Bill Gates has started laying out his plans for creating a "smart city" in Phoenix, Arizona, about 45 minutes west of downtown. Located in the far west valley, the piece of land is comprised of approximately 24,800 acres. Belmont, the proposed name for the city, will embrace and push forward innovation and technology. One of Gates' investment firms has already solidified the plans by devoting $80 million to the project.
Belmont Partners, an Arizona-based real-estate group, said in a press release that "Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs."
Gates is no stranger to being one step ahead of the game, and this "smart city" could be both a breeding and testing ground for futuristic technologies. As for the location, there is a proposed freeway that would cut right through this small city and lead directly to Las Vegas. Traffic to and from such a major hub would allow the city to grow and flourish independently.
The city itself will reportedly be set-up fairly similar to a "regular" city, with 3,800 acres dedicated to office, commercial, and retail space, 470 acres for public schools, and more than enough room left over for private residences.
Belmont Properties stated that the land "will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model." It has a prime location, plenty of space, and not much else. This lack of existing structure will allow the "smart city" to be molded into a completely unique space. Belmont has the potential to drive design and ingenuity forward, all while supporting the state.
This is not the first "smart city" to be proposed: the "groundwork" is being laid in Denver, as well as across the globe in China, to develop existing cities into "smart cities" through technology and innovation initiatives. Perhaps one day in the not-too-far-off future, the terms will be the same — as all our cities will be "smart cities."