They don't like the word "utopia," but five friends who bought Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah, have plans to create a community that sounds pretty utopian-ish. Writer Laura Raskin paid a visit and lays out the vision in the Atlantic. The five friends bought the mountain in 2013 through Summit, the company they formed as 20-somethings five years prior. They aim to build 500 single-family homes as part of a community designed to bring together entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and deep thinkers in general to help, in the modest goal of Summit, "create global change." The community's physical design plays a big role, writes Raskin. "Mapped out over years by a coterie of prestigious architects and planners, Summit adheres to a logical grid and strict aesthetic guidelines specifically meant to avoid a dissolution into a ski resort of McMansions and Gucci outposts."
Summit aims to have the community mostly in place by 2022, the general idea being to get the right mix of people so that "solutions to global problems will come on a shared chairlift ride up the mountain, or during a fireside chat between strangers." They also plan subsidized and low-income housing so this doesn't become yet another enclave for the rich. Raskin looks at the plans through the context of other utopian communities throughout US history, most of which ended in failure. Still, "Summit has money, time, sensitive architects, and a mission of goodwill—perhaps all the raw ingredients needed to actually succeed in creating a paradisiacal mix of leisure, thought leadership, philanthropy, and education," she writes. Click for the full story. (Read more Utopias stories.)