Free communities are attempts to establish places in this world with more freedom. They search to enable a “live and let live” attitude and as much personal and economic liberties as possible in their respective political environment.

Free communities are intended first and foremost for their residents. Freer places designed for companies and industries, like special economic zones, are only covered here if they have special institutions that secure the freedoms of individual residents as well.

Próspera

Type Prosperity Zone
Autonomy Grade 7
Location Honduras, Roatan Island
Project Operator Honduras Próspera Inc.
Founder(s) Erick A. Brimen
Founded 2017
Area 22 ha
Financing Private investors
Stage First real estate projects being built, e-residency available
Website https://próspera.hn

Próspera is one of the most advanced ZEDE (Zone for Employment and Economic Development) projects in Honduras. It is financed by various high-profile investors and venture capital firms and has important partnerships with companies like Ernst & Young and Zaha Hadid Architects.

While another advanced project—Morazán—is targeted primarily at working-class and middle-class citizens of Honduras, Próspera aims to become a hub for entrepreneurship and business, creating new opportunities and ideas that will have a positive impact not only on Honduras but also internationally. To achieve this, the project follows a common law legal framework that brings familiar and flexible regulations, low taxation, and assures environmental protection.

Individuals who wish to become physical residents of Próspera will need to sign the city’s social contract and pay a fee of 260 USD (for Hondurans) or 1.300 USD (for foreigners). Besides physical residency, Próspera also offers e-residency status which enables one to set up Próspera-based businesses and operate them remotely. Such businesses can benefit from Próspera’s low-tax and flexible-regulation framework. The digital platform e-Próspera has been developed by the experts behind the world’s first and longest-running e-residency program in Estonia.

 

Legal Status

Próspera is founded on the basis of the ZEDE law, which provides for a certain degree of fiscal and regulatory autonomy. In exchange for partial autonomy, 12% of the taxes collected in Próspera go to the Honduran government. Próspera remains bound by the Honduran constitution and its criminal law code.

The ZEDE law was repealed by the Honduran National Congress in April 2022. While this means that no new ZEDEs can be established, the existing ZEDEs, including Próspera, will continue to be operational for the foreseeable future. Despite the repeal, the legal position of Próspera should reportedly remain unchanged for the next 50 years.

Businesses in Próspera can choose the regulatory regime they would like to comply with out of a list of selected developed countries or Honduras. Alternatively, they can operate under their own set of regulations; however, all businesses must have liability insurance and acquiring coverage for operations under customized regulations might become expensive. Such an option exposes one’s business to tripled liability for damages.

Próspera has attracted the attention of a number of diplomats wishing to establish possible business relations. Representatives of the UK and Germany visited Próspera in 2021 to assess and explore possible opportunities.

 

Current Situation as of April 2022

Próspera e–residency platform ePróspera is fully operational and individuals can use it to start and operate Próspera-based companies.

It is possible to invest in Próspera through crypto securities made possible by a partnership with Securitize.

A job fair was held in spring 2022 at multiple locations in Honduras to raise awareness of the upcoming employment opportunities in Próspera. More than a thousand local applicants have reportedly submitted their resumés to work at Próspera.

The Build Próspera Summit took place in April 2022 in Roatán, which was attended by representatives of a number of high-profile firms such as BCG, UNICEF and Facebook.

A “Beta Building” was built in Próspera and now operates mainly as a hostel and co-working space. The first residential building to be constructed in Próspera, Duna Residences, has already pre-sold half of its units. It will include 80 apartments and, construction having started in October 2021, it is expected to be finished in October 2022. A woodworking factory located in Próspera is also being built. Zaha Hadid Architects-designed residential project called Beyabu is also expected to break ground soon, with the first units becoming available in 2023.

Seshat Bank, the first Próspera-based bank, is expected to launch in May 2022.

Próspera has announced plans for the Roatán International Financial Center (RIFC), a jurisdiction that aims to enable expansive financial services without the burden of outdated regulatory difficulties while complying with global KYC/AML standards.

The Próspera jurisdiction has been increasing its land area through land purchases and by existing landowners voluntarily incorporating their properties into the jurisdiction of Próspera.

