Note: The term “city” is not referring to a completely urban environment with 5000 or more inhabitants but, rather, a specific area of land that encompasses people and has been legally incorporated as a city/village/township within its state of residence. All city-planning costs are done in the USD (United States Dollar) and prices are guesstimated based on prices in the United States. I’ll recap everything at the end.
I’ve heard many people before say that they’re upset their city or area lacks a large Pagan population. Many have people have called for a city that would have a majority Pagan population, and none have gone to action, and some of the most common reasons for not going to action has been “Where would we even start?”
I say that we should start with an understanding of what goes into making a city. A city’s basic components are: land, residences (with people!), a city hall, an education system, roads, a place to buy food, and a doctor. I have some extra requirements which we’ll get to piece by piece.
So you would first need land. The best thing you could do is to buy 40-50 acres of land with at least part of it being significantly arable. The state and county you pick should have a mild/temperate climate so it won’t be hard to farm, as having farmland will help your city and its residents be at least partially self-sustaining. You should also avoid earthquake-prone areas and tornado valley. The cost of the land will probably be between $80,000 and $100,000.
You’ll need to do whatever legal mumbo-jumbo is required so that you can resell parts of the land you just bought. You’ll want to decide how you want your city laid out and if you have someone you know who knows how to do urban planning, you could have them help you out with this. You’ll need to go to your bought land and mark somehow where one lot begins and another ends. The best thing you could do is to break the lots into 1/10th of an acre slices, also know as approximately 4000 square feet (we’ll call these Residential Lots). By doing this, you will have anywhere between 10 and 40 people living on an acre. Assuming you paid $100,000 for 50 acres, you should intend to sell 20 acres with each lot for approximately $800. Not $800,000. $800.
Your brain broke? Unbreak it for a moment. 20 acres is 200 residential lots. 200 residential lots at $800 each is $160,000. That’s $60,000 left over to pay for various things, which you’ll be needing. Mind you, selling 20 acres of residential lots means that you will now have 200 to 800 people now living in that area. And hopefully some of them know how to farm, are doctors, want to start businesses, et cetera. But we’ll talk about what sort of people you’d want in your city in a little bit.
Next, hopefully you’ve established an area for commercial lots for things like a grocery store and what not. These lots, which we’ll call commercial lots, should be about 1/20th of an acre (2000 sq ft). You’ll want to sell these at about $1,650 a piece and plan to have about 2 acres of commercial lots, saving one lot for your city hall and one lot for a library. This means you should expect to receive $62,700. You’re now at $122,700 “profit”. But if you think you’re keeping this money for yourself, you’re sorely mistaken!
Hopefully you’ve given yourself an acre of land to live on in this city. That’d be a good idea. And perhaps have a home on it.
But before you do that, you should be spending a good amount of money for getting municipal water to your land, along for sewerage piping. That’s going to cost you a pretty penny. How much? I have no idea. But being optimistic, let’s say $500,000. It’s probably like $5,000,000, but I don’t want to crush any hopes or dreams.
People looking to purchase land and build a home can expect to pay between $70,000 and $250,000 depending on how large and extravagant they’re making their home. They can expect to pay, in this case, between $700 and $5000 real estate tax yearly ($60 to $420 monthly). Again, more extravagant homes will cost more.
So you’ve used 23 acres of land out of 50 acres. You have a water system, a sewer system, and between 200 and 800 neighbors. These people are going to need to be fed, and a grocery store or two isn’t going to do it. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll need between 1/40th an acre (1000 sqft) and 1 acre to feed a single person. Assuming you’re providing only vegetables, let’s say that it’s 1/40th an acre. So you’ll need between 5 and 20 acres of land just for farming. We’ll average this at 15 acres, since you may not actually get 800 neighbors. It’ll take between 1 and 5 people to harvest the vegetables from each acre, or 15 to 75 people to harvest all the crops. Give them another 2/3rds of an acre to create a home for themselves. That leaves 11.3 acres of land.
