American entrepreneur and billionaire Mark Lohr has unveiled an ambitious plan to build a new city called Telosa from scratch. The concept was developed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and, if the city is built, it will be located somewhere in the USA. If all goes according to plan, the first residents will settle here by 2030.
Lohr, a former banker and successful businessman best known for selling his e-commerce site Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 billion a few years ago, insists that the concept is not inherently utopian, although its presentation is reminiscent of some utopian experiments from Europe.
"There is a finite amount of land, and there has been no one claiming that land for generations. There are local communities, lots of tax dollars are invested in the land - so the value of the land increases over time, and the landowners don't have to produce or risk anything. In fact, land can be transformed from barren wasteland to a modern city worth billions (or even trillions)," says the former banker.
So Lohr came up with what he called "equitism": acquire a huge 150,000-acre plot of land to be donated to the community. He would then democratically manage the land's rental income and valuation to support city services, education, health care, etc. without raising taxes.
Details are sparse so far, but the renderings show an idyllic Telos town with farms and buildings filled with greenery that boast high energy efficiency and modern additions such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems.
A large tower called Equitism Tower will rise in a central park with plenty of greenery. Pedestrian accessibility will be a priority throughout the city. Transportation options will also include bicycles, slow-moving autonomous cars, as well as a monorail and possibly air taxis with vertical take-off.
The billionaire's idea is to build the city in phases. The initial phase will cost more than $25 billion and will consist of 1,500 acres of land with buildings for 50,000 residents. Eventually, the city will be home to 5 million people and is estimated to cost $400 billion. Funding is expected to come from a variety of sources, including private investors, philanthropists, and federal and state grants.