An AI-Generated Vision of a Silicon Valley Utopia

A proposed plan to build a new city in the Bay Area is light on details and heavy on idyllic renderings.

2 minute read

September 10, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of small community among green agricultural fields and wind turbines in Solano County, Northern California.

A rural community in Solano County, California. | David / Adobe Stock

A newly revealed set of AI-generated (and occasionally impossible) renderings provide a vague vision of a proposed new city backed by tech financing.

But as Kyle Barr points out in Gizmodo, “You don’t have to stray too far into science fiction or comic book tales to find examples of megalomaniacal tech businessmen creating their own ‘utopian’ metropolises, before—inevitably—everything goes to hell.”

The renderings provided by California Forever, the parent company of project developer Flannery Associates, “show a sunny green town sitting amid rolling hills, farms, and windmills. The text describes a walkable city with solar farms, open land, and ‘good-paying local jobs.’ The company even says it’s ‘also interested’ in looking at ways to support homeownership using down-payment assistance,” according to an article by Wes Davis in The Verge. But “The website is otherwise pretty light on details about the city itself, with no specifics about a population, its size, or how it will sustain itself.”

Barr’s Gizmodo article adds, “Flannery Associates said it has purchased more than 50,000 acres in eastern Solano County since 2018. Previous reports showed the company spent more than $800 million buying up parcels of farmland in the Bay Area from Fairfield all the way to Rio Vista, though up until now there had been little to no communication from the company about why, and what the hell they planned to build.”

The project would still need approval from local officials and would require a ballot initiative to permit development on land zoned for agriculture.

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