Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)


Courtesy Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries

Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)
Athelstan Spilhaus & Buckminster Fuller
  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urbanism

The brainchild of Athelstan Spilhaus, Dean of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology, the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC) was a proposed but unbuilt planned community near Swatara, Minnesota. Envisioned as a model city, the MXC was to be an urban experiment, testing new things rather than adopting existing best practices. A city for 250,000 people that occupied more than 60,000 acres, among MXC’s novel features was a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Other innovations included the preservation of wilderness areas, limited car access, monorails, automated highway connections to other towns, and perhaps most radical of all, no schools and instead a philosophy of lifelong learning where everyone is both student and teacher.