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Domed city that Minnesota nearly built in the 1960s is now a documentary

The futuristic city was to be built in a forest near Grand Rapids.

A documentary has been made examining the futuristic test city that was nearly built in Minnesota decades ago.

The Experimental City, released last year, is all about the before-its-time city that would've been built in the Swatara Forest in north-central Minnesota, not too far south of Grand Rapids. 

The domed city was the brainchild of Athelstan Spilhaus, the former dean of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology, whose vision was documented perfectly by Smithsonian

"Spilhaus’ vision for this noiseless, fumeless, self-sustaining city included underground infrastructure for transporting and recycling waste; a mass transit system that would slide cars onto tracks, negating the need for a driver; and computer terminals in every home that would connect people to his vision of the Internet—a remarkable prediction, given that computers of the era occupied entire rooms and no one was sending email. Spilhaus envisioned the city holding a population of 250,000 and costing $10 billion 1967 dollars, with 80 percent private funding and 20 percent public."

MXC Films' trailer for the documentary says, it was a "laboratory for urban technology."

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, the project had a full plan in place that would've allowed the test city to study transportation, urban design, telecommunications, climate, education, healthcare, and energy and waste water treatment.

But people who lived around the proposed 75,000 acre area protested, and when in 1973 legislators denied further funding for the project, that was all she wrote. 

Swatara Forest Map

Spilhaus was also known for his Our New Age comic strip that ran in newspapers across the country from 1958-1975. 

According to the Walker Art Center, President John F. Kennedy, in 1962, told Spilhaus: “The only science I ever learned was from your comic strip in the Boston Globe.”

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