Baffler 36: Utopia Parkway


IN THE WANING DAYS OF MARCH 2017, as Donald Trump busied himself taking photo-ops with truckers and dismantling Obama-era environmental protections, a young man named Austen Allred did what young people do these days when they have a thought. He took himself to Twitter.

“I’m just waiting for someone to buy up an entire city in the middle of nowhere and do something interesting,” he mused, tweeting a link to a $65,000 two-bedroom ranch house in Gary, Indiana. “Maybe good place to start is to find the towns that were hit the hardest by automation/factories closing. Turn it into low-cost tech utopia.

What would a yin utopia look like? I dunno but I went to New Harmony, Indiana — by way of Gary — for this piece in the new Baffler that tries to figure it out. (Beautiful illustration accompanying the piece by Mills Brown.)