Liberstad

Type Organized Settlement
Autonomy Grade 2 (target: 8+)
Location Norway, Vest Agder
Project Operator Liberstad Drift AS
Founder(s) John Holmesland & Sondre Bjellås
Founded 2017
Area 147 ha
Financing Mostly membership fees, donations & plot reservations
Stage Very early stages of construction
Website www.liberstad.com

Liberstad describes itself as a private resort and membership community for voluntaryists, ancaps, libertarians and other freedom-loving people who adhere to the non-aggression principle. The long-term goal is to create an autonomous private city that is owned and operated exclusively by private individuals and organizations.

Liberstad consists of 147 ha of land divided into two separate parcels. An agreement to buy land and unify both parcels have been negotiated. The area is subdivided into four different districts: the central district (for restaurants, shops, and administration buildings), the tourist district (ie. for festivals, camping, a.o,), the housing district, and the nature and recreational district. Liberstad aims to host festivals (e.g. Freedom Festival) and other events to become a hub for liberty-loving individuals.

 

Legal Status 

Liberstad exists as an entity called Liberstad Membership Organization (LMO) registered in Norway. Those who wish to participate in the project or visit Liberstad become members by signing a membership agreement and paying a yearly membership fee.

Liberstad seems to feature a local informal mini-economy that takes place only between LMO members. This market is supposedly not taxed by Norway, though it is not clear what legal basis such an arrangement is founded upon. Trade with any outsiders or visitors is reportedly taxed as usual.

Because areas zoned as “housing” in Norway require the owner to live there permanently, Liberstad aims to be established as a “cabin-town”, as cabin areas do not require permanent residence. Despite having the aim of becoming a future private city, there have been no negotiations with or concessions from Norway’s government. Therefore, Norway’s law still fully applies in Liberstad. All legal matters like immigration have to go through Norway’s official procedures.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

The project started in 2017 and is financed mostly by its landowners, LMO members and various donations. As of late 2021, construction projects on the site only included two full-time and three part-time workers. A camping resort, which is not yet open for the public, is being planned.

In total there are 5 ha of land available for reservation – the minimum per reservation being 1.000m and the maximum 5.000m2. It is expected that the sectioning and development of the land will start around 2023 – this might be delayed due to the fallout from the pandemic. 

The project has established its own blockchain platform and currency (City Chain) in order to develop its “City Smart Platform”. This cryptocurrency is needed for the reservation of plots (no other alternatives are accepted). In October 2021, the price per 1.000m2 of land was 150.000 CITY (ca. 16.000 USD). For the reservation it is needed to pay a third of the price upfront, after the full payment a purchasing contract and a private deed will be issued by Liberstad Drift AS. Cancellations and a full refund are possible at any time. Once further development initiates, 3-4 different cabin models ranging from 25.000 USD to 100.000 USD can be built within 12 to 18 months.

Morazán City

Type Prosperity Zone
Autonomy Grade 7
Location Honduras, Choloma, San Pedro Sula
Project Operator Overseas Real Estate LLC
Founder(s) Massimo Mazzone & Guillermo Aguilar
Founded 2020
Area 24 ha
Financing Private investors, tenant rents
Stage First units built and first tenants have moved in
Website https://www.Morazán.city

Morazán City is a Honduran ZEDE (Zone for Economic Development and Employment) on the outskirts of Choloma, the third-largest city in Honduras. At its current extent, the city is projected to house ca. 10.000 residents. However, ZEDEs can acquire new land and Morazán is planned out with possible future growth in mind. 

Morazán aims to become a proper city with all the associated amenities. Besides housing zones, Morazán will also provide commercial spaces, parks, churches, and schools. A flexible industrial zone is also being planned within the city. Around three thousand jobs are expected to be created in Morazán. Unlike the most prominent ZEDE project—Próspera—Morazán markets itself as a blue-collar ZEDE, targeting middle- and working-class individuals. Properties in Morazán are not for sale—all of them are being rented out instead.

Morazán has a comprehensive urban master plan fitted for specific Honduran circumstances but based on the highest international standards. Honduras suffers from poor rule of law, limited access to justice and serious infrastructure problems. Hondurans often have to live in constant fear of violence and insecurity. In light of these shortcomings, Morazán City aims to provide Hondurans with an alternative to achieve a better and more prosperous life. The city will combine the autonomy of modern special governance zones with the trade preferences of an industrial export-processing zone (EPZ). This will enable lower taxes, simplified bureaucracy and higher competitiveness compared to the rest of Honduras.

