Can you imagine a sovereign (micro) nation powered entirely by eco-friendly energy sources, car free and completely self-sustainable? Well, there are people who can – because this is the vision of Liberaland, the world’s latest micronation. It’s “government” (basically one man -Vit Jedlicka, founder, and president) held an open competition looking for an architectural design with these goals in mind. The winning design was announced on May 20th and it is both radical and inventive. But, can it work?
What is Liberland?
This three square mile country was founded in 2015 by Czech libertarian politician Vit Jedlicka. The land is located between Serbia and Croatia, on the no man’s land on the west bank of the Danube River. It’s not recognized by any other country and more than 400.000 people have applied for citizenship (anyone except communist, Nazis, and another extremist can apply).
Competition guidelines asked for “radically creative, yet mature proposals for a fertile, high-density city-nation of the 21st century.” The winning proposal was submitted by RAW-NYC an interdisciplinary architecture studio from New York.
The proposal is algae-powered, self-sustained cityscape in which horizontal layers can be added on top of existing ones when the population grows. President Jedlicka told the press that he and his team are studying the feasibility of the proposal. Options such as PACE (property assessed clean energy) have proven to be useful in funding renewable energy initiatives in the US. Whether this can be done for a libertarian government such as Liberalnd remains to be seen.
What would Liberland look like?
The country would be pedestrian friendly and made of stackable horizontal structures. This innovative technique is called Inverted Archeology and it uses self-sufficient, compact, dense, integrated and resilient urban fabric. Algae (special strains which don’t require a lot of sunlight to grow) would be placed on the underside of buildings to give a clean energy source.
Each layer would leave more open and unbuilt space than the one below, so the natural light can penetrate all the way to the ground. Parks on the lowest level should be made to survive flooding, because there is a risk of floods, with the country being created so close to the Danube.
There would be absolutely no cars in Liberland, just more public transit line and connected walking and biking paths.
All human, agricultural and organic waste will also be put to good use by being converted to bio-fuel. Buildings should also be equipped with photovoltaic and solar panels. All rainwater will, of course, be collected and used to grow food.
The winning team
The RAW-NYC team is an interdisciplinary team of collaborators from around the world. It has worked on both large and small-scale projects ranging from a restaurant in Syria to sports complex in Qatar. Team leader Raya Ani said that design guidelines were a perfect match for their unique team. The main goal was to approach population density in a way that’s different from old-fashioned skyscrapers. This vision of high population density and self-sufficiency mustn’t come at the cost of life quality for the citizens of Liberland.
Liberland’s main diplomatic obstacle is to achieve recognition (first from the neighboring countries and then from the rest of the world and international institutions). So far the support has come from other self-proclaimed micronations like Kingdom of North Sudan and The Principality of Sealand. Libertarian parties from Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Poland have also issued statements in support of Liberland. In the same time, Liberland is opening representative offices around the world to promote its vision of self-sustained government based on free association.
There is a chance that green design competition actually could be the best way to promote a newly founded nation. President Jedlicka has announced the creation of 3 models of the project to attract investors and to present Liberland to the world, as an innovative and daring community he envisioned.
Liberland has made headlines once again, first, it did just by being founded. Its co-friendly design competition and an overwhelming response to it – coming from the world’s most inventive architecture mind may be more than a solution for this specific country. Problems of overpopulation and difficulty of urban living condition go far beyond Liberland. Maybe, there is a lesson here for recognized sovereign countries.