Surface: At Long Last, Burning Man Is Building a Permanent City

At Long Last, Burning Man Is Building a Permanent City
By Ryan Waddoups
March 08, 2021

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic forced Burning Man to cancel its highly anticipated annual event near Black Rock City, Nevada. The festival, which sees more than 70,000 attendees (“burners”) build a temporary city in the sweltering desert and which culminates the burning of a large wooden effigy known as “the Man” in a symbolic act of self-expression, still faces uncertainty this year as questions about in-person gatherings remain. That hasn’t deterred the event’s organizers, who are now planning to build a sustainable city in the desert.

In 2016, Burning Man organizers bought Fly Ranch, a 3,800-acre compound near Black Rock City with the idea of creating a year-round sustainable space. They soon partnered with the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) and launched a global competition for burners to share their own visions for Fly Ranch. Teams were asked to integrate sustainable systems for energy, water, food, shelter, and waste management into what the organizers deem “works of art in the landscape” that support the event’s 2030 sustainability goals.

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