Cities from Scratch: 9 Upstart Utopias

News reports tell of a city that will rise in the New Mexico dessert, 20 miles square, where no humans will live. Instead, the city will be a model for designing and testing renewable energy systems, transit plans, and other technological innovations. Building a city from scratch may seem like an out-there plan, but it's a plan that has sparked the interests of investors, inventors, and architects many times. If you could start from scratch, without the hindrances of our built environment, what would your urban dream look like? Each answer reflects the particular hopes and values of those who design it; many recent proposals focus on creating a place that will run on more renewable energy and require less driving and commuting.

Below, a look at some cities-from-scratch plans and realities, some of which are home to thousands today, and others that, particularly in the wake of the global economic slowdown, will never make it off the page.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Technology

Just In