Sometimes, Building a City in the Middle of the Desert Doesn't Quite Work

By Chris Mills on at

Most big cities in the world grow over time; a few notable exceptions have sprouted pretty much out of nowhere. But for every Washington D.C, there are also vacant lots in the middle of the desert, waiting for residents who never came.

Tom Scott tells the tale of California City, a 1960s planned development 65 miles away from Death Valley. It was supposed to be a rival to Los Angeles, and to this day, a vast network of legal streets extends out into the middle of nowhere.

But the people never came. Although a few thousand have settled (and there’s always room for more!), it’s really just a small town serving Edwards Air Force Base. It also serves as a stark reminder to would-be industrial planners: a pretty road infrastructure isn’t everything. [YouTube]

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