Though usually associated more with Middle-earth than Middle England, a plan is afoot to build the fictional city of Minas Tirith from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings – or Peter Jackson's movie depiction of it, anyway – in the UK. Of course, one does not simply build a fantastical city without funds, and the team hopes to raise £1.85 billion (US$2.9 billion) during a 60 day Indiegogo campaign.
According to the Realise Minas Tirith crowdfunding page, the blue-sky scheme was conceived by an ambitious group of architects and engineers who love all things Tolkien and enjoy Jackson's depiction of Minas Tirith. The team, headed by Jonathan Wilson, hopes to create a fully-functioning city somewhere in southern England (two unnamed sites are currently under consideration) that would serve as tourist attraction, and a place to live and work.
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The city would include residential and commercial spaces, and operate with a total budget of £1.85 bn. To break this down, £1.4 bn ($2.1 bn) is earmarked for materials – Black Stone and Mithril doesn't come cheap after all – while £15 m ($23 m) is estimated for land, and £188 m ($290 m) for labor. Whatever's left would be used to run maintenance and public services until 2053.
Available Indiegogo rewards include your name on a monument for a pledge of £15 ($25), and a single night's stay in the city's lodgings for £500 ($780). Permanent residents are also being sought, with a luxury four-bedroom penthouse up for £1,720,000 ($2.7 million). Surprisingly, there's no mention of any plans for Hobbit Hole-based social housing on the crowdfunding page.
Alas, as of writing, the project's fixed-funding chest sits at just £176 ($275) after nine days of the campaign, so unless they can find a sleeping dragon atop a stash of gold, it looks like this one may be destined to remain on the drawing board.