Silicon Valley Billionaires Want To Build Their Own Eco-Friendly City In California — But Critics Smell Tech Bro Takeover

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The ambitious plans for a new city in Solano County, California, have been revealed. The project, backed by some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest, is set to be put to a local vote.

What Happened: Business Insider reported on Thursday that the new city, backed by some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest, is set to be put to a local vote. The company behind the project, California Forever, a subsidiary of Flannery Associates, has been acquiring thousands of acres of land in Solano County for at least five years. The company envisions creating one of the most walkable and sustainable cities in the U.S.

The proposed city will occupy approximately 18,600 acres and have a “development capacity” for up to 160,000 homes and 400,000 residents. This acreage is less than half of the nearly 55,000 acres purchased by Flannery Associates since 2018. The company has also pledged to provide at least 15,000 jobs, allocate $400 million to help Solano County residents with home down payments and reserve a 712-acre open space.

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The company has filed a ballot initiative for its proposal, named the “East Solano Homes, Jobs, and Clean Energy Initiative,” which suggests zoning changes to build the city. Approximately 13,500 signatures are needed to put the initiative on the November ballot.

Why It Matters: The plans for the new city have been met with skepticism and opposition. A New York Times report in August revealed that the project was being funded by Silicon Valley elites, including Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Reid Hoffman. However, the project has faced legal challenges from Solano County landowners, who have accused Flannery Associates of using “strong-arm tactics” to inflate land prices.

Local leaders and residents have also expressed concerns about the affordability of the homes being built. The unveiling of the project’s ambitious plans comes when the tech and real estate sectors face challenges, as seen in the recent dip in US stocks due to rising interest rates.

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