President Donald Trump is now proposing 10 new “Freedom Cities,” of half-a-million to a million people, on federal lands in the West. President Trump proclaims, “These freedom cities will reopen the frontier, reignite American imagination, and give hundreds of thousands of young people and other people, all hardworking families, a new shot at homeownership and, in fact, the American Dream.”
This calls to mind the decisive actions of another great President and nation-builder, Abraham Lincoln. As we know from the building and impact of Abraham Lincoln’s first transcontinental railroad, the point was never to merely connect point A to point B. If, through the development of agricultural and industrial activity, the rail line from A to B becomes an economic multiplier, with a growing density of economic activity along that route, the connection from A to B acts as if a production line, from sea to shining sea. That is exactly what happened along the transcontinental railroad and, at least to a degree, along similar overland rail routes.
Ask yourself, how many of our cities today have been built on what had originally been federal lands? In the case of the “Pacific Railroad” (“Overland Route”) line, it was built by three private companies over public lands provided by extensive federal and state land grants. More than 7,000 cities and towns west of the Missouri began as Pacific Railroad depots and water stops.
But then the western lands were locked up. Now, it behooves us to continue the city-building that our forefathers and nation began.
President Trump has used Washington, DC to indicate the approximate size of his proposed, new Freedom Cities. In a press release, Trump’s campaign asserted that 10 cities the size of Washington, D.C., could be built using less than one-tenth of 1% of the hundreds of millions of acres of “empty” government-owned land. That land would not be taken from U.S. national parks, the campaign said. Setting aside the horror stories about the city of Washington, DC today, Trump’s choice of reference reflects deeper considerations and our nation’s history. Under the personal direction of President George Washington, Washington, DC was planned as a classical city, drawing upon the public architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. The size of the plan dwarfed any other European or American city of the period.
So how can we approach this idea, that is of a new city? Flip the script of the “greenie” 1990s-era, that viewed urbanization as an economic scourge or social calamity; cities can, once again, be long-term engines of economic and cultural growth. Indeed, hundreds of new cities are being built around the world now, particularly in Asia and Africa.
What are the principles that must be applied? First we must determine the purpose of the new city—and new cities—project altogether. Certainly the purpose is to knit our nation together! This is not only a cultural and political objective, but also a profoundly economic objective. Linking South and North as well as East and West, these new American cities will be placed as nodes along already existing “economic development corridors” across our nation. They will also become part of new corridors of development, of necessarily accelerating flows of mining resources, as well as processing and manufacturing of semi-finished and finished goods. They will fill a multitude of requirements, including as higher energy-flux density urban nuclear complexes, creating and utilizing new breakthroughs in materials science and production, and will otherwise be linked to “nuplexes” consisting of new suites of agro-industrial capacities.
Economic development corridors of the Eurasian Land Bridge, proposed by Lyndon LaRouche in the late 1990’s. The Maglev trunk line runs East-West.
From this perspective, the development of advanced and advancing energy potentials, emerges as a driver of scientific and and technological progress—and of advanced manufacturing. The Western federal lands hold enormous resources in uranium and fossil fuels. Already, power is produced here to provide electricity to the West Coast. But with energy produced and available at ever higher flux-densities and available at ever more reasonable physical cost, we have the power and energy potential to produce where we choose to site our new freedom cities.
For our new cities and for our nation, this builds in the requirement of ever increasing levels of skill and technology, the capacity for problem solving, and improving conditions of life for families, including time spent in creative leisure. For example, small modular reactors (SMRs), for on-site mining and industrial manufacturing use and future nuplexes, can be exported out of the region on rail and boat. This is in combination with the modular production of the larger, Generation III+ nuclear reactors of more than one gigawatt capacity. Coal & natural gas for agricultural and industrial feedstocks and other, additional energy uses, will continue to be used and developed. Our freedom cities thus will make a great contribution to our entire nation. They will cost us less than nothing!
So our new cities must be built to be flexible. We can perceive here that a good design for a beautiful city is one which aims to be durable through even a thousand years of technological progress. While actual human spatial requirements have been well known for centuries, and must be applied without penny-pinching, the spatial design of our new city infrastructure and major structures, both below and then above ground, must leave room for installation of such changes within initial structures, and provide ready access thereto.
As physical economist Lyndon LaRouche emphasized, “It adapts so, to terms of increasing of the energy density per per-capita unit of population density. It adapts so, in terms of raising the level of effective energy-flux density per square centimeter cross-section of target-area of work. It adapts so, to related increases in mobility of persons. It adapts so, to the increase of the ratio of time expended in creative leisure, to that required for labor.”
