Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 37-43
November 1994


Jacque Fresco is often asked about his dream for a society without ownership, crime, taxes, or health costs.

Can a resource-based economy maintain the incentive of our present monetary system?

The monetary system also breeds the incentive for corruption, graft, and greed. A resource-based economy is not directed toward the shallow goals of wealth, property, and power. New incentives would
encourage people toward different goals: Self-fulfillment and creativity, the elimination of scarcity, the protection of the environment and concern for other human beings. Today financial barriers place enormous limitations on innovation, development and individual creativity.

How will the project manifest

The decision-making process would be based on social and national needs such as housing, medical care, recreation, nutrition, education, etc. Once the direction proposed by The Venus Project is accepted, a survey of what is available in technology, resources and personnel will be directed toward the building of the first experimental city to test the validity of these new social concepts.

How would crime be

Criminal behavior is largely a byproduct of the culture in which we live. By the redesign and modification of the physical and social environment, and of our educational system, constructive patterns of behavior can evolve. The new environment would reinforce constructive human values and behavior and would surpass the need for prisons and the conditions that lead to interpersonal aggression.

Will everyone be the same?

For the first time in human history, with the advent of cybernetics and computer technology, we can plan a social environment worthy of humankind with an increase in knowledge directed toward the fulfillment of one's personal life. The only uniforn1ity that would result from a sane environment would be the courtesy from one human being to another. We consider the monitoring of individual behavior to be socially offensive and counter-productive.

What about freedom of religion?

The concepts presented by The Venus Project are in no way inconsistent with most of the religious
teachings of the world. Perhaps the major difference is that we would like to stop just talking about it and translate these lofty principles into a physical and working reality.

What will the homes be like?

These free-form homes will be constructed of reinforced foam ceramic-like materials with a relatively thin outer shell. The exterior skin acts as a thermocouple which automatically maintains the desired internal temperature. They can be assembled in a few hours and are fireproof, resistant to hurricanes and heavy winds.


by John Guerra

In south-central Florida, near the shores of Lake Okeechobee, a man and his assistant are working on a dream – a world without prisons, money, hunger, or need. There would be no military, and the Pentagon would be staffed not by generals or war planners, but sociologists and specialists in communication bent on bridging differences between nations. How will this all work?

Begin with the buildings, says the dreamer, Jacque Fresco.

"We need to design things for living, we must be able to redesign culture," Fresco said. His city is made of sweeping, domed houses and buildings arranged outward from a city center. Fresco said the building Would use free-form, flowing lines and graceful curves. The cities will be "user-friendly and environmentally sound, that are only free of noise, pollution, crime, poverty, and resource waste."

Dubbed the "Cybernetic City," its design and computerized management would make life beautifully balanced and allow for individual artistic growth for each of its residents.

The domed buildings and people-friendly atmosphere, paired with a world without need, would provide a place where the stress of daily living is virtually nonexistent. freed from spending energy worrying about pollution, taxes, debt, threat of war, suffering and such, people would have the opportunity to grow, participate, learn, study the arts, create music and the like.

It is a d ream built upon the belief that the world's value systems are outmoded and ill-equipped to allow humans to attain anything resembling true happiness.

Called the Venus Project, it entails recreating how humanity lives on earth. The core o f the idea is to change the world 's economy of dollars, pounds, sterling and yen to one where the planet's resources are managed correctly - thus making money obsolete.

Goods and sen·ices, including food, water and irrigation would be distributed fairly and accurately, using computers to measure output and demand. Such a finely tuned supply system would do away with waste.

No waste, plenty for everyone, and money is not needed. Just share the wealth equally. Ask and ye shall receive.

Fresco admits that the main human condition will not be easy to recreate. Indeed, how does one convince corporations, banks, governments and even everyday people to halt in their tracks and give it all up?

"It will not be easy," Fresco said. "If the social conditions that shape human behavior are unaltered, the dominant behavioral patterns will recur. We need to change the social conditions."

Get a working city together, change the social conditions, and the people will follow. Despite the beauty of Fresco's vision, it is based on an ideal that may not exist. It relies on the belief that humans can  being greedy, selfish, petty, and other negative attributes that make up the human personality.

Fresco's world would do away with personal ownership, but only in the "conventional sense." In the resource-based economy, everyone has access to the use of all necessities of life. In other words, share.

Fresco said he began thinking about changing the future at a young age.

"When I was 10 or 11 years old in school in New York City, the teacher asked me to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and l wanted to pledge allegiance to the Earth and everyone on it," Fresco said. "The teacher took me to the principal's office but he was understanding." The principal was so understanding that he questioned the youth about his interests and asked him what kind of profession he wanted to pursue.

"I told him I'm interested in too many things to choose one." The principal took an interest in Fresco, gave him a microscope and encouraged him to keep discovering new things.

When the Depression hit the nation, Fresco's father, an agronomist, was one of the first to lose his job. "The industrialists didn't give a damn," Fresco said. "I began to think, we can do better."

The young Fresco left home and hitch hiked to California, where he eventually found work at an aircraft plant.

