CTRL ATL Detour – Can Billionaires Reboot The City?

Posted by

Should a city be built by a government or by the people?

That might be a deep question about how our systems are structured.

It could be more pragmatic.

How many people feel like they pay way too much in taxes, and is that all of that money truly impacting those that need it the most?
How is the infrastructure of your city humming along (roads, schools, affordable housing, parks, libraries, etc.)?
How do we feel about investors (including many tech billionaires) who want to build a city, with the hopes of running it better than the government can?

Welcome to California Forever.

Flannery Associates (led by a former Goldman Sachs trader) has spent $800 million scooping up over 50,000 acres of land near an Air Force base in Solano County near San Francisco.
The money comes from investors like Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison and LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman.

The dream?

A green, walkable city, job creation, safety, and renewable energy initiatives like solar farms with tens of thousands of new homes and orchards and over a million new trees.

No, this won’t be a quick build.

While facing a myriad of challenges to how the land was acquired to local opposition from city council and beyond, the biggest issues will be zoning.
The land is mostly zoned for agricultural use, not residential or commercial, which means Flannery Associates will need to get a rezoning pushed through, which is no easy task in California.
More here: The Silicon Valley Elite Who Want to Build a City From Scratch (via The New York Times).

So… can this become a true utopia or is this another toy for billionaires to escape places like San Francisco?

What is Tech Tuesday?

Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM and Jack 103) on the air at 95.9 Star FM to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture.
We call it Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).

Once the segment goes live on 95.9 Star FM, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage.

Before you go… ThinkersOne  is a new way for organizations to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership video content (live and recorded) from the best Thinkers in the world. If you’re looking to add excitement  and big smarts to your meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, check it out.