise $400 billion in funding to create the project from scratch in an American desert, ‘creating a more equitable and sustainable future’.
The proposal spans over 150,000 acres of land and, according to CTV News, will have eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production, as well as an apparently drought-resistant water system.
The ’15-minute city design’ aims to allow residents to be able to access everything within a quarter of an hour’s commute from their homes, from supermarkets and other amenities to workplaces and schools.
Architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have been hired by the Walmart exec to bring his plans to life. BIG created a series of digital renderings to accompany the announcement of the plans, which show residential buildings covered in greenery and an idea of what the space would look like when residents are living there.
Autonomous vehicles are also pictured in the renderings, alongside scooters and pedestrians, due to fossil-fuel-powered vehicles being banned in the city.
A skyscraper has also been proposed in the renderings, titled Equitism Tower. It is described in the plans as ‘a beacon for the city’. Features of the building include aeroponic farms, a photovoltaic roof that produces energy and allows the building to ‘share and distribute all it produces’, as well as elevated water storage.
The construction’s first phase would cover 1,500 acres and accommodate 50,000 residents. It is set to cost an estimated $25 billion.
However, the whole project is anticipated to total more than $400 billion. Within 40 years, the city project hopes to reach a target population of five million.
The project has also stated that it wants to act as a ‘new model for society’, promising ‘transparent participatory democracy’ led by ‘a council and city manager model with strong community engagement and involvement’.
Lore’s dream city takes its name from the ancient Greek word ‘telos’, which means a higher purpose, a phrase used by philosopher Aristotle.
According to Lore, the city plans to allow residents to ‘participate in the decision-making and budgeting process’, while residents will also get shared ownership of the land due to a community endowment.
Lore has called his project the ‘most open, most fair and most inclusive city in the world’, in a promotional video for the plans.
Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect and founder of BIG, noted that Lore’s dream city ’embodies the social and environmental care of Scandinavian culture, and the freedom and opportunity of a more American culture’.
Ingels has previously installed a ski slope on top of a powerplant in Copenhagen, and he also co-designed Google’s headquarters in London and California.
In January 2020, BIG were even commissioned by Toyota to create a plan for a 2,000-person city near Mount Fuji, titled ‘Woven City’. It included plans for smart technology, autonomous vehicle testing and robot-assisted living, CTV News reports.
Lore has not only been a former executive of Walmart, joining as head of the US e-commerce in 2016, but he also founded jet.com before selling it to the retail giant. He finally left Walmart earlier this year, stating plans for retirement that included advising startups, working on reality TV shows and building a ‘city of the future’.
Lore was inspired to begin the project by Henry George, an American economist and social theorist, commenting on capitalism’s ‘significant flaws’, which Lore blames on ‘the land ownership model that America was built on’.
Cities that have been built to date from scratch are more like real estate projects. 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?’
Lore concluded how the ‘mission’ of Telosa is ‘to create a more equitable and sustainable future’. ‘That’s our North Star,’ he said.
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