Mark Lutter


Hi, I'm Mark. I think a lot about progress, governance, social dynamics, and new cities. I am the founder and Executive Chairman of the Charter Cities Institute, a nonprofit building the ecosystem for charter cities. I spend most of my time as CEO of Braavos Cities, a charter city development company. I have a PhD in economics from George Mason University and a BS in Math from the University of Maryland, College Park.

I think a lot about progress studies. Some particular places and times are much more impactful than others, ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, the Dutch Golden Age. Creating the right cultural spark and memetic transmission is arguably one of the highest value activities someone can do. Charter cities play a role in that, by attracting talent, and demonstrating better governance mechanisms.

In addition to charter cities, I like to think about broader institution building. One of my roles in the charter cities space is to bring Silicon Valley culture to development institutions and emerging markets. I also sometimes organize events, including a Progress Strategy Summit, the New Governance Track at Zuzalu, and the occasional dinner.  

I live in Washington DC, though I travel frequently. Follow me @MarkLutter on Twitter.

Inspired by Patrick Collison's Fast page, I thought it worthwhile to build a list of examples of social change. One of they key challenges of the 21st century is rebuilding our institutions for the digital age. Examples of past successes of social change can help inform that approach.

Read It Here

Projects I founded the Charter Cities Institute to build the ecosystem for charter cities. The Institute brings together charter cities stakeholders, entrepreneurs, investors, real estate developers, policy experts, and government officials to develop a shared understanding of charter cities and foster relationships which lead to charter cities being built. 

Braavos Cities: The binding constraint to charter cities is now funding and structure, not government buy in. I founded Braavos Cities to work with governments and investors to develop charter cities. We are currently exploring one project in the Caribbean and one in East Africa.

Advisory work: I informally and sometimes formally advise a handful or organizations, including Roots of Progress and Vibecamp. I enjoy working with ambitious, early stage projects centered around spreading ideas and community.

Zuzalu: I organized the New Cities and Network States Track at Zuzalu Montenegro. I organized the New Governance Track at ZuConnect.

Victoria Harbor Group: I am a Strategic Advisor to the Victoria Harbor Group. We work with Hong Kong migrants to the United Kingdom to help them find jobs and acclimate to the new environment. We are also looking for real estate opportunities where Hong Kongers could live together more easily.

New Science: I'm on the Board of Directors of New Science, a nonprofit that is rebuilding institutions and funding mechanisms for science. The goal is to create a an alternative path to academia with different norms and funding models that allow for more low probability, high potential research to be done. If successful, New Science will identify and empower researchers who are limited by existing norms and funding mechanisms, help reform current scientific institutions, and accelerate the development of basic science.

RadicalxChange: I am a former member of the Board of Directors of RadicalxChange, the movement that grew out of Glen Weyl and Eric Posner’s book, Radical Markets. I organized the Activism and Government Track for their inaugural conference in March 2019. I find the RadicalxChange movement exciting as it has brought together a wide variety of people who wouldn’t normally work together. I’m most interested in the Harberger tax as it has the most potential to rethink property rights and improve society.

Charter Cities Readings
This blog is for unfiltered thoughts that don’t directly relate to any project I’m working on, as well as collected older writings of mine in one place.
All Posts

I use speaking opportunities to build the ecosystem for charter cities. If you would like me to speak at your event please contact me at Mark at with a brief description of the event and how it relates to charter cities. 

Podcasts: Neoliberal podcast, Venture Stories, 80000 Hours, Charter Cities Podcast