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Billionaire Unveils Plans for 'Most Inclusive City in the World'

Marc Lore's Telosa, to be built in some US desert, will be a sustainable, 'equitable' metropolis
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2021 7:52 AM CDT
Billionaire Needs $400B for His Desert Paradise. And a Desert
In this May 2, 2016, file photo, Marc Lore speaks during an interview in Hoboken, NJ.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – He's helmed Jets.com and Diapers.com and served as a top Walmart exec. Now, billionaire and entrepreneur Marc Lore has a new project in the works, as long as he can pull together more than $400 billion. That's the amount the 50-year-old says he needs to build Telosa, a yet-to-be-formed, sustainable 150,000-acre city he hopes to erect smack in the middle of a to-be-determined US desert, complete with renewable resources, autonomous cars, and the promise that its residents will "always feel safe, welcome, and included." CNN notes that plans for Lore's metropolis were unwrapped last week, an "ambitious" proposal for what Lore calls the "most open, most fair, and most inclusive city in the world."

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The blueprint designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group shows plenty of open space and greenery, with an underlying premise that, at least initially, none of the land will be privately owned. Instead, all land will remain in a "community endowment" that will pump any money brought in from increasing land values into social services for residents, reports Bloomberg. The ultimate goals of the city, set to be anchored by a futuristic-looking "beacon" called Equitism Tower: "higher quality education, greater access to home ownership, improved health and wellness, more innovative business opportunities, and expanded jobs and retraining," per the Telosa website.

The portal offers further whats, hows, and whys, noting that "a new city built from scratch avoids the legacy issues of infrastructure and policies that constrain and restrict what can be developed," the FAQ notes. Organizers are currently scouting for locations for Telosa—a name derived from an ancient Greek word that means "higher purpose"—in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Idaho, and the Appalachian area, with the first of the eventual 5 million residents projected to move in by 2030. As for the cost—anticipated to be $25 billion-plus for the "initial phase" and more than $400 billion for the "city build out"—the site notes funds will be sought from private investors, federal and state grants, philanthropists, and economic development subsidies.

"I'm trying to create a new model for society, where wealth is created in a fair way. It's not burdening the wealthy; it's not increasing taxes," Lore adds to Fortune, which details some possible wrenches to his plans, including the stickiness of such a city's governance and ensuring a desert city like this would have enough water. But while Lore's model is being dubbed a "utopia" in headlines, that's not how he views it. "We are absolutely not attempting to create a utopia," the site notes. "Utopian projects are focused on creating a perfect, idealistic state—we are not. We are firmly grounded in reality and what is possible." Much more here. (Read more billionaires stories.)

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