Silicon Valley Building Utopian Fake City Project on 55,000 Acres of Land They’ve Been Buying Up

What makes it utopian and futuristic is the lack of youth gangs

There’s really a lot I want to say about this – even though it is just being revealed now, and there are not any details.

But it’s also Sunday, and I don’t feel like trying to say all of it right now.

Let me think about it, and you think about it, and I’ll look into it, and I’ll get back to you later.

(The obvious thing is: why would you build this in California and deal with the taxes? It would be much cheaper to just put it in Iowa and then build, you know – an airport.)

The Guardian:

The Silicon Valley elites who have been quietly buying up northern California farmland for several years have gone public with their vision for the utopian city they hope to build from scratch on 55,000 acres in Solano county.

This week the group behind the effort, Flannery Associates, launched a website for the initiative and released a series of sunny renderings showing Mediterranean-style homes and walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

The sudden launch of a public campaign comes as the group, backed by a cohort of billionaire Silicon Valley investors, had faced growing criticism over their shadowy agenda.

Before last week, no one knew who exactly was behind the purchase of agricultural plots and empty land in south-eastern Solano county, about 60 miles from San Francisco. The land bought by the firm primarily stretches between Fairfield, home to 120,000 people as well as the Anheuser-Busch Co brewery and the Jelly Belly jelly bean factory, and the small city of Rio Vista.

In all, the group spent nearly $1bn and became the largest landowner in the county, even buying property around the nation’s busiest air force base. The mystery reportedly drew the attention of the US military and FBI.

Last week, the New York Times revealed that Flannery Associates was backed by a group of prominent Silicon Valley investors and aimed to build a new city, operated using clean energy, that would create thousands of jobs while offering residents reliable public transportation and urban living.

Jan Sramek, a 36-year-old former trader for the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, spearheaded the project. The group of backers includes Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder; venture capitalist Michael Moritz; Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of the philanthropic group Emerson Collective and wife of the late Steve Jobs; Marc Andreessen, the investor and software developer; Patrick and John Collison, the sibling co-founders of the payment processor Stripe; and the entrepreneurs Daniel Gross and Nat Friedman, the Times reported.

On Thursday, the group laid out the vision for the land with a new website, renderings and a name – California Forever. California Forever is the parent company of Flannery Associates, founded by Sramek who, the website notes, recently purchased his first home in the county.

On the website, California Forever argued that to build a “complete, sustainable community” it needed a large settlement of land, and said it couldn’t share its plans until it finished acquiring properties to avoid “reckless short-term land speculation”.

Their dream is to establish a new city with homes of various sizes and costs with walkable neighborhoods close to shops and schools, and open spaces around the community, according to the website. California Forever says the project could bring “thousands of permanent, good-paying local jobs” and a large solar farm.

Aside from the California tax issue, there are several other reasons you wouldn’t want this in California, or in America.

If you’re building a self-contained city, where most people that live there will also be working, you could do it somewhere in Central or South America, where you could make enough “donations” to the government that you’d be allowed to self-govern the community.

Seriously: if people are meant to live and work there, then the only time they will be leaving is for meetings in California. And most people won’t need to do that regularly. Those who do need to do that can take planes.

Anyway – the idea of a group of investors building a new city is fascinating, even if they are doing it wrong, and it will be interesting to see it unfold. My guess is it’s going to be a disaster. I think they will also use a lot of plastic and really crappy M/I Homes type materials. (If they had put it in El Salvador, they could afford better materials.)

This pictures are ridiculous. I seriously do not think this fake city is going to look like Florence (or whatever it is these images are meant to evoke).