Over the years, Fresco said, he has tried to improve the machines of the modern world: He has designed and built automobiles, the air bag, systems for noiseless and pollution-free aircraft, an electrostatic system for the elimination of the sonic boom, prefabricated aluminum houses, medical devices and alternative energy systems.

At the Okeechobee site, Fresco and assistant Roxanne Meadows oversee a design center, phase one of the Venus Project. In addition to some of the domed buildings, the center holds models and illustrations of the cybernetic city and a video that helps the visitor "feel, see and touch the future."

Here's the cybernetic city of the future: Imagine you are walking the streets. Begin by standing at the city's very center.

It is arranged like a wheel, with a central dome at the hub housing the machinery to control electricity, water, food, and other utility distribution. The central dome where you are standing is the city's nerve-center, managing and apportioning  the goods and services. "In the agricultural area of the city, it monitors and maintains the water table and soil chemistry to regulate the planting and harvesting of
crops," Fresco said. "In the residential sector, it will maintain environmental cleanliness and waste recycling. It will maintain a constant inventory between factory and consumer. " All this from the center dome.

As you walk away from the center, along one of the spoke streets, you come across buildings housing libraries, art and science centers, aquariums and other lofty disciplines. After borrowing a book, you walk along the street with your back to the center to get to your house. The next section of the wheel brings you to the "hood": houses, apartments, design center.

Inside the design centers, scientists and technicians are at work improving the operations of the city: agriculture, architecture, landscaping, thermal, wind, solar energy systems, you name it.

Once inside your house, you are safe from nature's fury. The prefabricated domes (erected in about 15 minutes) can withstand extremely high winds, and are resistant to earthquakes, termites, rodents, and fire. Fresco said the homes have limitless potential for design configurations. "We can mold kitchen cabinets, furniture and a great deal of the interior as an integral part of the structure itself."

After reading a few chapters of the book you borrowed from the library, you realize it is time to eat. You exit your house and walk toward the outer part of the wheel to the dining and recreation area. Beyond that in the ring is the residential area with lakes, winding streams and plenty of trees. Then comes the waterway, which circles the city, and the agricultural belt for growing organic foods, and then the outer perimeter of the city with more green space, more trees, more fresh air, and some isolation.

What about public transportation? An artist's conception shows a sleek ship gliding along the waterway, stopping in front of towering housing to drop off or take on passengers. Travel within the city will be by "horizontal, vertical and circular conveyor systems," Fresco says.

This will be supplemented, Fresco says, by a "mag-level train, which slows clown to 100 mph, permitting the passenger section to be lifted and replaced by another unit traveling at the same speed so the train can continue without stopping." A kind of railroad mail hook for humans.

The cybernetic city will be built by cranes, fully automated and directed by satellite to build without human laborers.

A space station will monitor the earth's ecosystem, oceans, transportation, and weather, produce pharmaceutical products, and gravity- free research.

Can this work? Can such a place change human behavior and bring about the kind of peace philosophers and priests have written about for centuries?

A recent study pointed to a connection between violent crime – including domestic abuse, battery, theft and vandalism – and the quality of life of a city's residents. Urban decay, low income, a lack of parks and quality education adds up to despair in a city's residents. Despair leads to desperate acts of crime.

It is clear that our cities need redesigning. They were designed around factories, rail yards, and docks. We are no longer living in a heavy industrial age. Our school bells, chopping our days into hour long segments, were designed to prepare us for the factory whistle.

Those days are gone. We now live in a world of sophisticated computers and fiber optics. Time is not chopped into hours, but seconds. To grasp the torrent of information and communication, perhaps we need to work less, and spend more time picturing, wondering, grasping, breathing - in short, living.

Such a place as the cybernetic city appeals to those of us who are tired of running like bursts of light trying to produce, produce, produce. It should be healthy to have the time to stop and paint a picture, or learn to play the violin.

But human nature is not always positive, nurturing and creative. It also has a darker side: sloth, anger, gluttony, greed, and violence.

Can the politicians, bankers, military industrial complex, industrialists, and the rest of the "governing elite" be convinced to accept such a future?

The pessimists among us would say, forget it. It will never happen. Not only that, we will always need prisons, police, and a military. Someone will always complain, because it is human nature. Someone will always commit crime, because it is human nature.

But Fresco is a rare person, one who refuses to accept the way things are, and who works diligently for a way to stop the madness the world has come to see as normal. He won't give up, nor will he allow skeptics to sway him about his cybernetic city of the future.

"It's not a bunch of buildings and technology, it's not a Brave New World," Fresco said. "It is simply human use for human beings. It does not entail a technical elite, telling other people what to do."

"The military is a stupid business. Add up the cost of wars and you could build a castle for everyone on earth," Fresco said. "We can absolutely afford to build new cities."

Fresco wants to free us from past mistakes, fatal patterns of behavior, and dangerous politics between nations in the nuclear age. He wants us to live quietly in pursuit of truth and pure knowledge, to look at the world from a relaxed seat in a clean environment of plenty.

He may be thinking more clearly than most of us.