Trump proposes “Freedom Cities” and challenges state governors to “get rid of ugly buildings”

Half-Baked Urbanity

Trump proposes “Freedom Cities” and challenges state governors to “get rid of ugly buildings”

(Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Former President Donald Trump isn’t a tech guy. He didn’t have a computer in his White House office. He replies to emails with notes written in Sharpie. He once called an iPad “the flat one.”

Despite his lack of familiarity with basic technology, Trump is guns ablaze with new, high-tech ideas to woo voters ahead of his third run for president. One of these is a network of “Freedom Cities”—complete with flying cars a la The Jetsons—to spur a “quantum leap” in U.S. living standards. (Perhaps the former president has moved on from demonizing American cities.)

Trump made the announcement in a short video uploaded to Truth Social, the social networking site he founded after being kicked off Twitter in the wake of the January 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In the video, Trump suggested a city design contest to “reopen the frontier” with up to ten urban developments on federal lands. (The federal government owns about 28 percent of the United States’s land area.) Continuing Trump’s obsession with a large country on the other side of the world, the overarching goal of the “Freedom Cities” plan is to “beat China” by boosting domestic manufacturing capacity.

The cities would design “hundreds of thousands of young people and other people [and] all hard-working families” with ample opportunity to pursue the American Dream via the purchase of affordable vehicles and homes.

The vehicles would take off and land vertically, hoverboard style, for reasons that remain clear only to Trump at this time. While transportation companies like Boeing and Toyota are researching vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) cars for urban air mobility, there are essentially no VTOL vehicles on the market at this time.

Trump also declared a need to lower the cost of living by reducing construction costs for single-family homes, although he provided no details on how that would be accomplished.

Finally, Trump issued a challenge to all fifty state governors: Get rid of ugly buildings. He didn’t specify which buildings would be considered ugly, but his personal taste in architecture and interiors may hold some clues. This isn’t the first time the former president has attempted to dabble in building design, while in office he signed an executive order mandating classical architecture for D.C. federal buildings. The bold legislative move was denounced the American Institute of Architects, and later rescinded by President Joe Biden when he took office.