Recent reports of an ultra-sustainable city designed by the renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels have left many marveling at the potential outcome of this concept.
Former Walmart CEO, Marc Lore, has taken on an enthusiastic new project that will house 50,000 people by 2030 and up to 5 million in the years to follow.
Considering the growing shift toward sustainability and the consumer drive for more eco-friendly products, the success of this city is certainly possible. It could lead to an array of various others popping up around the world.
Telosa’s website states that it will be built on 150,000 acres of land in the Western part of the United States. The specific location has yet to be determined. There are indications of either Nevada or Idaho due to their ruralness and lasting sun that can conceivably provide a reliable alternative energy source.
Their concept 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."
The untouched land will be purchased by Lore and donated to a community endowment, where any added value will be cycled back into the local economy.
Lore says that the "land could essentially go from a barren piece of desert to a modern-day city worth billions. It got me asking even more questions and thinking about a potential solution. What if that land had been owned by a community endowment? What if you took that land appreciation and gave it back to the community since they created the value?"
Though Lore and Ingels have yet to state the specifics of the design, the website's highly futuristic concept images complete with flying taxis and modern monorails have created a buzz around the ambition.
What we do know of the plan is that walkers and bikers will be catered toward to encourage vehicle-free living. Of the autonomous vehicles used, they will be slow-moving and required to share the streets with pedestrians.
Both Lore and Ingels want to focus on building a city of inclusivity, noting that residents will always feel welcome and safe. There are even plans of building a large viewing tower, named Equitism, in the city park to emphasize these efforts and help draw visitors to the area. This building will have a "photovoltaic roof, elevated water storage, and aeroponic farms enable the structure to share and distribute all it produces."
Another factor worth noting is that the visionist of the city is not describing Telosa as a utopia but rather an attainable urban place that will be an ideal home for those who are trying to escape the ravages of climate change.
This city sounds almost too good to be true, so what are the actual potential outcomes?
Examining both extremes, on one end of the spectrum, Telosa could go as planned and create a truly sustainable place to live in all aspects. As it gains popularity, more would be built around the USA and even the world, providing millions of individuals with the opportunity to live life more sustainably. There would be fewer emissions and waste, and all would have equal opportunity to housing, education, and health care.
On the other end of the spectrum, the city could not be built at all, or if it is, it might not uphold its sustainable vision as intended. An increase in desire to live in Telosa might raise housing prices, meaning that only those of higher socio-economic backgrounds could afford to live there.
A rise in tourism to the area could also result in lessening the sustainable aspect of the city. Individuals flying from thousands of miles away to visit Telosa could result in a rather sizeable footprint that might not be if the city didn't exist.
Nevertheless, odds are that the answer will fall between the two extremes. For example, there is a possibility of housing discrepancies as the city becomes a desirable place to live. Depending on how they decide to designate housing to incomers, on a first-come-first-serve basis or by the highest bidder winning, could create a varying array of outcomes.
That said, the city will run on alternative energy, recycled and reused water, minimized waste, and be comprised of sustainable materials, which already puts it at a major advantage compared to many cities around the globe.
Even if the plans don't go precisely as intended and merely runs off of alternative energy, that is still incredibly impressive and a great start to continued sustainable development down the road.
For now, we will have to wait and see what happens to Telosa within the next nine years. Regardless of the outcome, the city's announcement still acts beacon of light for the future of climate change remediation.