Say that 1/5th of the population are school-age children (between the ages of 5 and 18). That means there are between 40 and 160 people in your city-in-progress are students. You’ll need a school. Assuming you have one classroom for each grade level and your school is K-12, that’s 13 classrooms. If each classroom is 12×12, you can assign about 1/3rd an acre (14,350 sq ft) to a school and have it all be on the first floor, along with giving it a playground. The school may be partially funded by the state if you become an incorporated city and it’s a public school, or else you’ll have to fund it on your own or with the community, which can cost a good amount of money. How much?… upwards of $1 million. BUT LET’S SAY IT’S FUNDED BY THE STATE so that we don’t lose hope again.
You’re now at 11 acres of land left.
Set aside 3 acres for a “sacred grove”. Set aside another 3 acres for a fruit orchard. You could also set up on the orchard a “bee farm”, so to speak, so you can have local honey as well. This will run you about $40,000 if you can’t find someone to start the orchard and bee farm for you. The bees will produce about 100 pounds of honey per hive, figure you have 3 hives, 300 pounds a year. But the bee farm shouldn’t be started until the orchard’s been started, which will take 5-6 years for it to start bearing fruit.
You’re at 5 acres. What do you do with these five?
Set it aside. One day, when your city has enough money, you’ll be making a Pagan college.
Now, to do all these things, you’ll also need building permits and the like. This would run you about $10,000 for all the permits you’ll need. Figure $100,000 for lawyer’s fees. Another $200,000 to try and have your city become a city.
That’s $1,050,000 to start a city. Optimistically.
What laws and taxes should your city include?
Taxes are evil, yes, we all agree, but they help keep a city going. There should be a real estate tax, an education tax, a business-owner’s tax. There should probably be more that I can’t think of at the moment.
Don’t allow homes or businesses to be bigger than two stories tall. Try to make laws that don’t encourage “big businesses” to come to your town. Yes, you read that right. Why? Because big businesses never care about the people they are selling their goods to.
Make laws regulating the prices of things so that they’re not outlandish. Vegetables and fruits locally grown should cost significantly less than ones made in other cities. Meat will not be locally grown, and most likely, neither will milk or eggs unless someone who owns a home has decided to build a chicken coop or something. Locally made products should always cost less than goods imported from other cities.
Laws should exist restricting the sales of tobacco or prohibiting them completely.
Encourage using solar energy. Avoid wind turbines because they are potentially disruptive to the environment.
Encourage walking and biking instead of cars. This will allow people to remain healthy while cutting down on the green house gas emissions from your city. It will help your people not go broke too quickly, as well.
How much will someone expect to pay monthly in your city?
Assuming they don’t have a mortgage, the ideal would be for them not need to pay more than $840 a month for your taxes, food, so on and so forth. This means someone working full time minimum wage ($7.25/hr) would be able to live in the city without going broke. They wouldn’t be living outside their means, but they’d be eating healthy, their children would be in school, they wouldn’t be near foreclosure, so on and so forth.
What sort of careers would you want people who move into your city to have ?
- A few doctors (three to eight)
- A few pharmacists
- People who know how to farm
- A few vets
- An architect or two
- Teachers (thirteen)
- Professors (for the college if/when it’s built)
- A few lawyers
- Two to four plumbers
- Two to four electricians
- Five to seven accountants
What sort of businesses would you want in your city?
- Two to three grocery stores
- A farm
- An orchard
- A bee farm
- Two to four doctor’s offices
- A city hall
- Arts school (non-accredited)
Cost to start the city
Upwards of $1,050,000
Cost to build a home in the city
$70,000 and up
Cost to live comfortably in the city, monthly, per household
I’d list the sites I used to come to these numbers, but they’re numerous. Think you have better estimates? Write them on your blog and link me to them! Also, I don’t know the laws on how to get your city incorporated, but I do know there are cities as small as 1 person, but some cities have been rejected despite have 5,000 people. Yes, I’m sure there are issues with these estimates, but at least there is now SOME FORM of estimate out there instead of none at all. And remember, what makes this a Pagan city would be the Pagans who live in it – you’d have to network to find people who are Pagan to move in and buy in those areas!