 

Legal Status

Having ZEDE status, the city enjoys a certain degree of fiscal and regulatory autonomy. The only existing tax is an income tax of 5% on earnings. Of the taxes collected in Morazán, 12% are paid to the Honduran state. Goods entering Morazán do not need to pay tariffs, but goods produced within the city and sold in Honduras need to pay tariffs just like any other imported product.

Morazán has adopted a simplified version of the Honduran Civil Code, future minor laws and regulations can be implemented after the approval of the Comisión para la Adopción de las Mejores Prácticas (CAMP), the entity supervising all the ZEDEs in Honduras. Nevertheless, the city remains an integral part of Honduras, the Honduran constitution, international treaties, and Honduran criminal law will apply to Morazán.

The ZEDE law was repealed by the Honduran National Congress in April 2022. While this means that no new ZEDEs can be established, the existing ZEDEs, including Morazán, will continue to be operational for the foreseeable future. Despite the repeal, the legal position of Morazán should reportedly remain unchanged for the next 50 years.

In Morazán, the highest authority is the ‘Technical Secretary’. This position resembles the combination of a mayor and a municipal council in regular cities. In the first stages of the project, the Technical Secretary is nominated by the developer and ratified by the CAMP. Later, residents will be able to vote. Anyone wishing to become the Technical Secretary must be Honduran by birth.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

Construction in Morazán is underway, with some early parts of the city already completed. Morazán has several residents but growth has slowed in recent months because of political complications. Since late 2021, Morazán has been facing, together with Honduran ZEDEs in general, an immense volume of PR attacks and disinformation campaigns, resulting in decreased attractiveness of the city to potential partners. According to an official update from April 2022, some “prospective industrial tenants canceled or postponed their plans to bring their businesses (and jobs) to Ciudad Morazán.”

64 residential homes are completed or near completion, but further building has been delayed due to the aforementioned political uncertainty. Without industrial tenants, the developer is unsure how many prospective residents will be willing to move.

Frenly Park

Type Organized Settlement
Autonomy Grade 2
Location Canada, Saskatchewan
Project Operator Frenly Solutions Inc.
Founder(s) Gabriel Schaere
Founded 2021
Area 9.3 ha
Financing Membership (de-facto land) sales
Stage Early development
Website https://frenlypark.com

Frenly Park is (for the moment) a country club in Saskatchewan, Canada. The long-term plan is to create many such clubs across the world and offer a joint membership in them, allowing members to trade de-facto ownership of land at one location for land at another location, bypassing legal complications with buying land directly through state property registries. 

In order to avoid bureaucratic hurdles, members do not directly buy land, but instead, they buy a membership in the club. The amount the members choose to pay for their membership determines the number of square feet that they can claim at the country club for exclusive use – CA$1 per square foot. Members will be able to sell or buy more land through the purchases or sale of their membership shares. Since the club only sells memberships and all the land is legally owned by the club, the club will pay property taxes, and these obligations will not be passed onto the individual members.

There will be no membership dues, and Frenly Park will not provide any amenities apart from basic infrastructure (i.e. driveway, front gate, security). With this approach, the operator expects to reduce any unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy. The country club will finance this basic infrastructure through its country house (events and rent of the space).

 

Legal Status

The Saskatchewan country club is owned and operated by Frenly Solutions Inc., a company incorporated in Canada which so far enjoys no special rights or privileges. However, one of the aims of Frenly Park is to provide a common “operating system” for members to trade land and property in a much easier way than via the regular legal process, and to offer this service, the company does not need any special concession by the government.

Since the first club is in Canada, a valid residence permit is required. Hence, for the moment the project is only advertised and recommended for Canadians.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

In the first phase, the goal is to reach 300 members in Saskatchewan. Upon reaching this number, it will be possible for the country club to legally incorporate as a village, which will enable the project to bypass the existing local municipality with regard to building permits, property tax, zoning regulation, and law enforcement department. By being incorporated as a municipality, the club will be able to gain more autonomy without gaining special concessions from the government.

The club is already established and a crowd sale started in 2021. The website is currently undergoing reconstruction.

