There have been a bunch of technological (and some policy) changes over the past couple decades that make starting a new town a lot easier:

  • Cheap solar power
  • Cheap battery energy storage
  • The internet replacing phone and TV (you can build internet infrastructure yourself)
  • Online shopping (if you can figure out shipping you can buy everything people in cities can)
  • Homeschooling (which became legal in most states in the 90s)
  • Some level of autonomous cars (they’re here today if you own the roads!)
  • Telecommuting and online marketplaces
  • Online communities make organizing people around a common project easier

Combine that with cost of living going up in cities and you’d expect lots of people to be clubbing together with their friends, buying land in the middle of nowhere and starting new communities. But that basically doesn’t happen. Why?