21st Century Cosmopolis:
Constitution for a Better World
A Civilization based on Self-Governing Cities and Townships, Cooperative Self-Governed Workplaces and Public Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy and Universal Access to Citizenship, Income and Subsistence. And how we can start it up now and already have in many places.
Article I – A Civilization based on self-governed cities and townships and universal access to citizenship
1.A – the City and the Township
A city shall be understood to be an urban environment of dense population that identifies itself publicly as a city together with that part of the outlying environment and residence areas required to allow for a minimal relative self-sufficiency in food and natural resources. All the residents of this area shall be citizens of the city. A first priority for the city shall be to connect all of its residential and resource areas by light rail, passable road with electric cars or other such transport as is ecologically sustainable within that city and which its citizens decide to use (such as boats in some watery areas), as well as provision of the appropriate means of communication (common wi-fi connections for all residents for example).
A township shall be understood to be a number of residence areas – villages, hamlets, towns, and so forth that are combined so as to reach the critical mass of population and resources needed to be relatively self-sustaining and to provide the services – such as health care, transportation and education – required for its citizens to achieve their full potential and to meet their needs. Townships will thus be generally of greater territorial size and lower population density but will otherwise function juridically as cities for all other purposes except where the specific issues of rural life, ecology and agriculture or related activities are involved. The same prioritization of linking of all the residence areas of townships by transport and communications that are efficient and ecologically sustainable shall apply to townships as they do to cities. Where appropriate, town meetings shall function in place of the urban neighborhood legislatures and the same process of selecting delegates with specific mandates and where needed township-wide referenda shall apply.
Resources for this project of integration of the territory of the city or township will be available through various means including the city’s own resources and cooperative workplaces, its own local money the creation of which is limited only by its citizens’ own needs and collective decisions, and by the world currency that in the first stages after adoption of this constitution. The availability of this currency, explained in greater detail below, will include extraordinary grants by the neutral planetary currency agency and taking into account the need for poorer regions of the world and cities with fewer resources to quickly reach the worldwide average level of access to technologies such as solar power, wi fi communications, modern light rail and high speed trains and satellite technology, so that they will be easily able to obtain these from those regions that have these in abundance. Further, as described below, graduates will accompany technology transfers as direct forms of grants, spending a required year in cities in the Global South to be sure that these have access and training in the use of these means.
1.B – Universal access to citizenship and self-government of cities by citizens
Every individual human being resident of a city or of a component part of a township for more than 90 days will be a citizen of that city, with all the rights and duties that these entail in that locale.
Everyone will be a citizen of some city or township wherever they live in the world unless they intentionally opt out by living outside all existing city boundaries and declare to public authorities in a nearby city or township their intention to opt out.
By opting out, a person foregoes the rights and duties of a citizen, and access to the resources available in a city will be provided only on the basis determined by that city’s citizens.
Every city will have as its ultimate governing body the legislatures of its neighborhoods, the full resident adult population voting in city-wide referenda or assemblies where feasible, (as determined locally with regard to geographic residency and age but no other basis for exclusion) and implementation of decisions will be carried out by the delegates sent to city-wide assemblies and councils of administration chosen from among these with mandates to enact the decisions taken locally by the residents themselves.
Each city and township will provide at least one day a week in which its citizens, except those providing emergency and life-and-death services, will be free from work so they will be able to attend assemblies, and carry out their citizenship duties. All enterprises – cooperatives and those small-scale private firms permitted in some cases by cities and townships – must remain closed except for those providing necessary life and death services. Those working in such services will be provided alternative means of participating – taking turns or other means as determined by each city and township in negotiation with the cooperative or organization in question.
Upon arrival in a new city or township territory, a person, family or group must inform the city public authority of their presence, so that the 90 day period may be officially counted. Since income for use in the local currency, access to work and other activities and voting and governing rights are based on citizenship which is easily available, there is a strong incentive for everyone to inform the city or township of their presence.
Should persons arrive in a city or township and remain for 90 days without the intention of taking residency and citizenship in that city, they shall announce their intentions to the public authority in that city and shall retain citizenship of the city of permanent residence so long as this accords with the residency and citizenship rules of that city as determined by its citizens. Should this option not be available, the city in which such persons are newly arrived shall provide them with citizenship even if this is not their intention. Except for persons opting out geographically and politically, no person shall remain without a residence and a citizenship status of some city.
Upon reaching adulthood, or as an adult upon having resided more than 90 days every citizen resident shall be enrolled to vote and to having full voting, administrative and other rights and duties of citizens of a city.
There being many cities in the world, therefore cities may, within reason, set some limits for periods of time as to how many new residents may arrive. This number may not under any circumstances be less than 1% of the population of that city as of January 1 of that same year over the period of a calendar year. Should this quota (10,000 new residents per 1 million population, or 10 per 1000) not yet be reached by December 31 of the same year, no restrictions on new arrivals and new citizens will be allowed.
Each city shall build, provide and maintain however a sufficient number of housing units at a high quality standard of safety, health and comfort equal to the total number of households (and of various sizes according to the likely sizes of families, groups or households), plus at least 1% which must be maintained as available for new arrivals.