In-between Glasgow boosting its IoT network and Dubai developing on blockchain, competition to build the world’s first ‘smart city’ is heating up. Now billionaire Bill Gates has thrown his hat into the ring with the purchase of $80 million (25,000 acres) worth of Arizona desert, on which he claims he will build his vision of a smart city, from scratch.
Called Belmont, the new city is to sit across 39 square miles on land 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, in an area called West Valley. Arizona-based Belmont Partners (BP), who completed the purchase, have claimed that 3,800 acres of the plot will be used for office, retail and commerce space, while 470 acres will be reserved for public schools. 80,000 residential properties will take up most of the available space.
Not much has been revealed about the smart city, but it is predicted to be tuned to the latest emerging tech. BP have added to speculation by releasing a statement on the overall vision, claiming: “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 centres, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs.
“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona [with a population of 182,000], Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.” The city will be supported through connections to Las Vegas, Reno and Mexico via an extension to Interstate 11.
According to property solicitor Grady Gammage, on behalf of Larry Yount, seller of the land: “This is a very long-term investment that has attracted a West Coast technology and real estate investor”.