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The Venus Flytrap - About Cities

Appendix E. About Cities


15-01 Among things that Jacque Fresco brags about, only his round city plan remains unhandled. As pointed out in Chapter 3, the shape of city really makes no odds. However, it still takes up a significant part of Fresco's plan. It may be valuable to discuss about it shortly before finishing up this writing.

15-02 The claim that all cities must be round shaped regardless of geographical conditions, as almost all urban engineers would testify, is stupid. Cities must create harmony with surrounding natural environments. Cities surrounded by mountinas have their own beauty, and cities nearby coasts have their own beauty. The attempt to standardize cities into a few types cannot be successful.

15-03 Of course, future cities illustrated by Jacque Fresco seem pretty nice. However, any city can be described as beautiful. Zurich, Praha, Sevilla and even New York are more beautiful compared to cities of Jacque Fresco. What we need is a photographer to shoot good photographs and a poet to romatically describe them. Coldly speaking, it is true that Jacque Fresco's cities are less beautiful than other cities that are equally described as beautiful.


15-04 Why does Jacque Fresco persist on round city? Let us listen to Peter Joseph's story: "Its role is to enable efficient access to the necessities of life along with increased social support and community interaction. So how would we go about designing an ideal city? What shape should we make it? Square? Trapezoid? Well, given we are going to be moving around the thing we might as well make it as equidistant as possible for ease... hence the circle."

15-05 Of course, natural envrionments that limit the shape of cities are completely out of consideration. He continues, "What should the city contain? Well, naturally we need a residential area, a goods production area, a power generation area… And since we are working with a circle it seems rational to place these functions in Belts based on the amount of land required for each goal along with ease of access. Very good."

15-06 What is very good? It is impossible to understand his explanation. For example, there is no reason to arrange factories and schools in belt form. It is desirable in terms of transportation expense for schools to be positioned between residential areas. It would be desirable for automotive production factories to be clustered with steel production factories, tire factories, and ultimately with all factories in a factory area to reduce transportation cost of materials. This is more so when labor is not required for production.

15-07 We did not listen to an explanation on efficiency. We simply heard explanation on his fetish of being abnormally obsessed with conformity and circle. 'Very good' doesn't mean anything other than the fact that it simply fits his preference. And he saw that it was very good! His urban plan is certainly very groundbreaking as a sample of sloppy and irresponsible thought. The problem is that he is serious about it!


15-08 Of course, most efficient city is not always the best city. Aesthetics of cities are also important. Fresco seems to implicitly acknowledge this. There are not many reasons why citieis will become more efficient by arranging facilities in belt form. In fact, there are more reasons why they will become less efficient. Nonetheless, he claims to use belt arrangement because it gives a neat and organized feeling.

15-09 Even the specific buildings he plans to construct are distant from the most efficient form. For instance, one of them is a building with a shape of large globe placed on top of a tripod. This building is the strangest of Fresco's buildings with unclear purposes. Leaving out the beauties, it is clear that such design is inefficient for any purpose.

15-10 When we take beauties into account, his error becomes more evident. There are no objective standards for us to determine the best city, since it differs according to individual preference about beauty and all other things. What we really need is a blueprint for the design that can harmonize conflicting preferences of individuals and satisfy greatest number of people, not the best city abtrarily selected by engineers.

15-11 Fresco does not give any room for individual opinions to influence his urban plan. The best city is already defined by the absolute law of nature. The problem is that such absolute law of nature includes his personal preferences and values. His best city is nothing more than a boring dogma. Why do we have to keep chime with his perverted preference?


15-12 His city, as we have already seen in Appendix A, is also mixed up with unrealistic suggestions. Many facilities like tunnel-type transportation suggested by Jacque Fresco can also be made in market economy, as long as we have sufficient capital. There is no reason why they should be treated differently from power transmission facilities and water or sewage facilities of today.

15-13 The problem is that the capital needed to make construction of such facilities realistic does not exist right now, at least in material sense. Jacque Fresco reversed this condition in his statement again. He says, "There is not enough money to feed or house all people on this planet let alone accomplish these more ambitious ends. But Earth has more than enough resources to meet the needs of all people but only if managed intelligently."

15-14 Now we all know that the opposite of this is correct. Money is already overfull. The US government put money 20 times as much as money in circulation into relief loan. 20 times as many American people would have escaped from starvation if the money was entirely spent on the poor! However, the actual consequence is 21 times as high inflation. There are no 20 times as many goods for them.

15-15 It would be a waste of time to return back to a problem for which discussion is over. Whether it is tunnel-type transportation, waste disposal or enclosed 50-floor farm, none of specific technologies applied in Fresco's cities is incompatible with money or market economy. They will be naturally applied once they become sufficiently realistic. However, there is no doubt that the shape of cities is not so important for all of these things.


15-16 Perhaps it may be true that there are services which cannot be provided unless we design a whole city with top-down method. But if it has that much utility, the city which was designed with top-down method and services it provide themselves would be able to be traded in market. Even Fresco said. "If I design a round city and I gave it away, it'll be a commercial city."

15-17 Of course, you would have to pay to move in the city a week. But in the long term, it's obvious that the competition between entrepreneurs would drop the level of payment until it become equal to the price of resources which are necessary to maintain the city. If it's true that Fresco's cities use resources so effectively that they can eliminate their scarcity completely, competition may even drop the payment until they converge to 0.

15-18 A technology, to be a reason why we have to try planned economy, has to be at least about services which cannot be provided unless we design a whole society with top-down method, not city. Nonetheless, Fresco's every alleged technical solution, except his silly central-planning computer, was not about a nation or a world but about a city. They cannot give any reason for us to accept planned economy. Fresco was actually right when he argued that his city can be commercial, too. We have no interests in his logical inconsistency.