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Minnesota’s Experimental City That Never Was

May 3, 2018

By Kaomi Goetz | Almanac

Minnesota’s Experimental City was born out of an idea in the late 1960s that one could solve all the problems of 20th century urbanization by relying on science and technology to plan every aspect of growth. It was led by futurist and the University of Minnesota’s then-Dean of the Institute of Technology Athelstan Spilhaus – who was also behind the creation of the skyway system in Minneapolis. A new documentary film from director Chad Freidrichs, The Experimental City has been receiving some national attention and recalls what might have been in the selected village of Swatara, Minnesota – a place you may have never heard of. The reason? Ultimately, the proposed pollution-free, self-sustaining planned domed community was scrapped by legislators in 1973. The film was screened recently in Duluth, Grand Rapids and Winona.

In 2013, Almanac’s David Gillette dug up archival documents at the Legislative Reference Library on Minnesota’s domed city that never was.


Kaomi Goetz is a reporter for Almanac covering Greater Minnesota for TPT Twin Cities PBS. Her work is made possible with support from the Otto Bremer Trust.

© Twin Cities Public Television - 2018. All rights reserved.

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