We all want to live in the best city in the world. A high standard and quality of living is, after all, a very desirable thing. We have hopes and dreams and aspirations for what an ideal city should be. Magazines even routinely publish their own lists of the best cities in the world, so we can all have an idea of just what a great city should constitute. With that in mind, the following constitutes the ultimate model city. The model city is small, as larger cities have larger problems like pollution and crime.
Yet it is not so small as to have nothing to offer its residents. The model city covers ten square miles or less and has a population of between 5,000 and 10,000. That makes it large enough to attract certain amenities and small enough that it maintains its “hometown” feel and charm; it is also small enough that most of the residents will have the opportunity to know each other. The model city is a direct democracy. Its citizens all have a direct say in what goes on in the town, thus giving them a true feeling of ownership of the town.
The direct democracy is facilitated through regularly scheduled monthly town meetings (with an option to have extra meetings in cases or emergencies or extremely important and urgent topics). Town members can go to the meetings personally or appoint a proxy to vote in their place on issues. The town meetings are run by a town chairman, whose main function is organizing, holding, and acting as facilitator at town meetings. This chairman is elected by secret ballot by town citizens once a year to a year-long term with no term limits. Any issue that comes before the town is voted on in town meetings.
For certain functions that would require too frequent voting to be practicable, the town elects every other year to terms of two years with no term limits, committee members to oversee functions such as roads and parks, etc. The town has its own Constitution. It is a document drawn up at the founding of the town and amended throughout the years by town citizens as times and needs change. It lays out the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen of the town.
The town Constitution gives each citizen all of their basic freedoms found in the U. S. Constitution, plus describes the organization of their system of direct democratic government. The Constitution also guarantees non-discrimination in the town in all areas of town life. This non-discrimination policy extends to all races, genders, nationalities, and sexual orientations (and just to make sure the policy is followed, there is a committee of Equal Opportunity volunteers to look into allegations of discrimination and then report back to the town for votes on resolution). The town Constitution is displayed at the town hall for all to see.
The town has all of the basic necessities one would need in a town. These necessities include a fire department, a hospital, an elementary/middle school (grades K through 8) and a high school, a water department, an ambulance, a train station and a bus station. The town also has electric and phone service, is within range for cell phone service, and has cable and high speed internet capabilities. The water and fire departments are run by volunteer committees whose terms are for two years, when they can re-volunteer or allow others to do so.
There is no police department per se, but there is a volunteer citizens patrol, unarmed but with the power to make citizens’ arrests, and these volunteers take shifts patrolling the streets either on foot or in their cars. These patrol volunteers have terms of one year, renewable at will. All volunteers on all committees and departments, as well as all people in elected positions, can be removed by for cause by vote of the town. The town has an extensive system of parks and open spaces where children, families, and pet-owners can go.
These parks are landscaped, well-kept, and rely heavily on natural influences, meaning there are many trails, trees, and streams. Some parks have playground equipment, some have sports equipment, others do not. Each park has a theme, and attracts people who want to indulge in that theme (dog-walking, Frisbee, nature observation, etc. ). The town also has attracted several different ethnic restaurants, giving the town a variety of food from which to choose. The town has Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, French, Greek, Italian, and vegetarian restaurants available.
There is also a thriving community theater, which actively encourages community participants in its productions, and which has its own playhouse. For those who prefer the silver screen to the stage, there is a 4-screen movie theater. There are also three dance clubs in town, a contemporary club for the young adults, a ballroom/swing club for seniors, a line-dancing/karaoke club for families, and a club just for teenagers. The town also has several thriving civic organizations, including the Lions, Kiwanis, Daughters of the American Revolution, and a Garden club, to name a few.
In addition, there is always some sort of program or production going on at the elementary/middle school and high school, including sporting events with neighboring towns. There is always plenty to do and plenty to get involved with in the town. The residents do not lack for recreation. The town is very environmentally conscious. It has a curbside recycling program that picks up any sort of recyclable material and provides residents with color-coded bins for dividing recyclables. The town makes sure its water is not fluoridated and has a complex filtration system to make sure the water is pure.
All wires and cables are buried rather than on poles. Steps are taken through an environmental protection committee run by a committee of volunteers of those with knowledge in the field to make sure that any unavoidable pollution, such as through sanitation systems, has the minimal possible impact on the environment. None of the businesses in town is allowed to have any toxic emissions. Firearms are not allowed to be discharged within town limits, thus eliminating the needless killing of animals and resultant disruption of the ecological balance within the town.
The town, as a result, has some of the cleanest air and water in the nation and has attracted many natural and health foods stores. In the area of business and industry, most of the people who live in the town also work in it. The small area of the town has the added benefit of making it quick and easy to get to work, and carpooling and biking is encouraged through company car pool incentive programs and well-kept bike paths within the city. Most of the businesses in the town are locally owned and operated.
The town places a high value on independently owned stores, and has more than once successfully voted down proposals from big chains like Wal-Mart and Target to build there. The schools in town employ many town residents, as do the restaurants and grocery stores, the movie theater, and a wide array of specialty retail shops. The town is also home to several banks, bookstores, attorneys’ offices, salons/day spas, and even has a few family-run farms on the outskirts that employ some residents.
The town itself is an employer of those who work on sanitation crews and recycling trucks and at the public library. There are not any big companies or corporations in the town, as that would detract from the local, small-town atmosphere and may lead to an increase in pollution and could attract undesirable companies to the town. However, the town has enough local businesses and town departments to employ nearly everyone who needs employment. The town does levy a property tax and a school tax in order to create revenue for things it needs.
However, these taxes were voted on by the town members, and every five years, the taxes are re-evaluated at town meetings in order to determine if they should continue, and if so, if they should be increased, decreased, or remain the same. A town treasurer is elected every two years to handle the money from these revenues, to create a town budget that is then voted on by the townspeople for approval, and to make sure all the money goes to the appropriate places.
The town treasurer is allotted two volunteers to assist him or her in his or her duties, and these volunteers are selected at the times the town treasurer elections are held. The town is also home to a chapter of the Red Cross, and many people in the town are volunteers, and have learned how to be prepared for and handle disasters. These townspeople regularly give lectures and hold classes for other townspeople pertaining to these things, including giving a regularly scheduled adult and child CPR class and organizing and holding blood drives.
If a natural disaster were to occur in the town, the citizens would be prepared and know what to do. The town is not built in an area prone to earthquakes or floods, and there are no volcanoes nearby, so the chances of these disasters happening are remote. However, the chance of a violent storm, tornado, or blizzard is a possibility, and the residents are well-prepared for these events. The town also has 911 service for their local fire trucks and ambulances, and a connection at the town hall to the Federal Emergency Management System in case of larger emergencies. So far, this connection has not had to be used.
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