Marc Lore, a former Walmart executive and e-commerce mogul, intends to start from scratch and develop the world’s first woke city somewhere in the United States.
Lore presented designs for his paradise, named Telosa, last week. Telosa is derived from the ancient Greek term Telos, which means “highest purpose.”
“The mission of Telosa is to create a more equitable, sustainable future. That’s our North Star,” Lore said in a promotional video. “We are going to be the most open, the most fair and the most inclusive city in the world.”
Lore’s economic vision, dubbed “Equitism,” is central to the city’s designs, in which the land on which the city is built will be contributed to a community endowment.
Residents, in turn, own their homes on the land and are richer as home values rise, according to the project’s website, and residents can buy the land from the community endowment after a time of “hyper-growth.”
“If you went into the desert where the land was worth nothing, or very little, and you created a foundation that owned the land, and people moved there and tax dollars built infrastructure and we built one of the greatest cities in the world, the foundation could be worth a trillion dollars,” Lore told Bloomberg Businessweek.
“And if the foundation’s mission was to take the appreciation of the land and give it back to the citizens in the form of medicine, education, affordable housing, social services: Wow, that’s it!”
The city addresses what Lore sees as the country’s most pressing problem: the widening income divide, which he claims “is going to bring down America.”
“While the current economic system is a growth engine, it has led to increasing inequality,” the project’s website explains. “Equitism is inclusive growth.”
“We have a chance to prove a new model for society that offers people a higher quality of life and greater opportunity. When I look out 30 years from now, I imagine Equitism serving as a blueprint for other cities—and even the world—and Telosa being a place of pride for all who live there,” Lore told CNN.
Our vision is to create a new city in America that sets a global standard for urban living, expands human potential, and becomes a blueprint for future generations.#CityofTelosa #NewCity #CityoftheFuture pic.twitter.com/T9OO5ub6OT— City of Telosa (@CityofTelosa) September 1, 2021
According to Businessweek, the first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2030, will cost $25 billion and house 50,000 people across 1,500 acres.
According to the site, the metropolis will require $400 billion in funding over the next 40 years and grow to house up to 5 million people across 150,000 acres.
According to the project’s official website, planners are examining locations in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, and the Appalachian region for the proposed city’s location. The move-in date is set for 2030.
Lore engaged Bjarke Ingels Group, a Copenhagen-based architectural firm, to design the city in June.
Sleek graphics show plenty of room for pedestrians to wander through the green metropolis, as well as depictions of planes and other aircraft that look to be from Archer Aviation, the electric “air taxi” startup in which Lore is an investor.
Another graphic on the site depicts the Equitism tower, a skyscraper with elevated water storage, aeroponic farms, and an energy-generating roof.
According to the website, the streets “prioritize bikes and pedestrians,” and slow-moving self-driving cars share the road.
“With fossil-fuel-powered vehicles banned in the city, autonomous vehicles are pictured traveling down sun-lit streets alongside scooters and pedestrians,” CNN wrote.
The website says the city will be “open,” “fair,” and “inclusive.”
Lore, who is said to have a net worth of up to $4 billion, created Quidsi, an e-commerce company that included diapers.com, and sold it to Amazon in 2010 for $545 million.
He left Amazon after two years and launched Jet.com, which he sold to Walmart in 2016, where he now serves as the retailer’s CEO of U.S. e-commerce.
The serial entrepreneur departed the company earlier this year to pursue other, as yet unannounced, initiatives.
Since then, he’s purchased an interest in the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx and co-founding Vision Capital People with Alex Rodriguez.
Lore isn’t the first billionaire to want to create a utopian society. Sarah Moser, an associate professor of geography at McGill University in Montreal, believes Lore has a slim chance of succeeding.
She has identified over 150 greenfield city-building projects funded by governments or commercial groups. However, she told Businessweek that none of them had met their population targets.