Concept of Free Private Cities

Unveiling the Future: Exploring the Concept of Free Private Cities

In recent years, the term “free private cities” has been gaining popularity in political discourse.

But what exactly are free private cities?

Simply put, they are autonomous communities that are governed by an operating private company rather than a traditional government. These cities operate independently from the nation-state in which they are located and function under a sovereign or semi-autonomous local authority. The basic idea behind it is to create a competitive marketplace for government service providers, allowing citizens to choose from a variety of providers rather than being forced to rely on a single government. The operating company responsible for running the city enters into a city-state contract, which allows it to operate with a high degree of autonomy while still adhering to legal and regulatory frameworks. While the idea may seem radical, proponents argue that they offer a viable solution to some of the problems of traditional government, including bureaucratic inefficiencies, a lack of competition, and a lack of accountability. However, critics argue that free private cities pose significant challenges in terms of governance, accountability, and the protection of individual rights.

The idea of living in private cities

Life in private cities, as envisioned by Titus Gebel the author of “Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You”, centers around innovation and entrepreneurship. The operating company and its investors build and operate shopping centers, roads, ports, and other necessary infrastructure, while private insurance or support groups provide healthcare and other services. The desired currency is chosen by the community members, with no regulation on minimum wage. Individuals are expected to take responsibility for themselves. However, this does not mean a lack of concern for the environment or disregard for social issues. In fact, private cities have the potential to implement green technologies and encourage sustainable living. Freedom of expression is highly valued, which creates a vibrant culture of debate and exchange of ideas. With reduced regulations, private cities often have less crime than their publicly governed counterparts. Ultimately, life in private cities requires individuals to rely on themselves while also benefitting from the community support and innovation that comes with this unique form of governance.

However, private cities also face criticism for their potential to further exacerbate social and economic inequality, as they may cater only to those who can afford to live in their exclusive communities. Additionally, private cities may lack the same level of accountability and transparency as publicly governed cities, which could lead to abuse of power and exploitation of residents. Therefore, before considering the establishment of private cities as a solution to issues faced by traditional public governance, it is important to carefully consider their potential benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the effectiveness of private cities will depend on how well they operate company and the citizens will balance individual freedom with community welfare, and whether they can foster inclusive, sustainable development.

Case Study 1: Dubai

Dubai is a remarkable case study of a private city, often cited as the quintessential example of a successful mega-city. It is the most populous and the second-largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai’s history dates back over 3,000 years when it was a small fishing village located on the coast of the Persian Gulf before being transformed into a thriving metropolis through strong investment. The city has an efficient and effective governance system that has enabled it to become a global business hub attracting millions of investors and multinational corporations. Dubai’s law system is based on both Islamic law and English common law, ensuring an investor-friendly atmosphere. The Emirati society enjoys a relatively high standard of living thanks to the reduction of income inequality through social welfare programs. The city is also renowned for its impeccable safety and low crime rates, thanks to the significant investment in security and policing. The development of the city has been underpinned by an unwavering commitment to innovation, infrastructure, and technology which has made Dubai one of the world’s most iconic cities.

Case Study 2: Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is a prime example of a private city that boasts a successful history in terms of innovation and technology. Its origins date back to the 1950s when Stanford University and a few other high-tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard set up bases in the area. Over the years, it has flourished into a thriving hub of venture capitalists and tech startups who have invested millions of dollars in cutting-edge research and development. Governance and law in Silicon Valley are driven by the private sector, with public institutions such as the San Francisco Government having little control over its functioning. This has given the tech giants immense power over the city’s economy, its society, and the kind of environment that they choose to foster. Safety measures are also stringent, with private security firms being employed to protect company assets. The development of the city has been rapid, with hi-tech buildings and state-of-the-art infrastructure being the norm. The success of Silicon Valley owes much to the private sector’s involvement in the city’s growth, marking it as one of the most innovative and economically valuable private cities in the world.


In summary, the private city is a system in which a private company offers residents a place to live together, taking care of everything from public utilities to security. The contract citizens sign states that they will abide by certain rules and regulations to maintain property values and ensure a harmonious community. The private city is often attributed with attracting investment, as the company is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and providing basic services, eliminating the need for government involvement. Some argue that the concept of a private city goes against the principles of democracy, as citizens must place their trust in a corporation rather than their elected officials. However, others see it as an innovative solution to urban development problems and a way to create more efficient and livable communities.

Despite the debate, the private city model continues to grow in popularity around the world.  In summary, the private city is a system in which a private company offers to take care of everything related to living together within a certain location. This system operates under a contract citizen model, where people must sign an agreement with the private company to access the services and infrastructure that the company offers. These private cities have the advantage of maintaining a high level of control and efficiency since they are run by a single entity that oversees everything, from healthcare to security. As such, they can support high property values by creating highly manicured and self-contained communities. The private city system also attracts investment from individuals and institutions, who are attracted to the idea of living in a managed environment with attractive infrastructure. However, critics argue that the creation of private cities carries the risk of creating ghettos for the wealthy that exacerbate social inequality. Therefore, it is important to ensure that these communities are designed in such a way that they contribute to an overall improvement in society’s well-being, as opposed to serving the selfish interests of the few.