California City: The Near-Ghost Town in the Desert

A massive grid for California City is laid out in the Southern California desert, with just 15,000 residents

PUBLISHED NOV 13, 2023 11:26 P.M.
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Part of the massive grid laid out for California City that never went any further.

Part of the massive grid laid out for California City that never went any further.   Tedder   CC BY-SA 4.0

With the planned building of a new large community or city in Solano County by a group called California Forever, other similar efforts from years past have been popping up in the news.

A notorious one: California City.

SFGate tells the story of California City, which by land is a staggering 118,000 acres, making it the third largest city in the state. For reference, San Francisco totals about 30,000 acres.

That said, California City is largely a cautionary tale, with a massive grid laid out in the Southern California desert that is largely undeveloped. Today, there are just approximately 15,000 residents.

It’s a sprawling read, with lots of photos and backstory.

The story “California’s third largest city is a mostly empty, forgotten dream” was first posted on

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