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Erick Brimen on Próspera and The Birth of the First Charter City in Honduras
Episode 127th September 2020 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 01:37:11

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Today we welcome Erick Brimen, the CEO of Próspera, which is arguably the world's first charter city, off the coast of Honduras on an island called Roatán. Erick is on the podcast to unpack the exciting news about Próspera, the philosophy behind its founding, and the vision for its short-term and long-term future. Our conversation covers a lot of in-depth detail on Próspera, with Erick explaining approaches to governance, reform, cultural integration, common law and so much more! Erick gives us a great introduction to the first of several planned locations for the Próspera project, also unpacking what this expansion could possibly look like in decades to come. We get in the choice of Roatán and the specific opportunities offered by the island, with Erick situating his reasoning within his broader interest in charter cities and economic expansion. Erick also talks about his work before Próspera and the lessons he brought forward from time in the asset management space and working with the government of Arizona. The conversation also covers putting together the right team of people, balancing skills, and preparing for an unknowable set of hurdles. From there, we turn to the legal side of starting a city, and Erick gives an insightful look into the various frameworks that have been put in place for management and legislation. The last part of our chat today is spent thinking about the residential experience of Próspera and the infrastructure, planning, and architecture of the city, with Erick capping off our discussion looking forward to 2050 and where Próspera might be. For all this and a whole lot more, be sure to listen in with us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

•   The philosophy behind the charter city of Próspera and the model they have adopted.

•   Bringing together a built environment and working with government towards the goal of prosperity.

•   The selection of Roatán as Próspera's first location and what set it apart from similar islands.

•   The importance of governance reforms and buy-in; creating security on many levels.

•   How context influences daily decisions and the impact of Honduran history on a new city.

•   The task of starting from scratch with a city; prioritization of funding, governance, and more.

•   Reasons that Roatán stood out from other Honduran locations; beauty, safety, and stability.

•   The Hong Kong to Shenzhen example and the inspiration that Próspera is taking from this model.

•   Erick's personal interest in charter cities and the mission of reducing wealth disparity.

•   The influence of Erick's work experience in asset management, Arizona governance, and beyond. 

•   Building a strong and balanced team, with the right skillsets for unforeseeable challenges.

•   Erick's connection to the image of water; resilience, flexibility, and continued progress.

•   Legal considerations for Próspera and the creation of the Roatán Common Law Code.

•   Putting together a functioning legal system and using different pieces of law.

•   Unpacking the Próspera Arbitration Center and contrasts with typical arbitration services.

•   The role of the Próspera Council and service providers in decision-making.

•   Understanding the Agreement of Co-existence and what this contract stipulates for residents.

•   The process of registering a business in Próspera and the efficiency they are aiming for.

•   Local buy-in and integrating the different sectors with new infrastructure.

•   Practical and lifestyle-facing decisions for Próspera; architecture and environment.

•   The projected economic development plan for Próspera and the disruption of COVID-19.

•   Erick's 30-year vision for Próspera; a network of prosperity hubs with quality and standards.

•   Why is Próspera is good development now? Making use of current opportunities.


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Erick Brimen on Twitter


Babson College

Hugo Chavez

NeWay Capital

Steve Jobs

EYES International

Governor Ducey


Tom Bell

Patrick Friedman

Próspera Arbitration Center

Tristan Monterroso

Zaha Hadid Architects

Charter Cities Institute

Charter Cities Institute on Twitter

Charter Cities Institute on Facebook

Mark Lutter on Twitter