Test City

[Image: An otherwise unrelated photo of Playas, New Mexico—a different kind of "test city"—taken by Steve Rowell for CLUI].

A private consulting firm in Washington D.C. is developing a "test city"—one "with no permanent population"—in the New Mexico desert, according to the Albuquerque Journal. It will be "a privately financed, small city on 20 square miles in New Mexico for testing and evaluation of new and emerging technologies," run from afar by Pegasus Global Holdings.

This as yet unnamed location will be devoted to the "'real world' testing of smart grids, renewable energy integration, next-gen wireless, smart grid cyber security and terrorism vulnerability," making it a life-size trial for private sector urban management—Cisco's city-in-a-box and IBM urbanism wrapped in one.

I'm inclined to ask what it might look like if other corporations were to launch their own "test cities" in the desert somewhere—an REI city, complete with artificial whitewater rapids, campfires, and outdoor climbing walls; a Playboy city, complete with unlockable shared doors between neighboring bedrooms; an AMC city, with screens and streetside auditoriums, and massive projectors on cranes like new constellations in the sky.

What if the city you live in is simply an immersive product demonstration for a group of private companies? Or is that what cars did to the American city long ago?

(Thanks to Chris Kannen for the tip!)

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Blogger Ches said...

Sounds like a great way to test methods of population control. Gee, do you think it will contain a reeducation camp? Or is this another attempt at total corporate control of the sheeple.

September 08, 2011 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Manu Fernandez said...

When I read about this, Mike Davis´story about the "german" village of Dugway came to my mind: http://humanscalecities.tumblr.com/post/9958098885/urban-labs-without-people-from-the-german-village-in

A fake city as urban lab for military purposes in II WW, a new fake city -for who knows what purposes- in the XXI century

September 09, 2011 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Jerrodius Thickenbottom said...

dude i totally wanna go!!! how do we find out about getting to go there!

February 18, 2012 6:25 PM  

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