This is just such an awesome idea on so many levels. For one thing, it taps into our early history as a continent-filling, westward-moving inevitability. Useful ideas don't go away; they just change. How would it be if the city of Fort Wayne just bought an empty building downtown and said, "Send us your ideas for using this space, your business plans, your financing proposals, and we'll give the building to the winner"?
It also awakens the romantic dreamer in us. What if we could leave behind all the mundane dreariness in our lives, just pick up and move on? A few of us at work have been playing this game lately. First it was five acres in New Mexico that somebody saw on the Web. She started talking about it, and others jumped in, and before we knew it, we were fantasizing about starting an artists' colony on 15 acres in Utah.
Don't think this ever came up, though:
One of the most common questions she gets from prospective settlers is where the nearest Wal-Mart is located. "Some people are just addicted to Wal-Mart," she said. They drive 50 minutes to Salina to get their fix, or make do with mail order or Internet shopping.