Atlas Island

Type Full Sovereign (intended)
Autonomy Grade 10 (intended)
Location USA, later international waters
Project Operator Atlas Island Project
Founder(s) William Otey
Founded 2021
Area Modular
Financing Crowdfunding among private investors
Stage Planning and community outreach
Website https://www.atlasisland.org

The Atlas Island project seeks to build a floating community, eventually becoming a fully-fledged seastead that will be settled in international waters and therefore avoid the direct control of any existing world government.

The full development of the project consists of five stages.

  • Stage I is the creation of an online community. At this stage, local clubs that welcome new members interested in the project are formed. 
  • Stage II involves establishing marina communities in which club members start transitioning to living on floating vessels while still remaining close to onshore civilizational amenities. 
  • At Stage III, a harbor community is created, where a protected floating space is located which allows for the development of basic infrastructure on the to-be seastead.
  • Stage IV involves several harbor communities merging together at sea, creating a coastal community. At this stage, floating infrastructure is further tested at a larger scale and an autonomous economy begins to emerge on the seastead.
  • Stage V involves merging the constituent clubs and communities further and moving the seastead to international waters. There, the Atlas Island project will be able to become independent of existing governments to the fullest extent possible, perhaps operating as a patchwork of Free Private Cities on the sea.

At Stage V, the seastead will be designed to remain permanently afloat and harbor the boats of its citizens. The goal is that the micro-nation will expand as more people join it, attracted by low taxes, individual Citizens Contracts and private government, where individuals can leave the seastead at any time and take their vessels, business and homes with them.

 

Legal Status

At first, Atlas Island will be composed of clubs and their members, making no demands or claims of independence.  To comply with maritime law, the project leaders plan to negotiate with flagging registries and adopt a flag of convenience—a flag that will impose only minimal restrictions and convey basic legal rights. Once fully established and operating sustainably on the high seas, Atlas Island will consider striving for full and recognized sovereignty from all other states.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

The project is currently in Stage I, where an online community is being established and expanded.

Terra

Type Intentional Community
Autonomy Grade TBD
Location USA, Texas
Project Operator Build Terra
Founder(s) D’Arcy Young, AJ Johnson & Matt Nick
Founded 2020
Area TBD
Financing TBD
Stage Early stages of planning
Website https://buildterra.city

Build Terra’s goal is to create various “Startup Cities” across the USA – the first project in planning being located in Texas. The exact location is not yet public.

The main drive for the project is the increasing need for strong communities in our modern society. The founders of Build Terra want to create an ecosystem around co-working spaces centered on remote work, digitalization, and a strong sense of community among its inhabitants. The goal is to achieve a modern city that relies 80 percent on “fully sustainable” energy and innovative technologies, especially for transportation and logistics.

FreeSociety

Type Special Administrative Region (intended)
Autonomy Grade TBD
Location TBD
Project Operator Free Society Limited
Founder(s) Olivier Janssens & Roger Ver
Founded 2021
Area TBD
Financing Unknown
Stage Looking for Host States
Website https://www.freesociety.com/

FreeSociety is a project that acknowledges that past attempts to claim full sovereignty for the creation of a country based on Libertarian principles have failed. Trying to claim a contested piece of land (ie. Minerva, Liberland) or creating floating structures on the water (Seasteading) have turned out to be extremely difficult and/or costly. Hence, FreeSociety sees negotiations with an existing government as the best way to gain independence or even sovereignty. 

There are historical examples of countries ceding sovereignty over parts of their territories. A contemporary example of such an arrangement is represented in the current discussions between the Maldives and other nations, in which the Maldives would gain foreign territory to secure land for Maldivians to live in case rising sea levels posed an existential threat to the Maldivian archipelago.

 

Legal Status

FreeSociety aims to establish a contract with a Host State, which would explicitly set out the independent legal status of a piece of land. The project focuses on achieving a strong, contract-based rule of law, relying on private arbitration, competing court systems, and private law enforcement rather than a centralized government structure with a special legal status.

For a piece of land to be considered by FreeSociety, it needs to fulfil various criteria, such as proximity to existing economic powerhouses, stable existing government, a flexible constitution that allows granting independence to parts of the territory, and several others.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

FreeSociety is currently in preliminary talks with governments and report a high interest for their offer. No further details about the negotiations have been made public yet for to maintain confidentiality.

