Monday, May 19, 1997; p. 1


by Cindi Brownfield

ORMOND BEACH – It sounds almost like a fantasy: a high-tech society where everyone has everything they need.

But to Jacque Fresco – inventor, architect, engineer, futurist – it is an attainable dream.

"The world I'm talking about is not '1984.' It is not a brave new world. It's a world where science technology is used first to improve human lives,'' Fresco said.

The 81-year-old resident of Venus, southwest of Lake Placid. shared his vision Sunday with about 60 area residents at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Ormond Beach.

Fresco believes the world's current monetary and political systems will break down as automation reduces the need for a workforce. As that happens. the countries of the world will need to work together to use resources to the good of all, he said.

That's where The Venus Project comes in. Fresco and his assistant, Roxanne Meadows, conceive of self-sufficient cities arranged in circular patterns around huge domes outfitted with computers that monitor cities and people around the world.

The large dome at the center of each city would be surrounded by libraries and art, science and cultural centers. Residents would be able to check out not only books, but also musical instruments. bicycles, cameras and microscopes. The circle would also include belts of apartments and houses, recreation areas. watenvays and agricultural fields.

Other "cities'' would be on ocean platforms. Systems for every facet of living would use the latest technology. Decision·making – and therefore government and politics – would be unnecessary because society would be based on science, Fresco said.

Fresco's theory is that if everyone has everything they need there will be no crime, no war, no pover ty. The ultimate goal is to change the social system.

"There's no such thing as utopia. We don't promise perfection, but it's a helluva lot better than the way society operates today," he said.

Fresco and Meadows are developing a prototype of a futuristic city with streamlined, domed homes on 25 acres in Venus, which is south of Lake Placid in Highlands County.

Flagler Beach resident Bob Blume, who attended Fresco's lecture Sunday, is intrigued by the idea. But he wonders if more thought should be given to the human element.

"He certainly has got a handle on the engineering end of it. But I don't think he's thought enough about the decision-making and political ends of it because I don't think we will ever have a society where people don't disagree," Blume said.

Ironically, Fresco's project is going to rely on the capitalistic society to get off the ground. He hopes to build a theme park and produce a major motion picture, called "Welcome to the Future," to fund the first experimental city.