We will increase the mobility of our citizenry, not corral them into “15 minute cities”! We will also break the pattern of suburban sprawl driven by financialization and Wall Street speculation. As the population growth of the city reaches its capacity, in beauty, privacy, and function, a new city can and will be created, sited perhaps on another piece of our federal land, also of a finite physical size but of infinite human potential.
Perhaps you are asking yourself a slightly different but related question: how many of America’s most productive companies and talented people are willing to settle in the middle of nowhere, where it takes hours just to drive to Boise, Denver, or Tuscon? Some say that, “desert wasteland and untouched wilderness are far too remote to attract the critical mass of jobs needed to get people to move somewhere.”
The answer, in significant part, is that people will come to be part of building a great new city! In the process of building these cities, we will simultaneously be training up a new workforce, and promoting new families, all in the very course of building each new city. So, for multiple reasons, building great neighborhoods & housing would be an important part of building our cities from the very start, because they will be the builders! All of this is part of why we are going to a new frontier! Further, that process of creation and building can never again be allowed to stop, and each new city should be so conceived and so dedicated.
Shortly before Christmas in 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture.” Seeking to emphatically overturn the 1950s replacement of classical architecture with modernist designs, enshrined in the 1962 “Guiding Principles,” President Trump reinstated the actual humanist intent of George Washington to revive the spirit of our nation’s founding. “New Federal building designs should, like America’s beloved landmark buildings, uplift and beautify public spaces, inspire the human spirit, ennoble the United States, command respect from the general public, and, as appropriate, respect the architectural heritage of a region,” President Trump’s executive order reads in part. It is important that it now be read widely.
So it is appropriate, as Lyndon LaRouche suggested, that at the heart of each new city must be located the leading scientific, cultural, educational, and religious centers—the densest center of human creative activity. The heart of the new city—its “Sun”–—placed in beautiful park surroundings, would welcome its citizens & families and visitors alike.
New Cities: Knitting Our Country Together
At the conclusion of the June, 2022 LaRouche PAC 40 page survey of the US physical economy, A Third National Bank is Now Indispensable, it states:
We must work to knit our country back together. The networks of small cities, vital towns, railroad, air, and trucking companies services, small and medium manufacturing firms, and family farms have been whittled away by the modern day monetarist empire. A Third National Bank and national credit will free our nation from that globalist system and allow us to initiate the flow of credits back into our economy’s arteries and veins, and so allow us to revive our nation.
We have many smaller existing cities and many, many smaller towns—outside our now-failing megalopolises. They exist all through the Western and Central parts of our country, and they can all be qualitatively and quantitatively expanded, in conjunction with manufacturing, SMR assembly plants, new water projects, mining, and heavy industry. As already discussed, 50% of land in the U.S. western states is now locked up as Federal land. The potentials are enormous.
A cost estimate: $250 billion per city, for a totally new city of 500,000 people. This is measured in terms of resources deployed—human and material. New city development runs as high as up to $1 million per future resident, though more typically estimates run at around $100,000 to $500,000 per resident. But we have many small cities and populations with enormous potential and profound contributions to make. And towns. Let us start there. Let us build up our entire nation again, from sea to shining sea.
Well, President Trump has gone more than one-step better and, of course, he is speaking as the presumed next President of the United States! President Trump has proposed the western portion of our heartland as our new frontier. His proposal must be welcomed and widely promoted, and become the topic of fruitful scientific seminars and broad public conversation. It does not negate, in any way, the enormous potential that resides in our already existing western small cities and towns. Trump’s new Freedom Cites amplifies that potential as well! For they too, are seed-crystals of tomorrow’s large, ever-more-productive and gleaming cities.
When coupled with President Trump’s Artemis project for Moon and Mars colonization and beyond, and the breakthroughs in fusion energy development, we can indeed fire-up the spirit of America!
Recall the following event in our nation’s history. On November 17, 1863, two days before the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order setting the first transcontinental Railroad's eastern terminus at Omaha-Council Bluffs. At the convention where Lincoln had been nominated for the Presidency, the Republican party pledged to stop the spread of slavery, to establish daily mail service, and to build a transcontinental railroad. As Lincoln then signed his executive order in 1863, for him, that railroad was part of the larger Civil War effort to unite the country as never before. But then the West was locked up, following the assassination of Presidents Lincoln and McKinley. That is a longer story. Now it behooves us to continue the city building that our nation had begun.