December 12th, 2007 by Benjamin Duranske
Extropia, an ambitious Second Life microgovernment identifying itself as an “independent technocratic city-state,” opened last month. Extropia’s designers hope it stands as an “exemplar of the future we want, today, where technology is used exuberantly in the service of beauty and fun.” Extropia is focused on creativity, offering residents an “exhilarating haven for creative expression – in architecture, social relations, sexuality, artistic and technological media.”
Extropia announced this week that it has sold out all available plots on its “Extropia Core” hub, but that it will be opening a second sim in early February, and is taking reservations for land there now. Retail space in the mall is still available. In the meantime, the board of directors at Extropia is keeping busy. Upcoming events include a party at Al Andalus (another microgovernmental project in Second Life that opened in September) to commemorate the opening of Extropia’s “embassy” there, and a December 22 Solstice celebration.
Given the number of sometimes gorgeous but often repetitive dystopian futuristic builds, Extropia has as refreshingly upbeat feel. Picture Tomorrowland, or Gene Roddenberry’s San Francisco of the future. Extropia management completely embraces the positive future aesthetic, stating that one of the goals for the community is the “execration of extinct ideas and aesthetics, exemplified by consumerism, control and post-apocalyptic nihilism.”
Of course, a certain amount of control is necessary, so Extropia plans to hold elections January 4-6, 2008, for several positions. One role of elected officials is to act as judges in resident disputes. The open positions include:
Nodes: Citizens of each Extropian sim elect a Node. The Node mediates all disputes involving citizens of their sim, and organizes events and activities to build community among sim residents. Elections are held the first weekend of each calendar quarter (January, April, July, October).
Director, Citizen Relations: The Director, Citizen Relations is a voting member of the Board of Directors of Extropia, and is responsible to the Chairperson for the lives, liberty and happiness of all Extropian citizens. The DCR shall plan, organize and execute regular nationwide events, supervise the Nodes, and act as an appellate judge for disputes the Nodes are unable to resolve. Elections are held the first weekend of each calendar quarter (January, April, July, October).
Citizenship (e.g. the ability to buy land) is not automatic. Extropia’s management explains:
We are a community of Second Life residents sharing a common desire to build a positive, beautiful, empowering future for all. Unlike other land options, Extropia is a place where residents are encouraged to work and play together, and to govern their own affairs to the greatest extent possible.
As a result, immigrants to Extropia are required to forge ties with the community before being eligible to purchase land and become Extropian citizens. In return for not permitting resale of land to third parties, the Government of Extropia guarantees full refund of your deposit (less arrears), should you ever desire to leave the community, insuring you from your risk of investment loss.
The core build is attractive, the project is uniquely positioned, and the designers seem to have a good sense for the appropriately small role of microgovernment in Extropia citizens’ lives. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
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