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Relationship Building, Network Cities, and Leveraging Competitive Advantage with Mark Lutter
Episode 5526th June 2023 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 00:54:04

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Charter Cities Institute Founder and Chairman Mark Lutter returns to the podcast to share his perspective on network states, charter city trends, and more. Mark is also the CEO of Braavos Cities, a charter city development company partnering with local landowners and a leading organizer of Zuzalu, a new pop-up city in Montenegro. Tune in today to hear Mark’s insights on existing network states and why they have either succeeded or failed. You’ll also learn about some of the challenges associated with attracting appropriate talent to cities in order to facilitate growth. Mark shares his experience at Zuzalu and describes the flat hierarchical structure that was made possible there. Using the metaphor of gardening instead of carpentry, Mark illustrates his unique approach to building network cities. Hear how Mark differs from others in the charter city space on the matter of location and his analysis of the global response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As our episode draws to a close, Mark reveals his thoughts on restarting struggling economies, finding buy-in from local government, and more. Thanks for listening!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s episode with CCI Founder and Chairman Mark Lutter. 
  • What Zuzali is and how it came together with reference to Vitalik Buterin and Balaji Srinivasan.
  • Defining the terms ‘pop up city’, ‘pop up village’, and ‘network state’. 
  • How the historical failures of network-type states influence Mark’s feelings.
  • Examining the examples of Israel, Utah, Salt Lake City, and Jonestown.
  • Considering why San Francisco is especially susceptible to cults.
  • Why Mark returned from Montenegro and Zuzalu with optimism for network states.
  • How the internet can behave as a giant sorting mechanism.
  • His predictions for how sorting mechanisms will change in the future.
  • The problem of attracting appropriate talent to cities. 
  • Why Montenegro was the chosen location for Zuzalu. 
  • Building Zuzalu whilst building local relationships.
  • The role of the host government in the success of Zuzalu. 
  • Where the name Zuzalu came from.

  • Flat status hierarchies in network cities and other agglomerates.
  • How they managed to sustain a flat hierarchy at Zuzalu. 
  • What it means to think like a gardener and not a carpenter.
  • What Braavos Cities is and what it aims to do.
  • Where Mark differs from other folks in the charter city space on the matter of location.
  • Two migration patterns to tap into. 
  • The greatest successes of the COVID-19 pandemic and what could have been adopted instead.
  • Distinguishing between Charter Cities Institute and Braavos Cities.
  • Restarting an economy through leveraging comparative advantage.
  • Getting buy-in from local government.
  • Job creation and investment. 
  • The Zanzibar project that Mark is excited about at the moment.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Mark Lutter

Mark Lutter on Twitter

Mark Lutter on Medium

Mark Lutter Email

Braavos Cities


Vitalik Buterin

Balaji Srinivasan

Victoria Harbor Group

Scott Alexander on Instagram

Tyler Cowen on Twitter

Charter Cities Institute

Charter Cities Institute on Facebook

Charter Cities Institute on Twitter




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