In the 1960s, renowned scientist, inventor, and comic strip author Athelstan Spilhaus sets his sights on solving one of society’s biggest problems: pollution. His answer is a fully-engineered, high-tech Experimental City, designed like a machine for maximum efficiency: a city of 250,000, built from scratch in rural Minnesota in order to avoid the spraw, pollution and baggage of existing cities. Spilhaus finds a champion in Otto Silha, a well-connected newspaper executive with ties to Vice President Humphrey. The Minnesota Experimental City (MXC) receives the support of powerful government officials – over 100 prominent scientists, political insiders and experts of all kinds. With such strong backing, this seemingly improbable dream is on the road to becoming a reality. But the machine malfunctions in the face of protest from a coalition of state conservationists and rural residents, driven by mistrust of the city’s motives and pollution-free claims. Technological optimism and a new environmentalism collide in The Experimental City.

The Experimental City

2017 US 95 min
Festival Year: 2018
Types: Documentary
Topic: Climate Change, Development & Built Environment, Energy & Resources