The Larger Vision

It's more than just buildings...

Is your city a Now City?

Is your city sustainable, resilient, healthy, and happy? If not, why not? The technology and knowledge exists already to make it happen. What’s the hold up?

Dear future Now Citizen,

Hi! Thanks for your curiosity and open-mindedness.

My hope for Now City is that it helps make the world a better place. Quickly. Better not just for humanity, but for the rest of the animals, plants, and ecosystems that share this planet.

We can succeed because we now have many great lessons to learn from, new tools and methods, and an urgent need to try new things where old ways are making things worse instead of better.

The key is to pull together. E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One). Together we can overcome any challenge. There are seven billion people here. If only half of those people each placed one brick end to end those bricks would encircle the planet over 20 times. Instantly. For more than a decade I have been thinking about this potentially exponential power of collective humanity. The connectivity exists right now to enable this power. Hopefully, we can think of something more useful to build than a stupid wall.

And that is the goal of Now City. To imagine and design new ways of building and living in cities, towns, and small communities that are so compelling that a billion people join the effort to reshape how humans do life on earth. And beyond.

Why haven’t we been able to come together yet? 


Our fear of others (scary people or scary animals) is no longer serving us as it evolved to do in the past. Billions have already let it go and live happily together with others.  Those who hold on to the old fear of others are missing out on the fun! And messing up the planet for everyone and everything. Let’s give them a hug and bring them along already.

Part of the residual fear is created by a perceived scarcity of basic needs (food, water, shelter, community) that is caused not by an actual scarcity, but by a failure to manage our resources effectively. I don’t mean to suggest that those who experience real scarcity and suffering are imagining it. Only that there is plenty to go around, even for the ten billion that are predicted to live here by the end of the century. 

I think a shift in values, aided by technology, will displace this old fear. And the reason I think this will actually happen now has to do with digital connectivity, our access to data, and the tools to make sense of that data. We no longer have to convince people to “believe” made up notions about what is good or bad, or force them to obey made-up rules. We can learn and share what works, what factors make people, communities, and ecosystems thrive or fail. 

Even while it may sound impossible for humanity to shift its values at this level, I perceive that the process is already underway and proceeding exponentially. It is another natural evolution, the creation of a global nervous system that we are all part of. This nervous system will enable us to identify global problems and correct them, the way we do with our bodies. 

In my loftiest notions, I envision Now City as a purpose and values driven community, a virtual nation that supersedes borders, with the purpose of designing and building structures, organizations, communities, and systems that align with values that lead to deeper connection with each other and the world around us. Down this path lies the healing of humanity and the planet.

I also would like to see Now City develop an operating system for communities, one that is constantly evolving using the methodologies of design thinking, agile development, and lean manufacturing, and whatever other awesome existing or new stuff actually works for getting stuff done fast and well. Like OKRs. In most cases, existing urban operating systems are like software from 30 years ago, or worse. We can do better!

The places where we live, whether a new purpose-built building or town, or a pre-existing community, can become iterative experiments, aiming to constantly improve the well being of people and the local and global communities of animals, plants and ecosystems.

Anyone, anywhere, can become a Now Citizen and help develop and nurture sustainable and resilient communities and ecosystems across the globe. 

A Now City can share learnings with other Now Cities to make things better, faster (like the Digital 7 are doing).

A Now City can take many forms, and should, because conditions change from place to place.

A Now City can probably exist alongside or on top of existing laws and rules. Most of the time. Almost everywhere.

Now City is where I REALLY want to live. Recycled everything, alternative energy, local food, carbon-neutrality, trafficlessness. Sane policies. Continuous learning. Nature all around. Spaces and systems designed for the well-being of people and other lifeforms.

Existing cities are making progress. New cities are being built. Let’s make them all Now Cities.

It starts with setting some goals and measuring success against those goals.

If Now City sounds good to you, you are already a Now Citizen. Congratulations! Imagine what it will feel like to be among the first when we hit a billion Now Citizens!

If you feel like participating right now, visit the Now City Online community where you can join others in discovering and sharing information that will drive this project. Your creativity and enthusiasm is what will make this happen.

Here is a growing database of resources that you can use to get your own projects going. Please submit things that you feel belong in this database. 

Stay in touch and get updates about how you can participate in this process as Now City evolves.

Thanks for listening and for bringing your creativity and optimism to Now City.

Yours truly,

Erik Gillberg

Founder – Now City

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