Monday, Aug. 7, 1978; p. 5A


by Jack Roberts

Picture a city which resembles a huge starfish lying flat on the ground.

There are no cars. Living space is much too concentrated in this city to waste on cars. Public transportation takes care of that. There are no airplanes either, but trains traveling up to 4,000 miles per hour link the major cities.

Each of the eight points of the starfish house different functions of city life. One entire wing is devoted to medical services, another to government services and so on. Clean industry is above ground. Heavy industry is below.

It is a city in which the temperature remains constant all year. Heat comes from the sun, which heats a
liquid flowing through the basic supports of the city. Cooling is achieved by the Peltier principle of dissimilar wires – heat one end of a wire with sunlight and the other end produces cooling.

Sunshine pervades the city long after the sun goes down. It is bounced across the horizon with optics. Houses in this city are light weight, low cost, and impervious to fire and earthquake, but they have been turned out much like a hen laying eggs

This city of the future is the brainchild of Jacque Fresco, who has been delighting Miamians for more
than 20 years with his dreams.

In the 1960s he was trying to get people to build his city and also take an interest in a three-wheel car he developed which has only 32 parts.

But that dream has passed and Fresco now reveals that for the past three years he and his two lovely artist assistants – Roxanne Meadows and Birgit Lehaye – have been building a model for a $500 million permanent world's fair and trade center for Miami.

"It would never grow old because we would keep changing the exhibits as new technology developed," says the 62-year·old Fresco.

The model will soon be finished and Fresco dreams of getting a government grant to push the project forward. His chances range from slim to poor in my estimation, but then what do I know about the future?

Fresco says the future can be very bright. It can be a time when school children would have to be told to go home because they were so interested in learning.

Life wouldn't necessarily be Utopia because so many tasks performed by man would have been taken over by machines. "There would have to be a lot of retraining to keep in step with the machines," explained Fresco. "And we would have learned how to make people delight in the learning process."

Fresco, who sometimes calls himself "doctor" when hitting the lecture tour, readily admits that his degree in philosophy came from an unaccredited college. And, he adds, he has never gained much recognition from Miami's academic community, which he says is obsessed with how much money a man has rather than his intellect.

"We could have had the housing of tomorrow  years ago," he said, "but builders don't want to provide low-cost housing. They're interested in only high profits. The same goes for cars. Remember the old sewing machines and refrigerators? They kept running. That didn't fit in with business life in the United States."

One of Miami's greatest concerns today is how to renovate the Orange Bowl and pump beer to the upper deck. Fresco has little use for contact sports. "Such sports bring out man's aggressive and hostile nature." Fresco says, "Reading, art, and music promote creativity."

Fresco's city sounds pleasant. Out past the tips of the starfish people would live in high and low-rise structures. They would be up against a greenbelt left for raising food. If you worked in the hospital area, you'd live just beyond that tip of the starfish. And in a Fresco-designed city, all traffic moves in and out of the core. There is no lateral traffic to cause jams.

Your apartment would have a 3-D television set of Fresco's design. "The picture would be so real you would feel you could touch the figures projected into the center of your room," Fresco says.

"Why not build a 3-D TV right now and make a bundle of money?" I asked. Fresco shrugged. I just wasn't with it. Actually, I had enjoyed the visit very much and will be looking forward to his world's fair. We need all the dreamers we can get.