Elon Musk Called to Ask if I’d Design a City of the Future

Last Night, the Craziest Thing Happened

Kristi writes for Medium and Juggling Normal, as well as her own blog. This post first appeared here, and is reproduced in full, with permission.

Superior, Colorado

Follow me on this one, because it’s a windy road.

1 — French Influence

We are obsessed with Escape to the Chateau, a British documentary series that follows Dick and Angel Strawbridge’s story as they buy, renovate, and redecorate a 19th-century French chateau while raising two children. If you think Chip and Joanna Gaines and family live the good life, you’ll fall in love with the Strawbridge’s on Peacock.

We’ve binged every episode and are holding our breath for the new season. One of the great compliments of my life was when my husband said sincerely, “Honey if you had the time, you’d be as creative as Angel Strawbridge.”

Swoon. God, I love this man.

We are planning a French vacation post-covid, and earlier this month, we had a French virtual vacation (stay tuned for those posts on my blog, including downloadables for your family to play along). We are also considering moving to Europe (stay tuned for those posts on Instagram as it unfolds).

While on our virtual vacation, we discovered La Seine à Vélo, a 420-kilometer (or 250-mile) cycling route that follows the Seine River from Paris “to the sea,” passing through the Seine Valley that inspired so many impressionists, with stops in Giverny at Claude Monet’s home and gardens.

We also discovered the Paris plans to transform Champs-Élysées into an urban oasis after the 2024 Olympics. A significant component of the renovation is reducing vehicle traffic. Architect Philippe Chiambaretta and his firm PCA-Stream will see car lanes reclaimed by pedestrian space and greenery. You can find a video rendering of the plan here.

I don’t know if you’ve been, but walking down the Champs-Élysées on New Year’s Eve 2011 was one of the highlights of my life. The energy and shared anticipation were palpable and enchanting and something I’ll never forget.

As you can tell by the video, the famous promenade, long referred to as the “most beautiful avenue in the world,” will be a model for future pedestrian projects.

2 — Money Talks

Are you on Forecast? Facebook’s app is almost like an online betting site, except you aren’t using real money, and it’s crowdsourcing data, not gambling. Instead, you play the odds by making predictions. You spend “points” to “buy shares” in the outcome you think most likely, which have proportional amounts you “win” if you are right. You can also make “a case” by sharing your rationale to influence others.

There are many categories, from politics and news to sports and finances. I don’t know where they are going with it…well, now that I think about it, it’s probably to understand and dive a little deeper into our inner psyches, which seems a bit ill-timed given the current fake news divisiveness. It certainly hasn’t caused the buzz Clubhouse has, but you might give it a try if you’re not on a digital detox.

One of the current “bets” right now is whether or not Elon Musk will become the world’s first trillionaire.

Now, you may know Tesla has a market value of $800 billion, so it kind of seems within reach. Still, a billion means a thousand millions, and a trillion means one million millions, so it’s a staggering chasm.

If that explanation — just more zeros — did nothing for you, I’ve heard it illustrated this way too:

  • One million seconds equal 11 and 1/2 days.
  • One billion seconds equal 31 and 3/4 years.
  • One trillion seconds equal 31,710 years.


3 — Model City

Anyway, when duty calls, I get to work (and when an inevitable trillionaire calls, I leap into action). I designed a city called Superior, Colorado, with a three-part masterplan: a farm community, suburbia, and city center.

The farmettes were little farmhouses surrounded by small plots of land, with animals and gardens. Think $550,000 and up for a family home on 2–3 acre lots, with HOAs and shared resources (like water, energy, and farmer’s markets).

Suburbia looked a lot like a modern Colorado suburbian area looks today, with one enormous change: The streets were built below the homes and yards, so you never saw cars.

In addition, there was a little mini train transportation system, similar to a light rail on a closed-loop, that you could hop on at many corners and zip to other suburban areas in a flash (without cars). Still, there weren’t commercial spaces or mixed-use spaces, only residential buildings.

In the city center, it looked somewhat like Solaris, in Vail. There were tiers with shops, restaurants, and community areas in the front, and the back was multi-dwelling apartments, condos, and residences.

To live in Superior required an application process. To qualify, you needed to be a family with two children or more, and one or both adults had to be in tech or entrepreneurship. Purchasing a residence entitled the family to free access to community healthcare, education, and community amenities (like fitness facilities, co-working spaces, and on-call assistants, such as chefs, VAs, tutors, cleaning services, etc.). Anyone fulfilling those roles was also eligible to reside in the community.

The idea was to minimize the collective carbon-impact by providing virtually everything anyone needed inside the community and take care of the quality of life details so that the businesses and families could thrive.

Anyway, Musk must have liked my plan because as soon as I presented it, he approved it, and suddenly, it was completed, just like that — gotta love trillionaire resources. And with that, I returned home to my fam, my coaching practice, and my dog and went about my day. What a whirlwind! City visionary, architect, idea to execution in a snap, another day in the life of a Super Mom, right?

Then I woke up.

What’s it mean? What’s in a dream?

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