Sark

Type Sympathy Settlement
Autonomy Grade 1
Location UK, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Sark
Project Operator
Founder(s) Swen Lorenz
Founded
Area 5.45 km2
Financing
Stage Running
Website https://www.swen-lorenz.com/move-to-sark/

Sark is part of the Channel Islands in the English Channel, off the coast of Normandy. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and is the smallest independent state in the British Commonwealth. It has its own set of laws and own parliament. Sark has a population of only 500 individuals and can be considered an independent European island.

As a reaction to the falling population, German entrepreneur Swen Lorenz has started a campaign to attract possible new habitants to the island. Sark has no income tax, nor capital gains tax, nor inheritance tax and VAT. The island can be attractive to entrepreneurs that want a less bureaucratic and expensive country to operate their businesses.

Swen Lorenz’ initiative helps interested people assess the opportunity of moving to Sark.

Dubai International Financial Centre

Type Charter City
Autonomy Grade 6
Location UAE, Dubai
Project Operator DIFC Authority
Founder(s) UAE and Dubai governments
Founded 2002
Area 110 ha
Financing Government
Stage Operating
Website https://www.difc.ae/

The DIFC is a small 110-hectare independent jurisdiction with its own civil, corporate, commercial and security laws. The judicial system is based on a Common law framework. Judges are selected from leading common law countries. The Center features an independent Arbitration Center (DIFC-LCIA) that is modeled after the London Court of International Arbitration.

The DIFC boasts a wide array of business-friendly regulations. From the date of incorporation,, businesses carry a 50- year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits. The DIFC allows 100% foreign ownership without the need for a local partner and features an international stock exchange (Nasdaq Dubai).

 

Legal Status

The Dubai emirate and the UAE government made amendments to their constitutions recognizing the special position of the DIFC and its own legal system. The DIFC is allowed to create new regulations and is managed much like a for-profit entity by a CEO.

 

Current Situation as of May 2022

Within 15 years of its establishment, Dubai has risen up the ranks of the Global Financial Centres Index to the 8th position. The number of registered companies in DIFC has grown by 14% each year between 2007 and 2020, and the number of active companies has increased by 25% in one year to 3644 at the end of 2021.. The DIFC is home to a community of over 25 thousand people. The total market value of DIFC activities surpassed $700 billion in 2019.

This directory is work in progress. We need your help to constantly improve it. If you think we should include a new project or exclude one, for example because it’s not existing any longer, or some facts are incorrect, then please contact us.

The criteria and examples for the levels of autonomy reaching from 1 to 10 are described below.

expand

Intentional Communities

 

Level of Autonomy Name Description Example
1 Sympathy Settlement Like-minded people living together Libertarian campground
2 Organized Settlement A community based around explicit rules of living together formulated in a document Homeowners’ association
3 Factual Society A community that includes its own institutions based on common values (security, dispute resolution, schools, etc.) and enjoys some municipal autonomy Amish village

 

Special Economic Zones

 

Level of Autonomy Name Description Example
4 Free Trade Zone A duty-free, export-oriented area Kuwait Free Trade Zone, Export Processing Zones in Brazil
5 Special Economic Zone An area with duties or tax reliefs, and some regulatory concessions (e.g. in labor law) Jebel Ali Free Zone (Dubai), Lodz SEZ (Poland)

 

Autonomous Zones

 

Level of Autonomy Name Description Example
6 Charter City An area with its own comprehensive commercial regulatory framework, administration, and/or commercial dispute resolution Dubai International Financial Centre
7 Prosperity Zone A zone with its own regulation (in nearly all areas) but subject to state approval. The zone includes its own administration, security provider(s), courts, etc. Honduran ZEDEs
8 Special Administrative Region A zone with its own regulation (in nearly all areas) without subject to state approval. The zone includes its own administration, security provider(s), courts, etc. Hong Kong, Macau,

Free Private Cities

 

Sovereign Entities

 

Level of Autonomy Name Description Example
9 Limited Sovereign A sovereign that is limited in its exercise of power by its close dependency on another sovereign Monaco, Isle of Sark, Flagged Seasteads
10 Full Sovereign A sovereign that is not closely dependent on another sovereign Singapore, Floating Cities on the High Seas