Telosa: A vision for equitable, sustainable big city living

A former Walmart executive and entrepreneur has announced plans to build a utopian and sustainable metropolis that will incorporate smart city concepts, including a broad range of integrated and coordinated services.

"Cities that have been built to date from scratch are more like real estate projects," billionaire Marc Lore said in Telosa’s promotional video. "They don't start with people at the center.”

The built-from-scratch city, tentatively named “Telosa,” aims to put equity and sustainability at the heart of its vision by employing the latest open and transparent technologies to improve public services and reduce waste. The project is expected to require upwards of $400 billion in funding and, within 40 years, cover over 150,000 acres and house over 5 million people.  

Renewable, eco-friendly materials like timber will be used for the bulk of Telosa’s construction,  and once the city is operational, a circular economy will be put in place.

An advanced communication infrastructure will make wireless services more secure and affordable, with Telosa’s apps providing city information to all its residents. A “next gen infrastructure management system” will deliver real-time city services and transit and “maximize safe, efficient, and affordable management of people, services and vehicles throughout the city,” the Telosa website says. Artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and advanced monitors and sensing will be deployed to improve services deliver and reduce waste.  

The city itself will also support public and private partnerships by making incubators and accelerator programs available to residents. While the location for Telosa has not yet been decided, the southwestern United States has been floated as one of the proposed site.

Nevada has taken a small step into purpose-built smart cities. Gov. Steve Sisolak has proposed a bill that would allow technology companies to establish innovation zones that function in part as a local government that supports resident housing, schools, retail, transportation, power generation and health care facilities and fosters economic development in emerging technology industries.

"The mission of Telosa is to create a more equitable, sustainable future. That’s our North Star," Lore said. "We are going to be the most open, the most fair and the most inclusive city in the world."

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.

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