Nick Depperschmidt – Connected Cities USA, a TWST Event
A firm tied to Microsoft founder Bill Gates has made an $80 Million investment in roughly 25,000 acres of land on the Western edge of metropolitan Phoenix, Az. The firm, Belmont Partners, is financing the project, which will be unique in the realm of Smart Cities. While most of the industry’s attention is on updating existing city infrastructure, this will be a smart city from scratch.
According to a statement from a law firm representing Belmont Partners, the development will focus on high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistic hubs. The city will be called Belmont.
The proposed community will be about the size of Tempe, Az. and will span some 40 square miles with 160,000 people. The city will start with as many as 80,000 residential units, with 3,800 acres set aside for office, commercial and retail space. An additional 470 acres will be used for public schools.
The backbone of the community is a yet to be built highway, I-11, that would connect residents and businesses to the Phoenix area.
“This is a very long-term investment that has attracted a West Coast Technology and real estate investor,” said real estate attorney Grady Gammage, speaking for the development firm led by Larry Yount, the longtime land owner.
The smart city from scratch approach isn’t a new one, but it is uncommon. While most city CTOs are being tasked to upgrade existing infrastructure within the current budget, Belmont will be able to deploy the newest smart and IoT based technologies from the start. This opens the door for technology providers to customize solutions for the new city’s needs, as well as develop long term goals for the project’s success.
It will be exciting to see how the city evolves as water pipes lines can be laid with flow monitoring and control technology from day one. Trash bins in parks can be deployed with wireless sensor technology to tell the sanitation department when they need empting. The transportation department can build roads with the intent that self-driving cars will be present.
All of this serves as a great test bed for the slew of smart city technologies being introduced on a daily basis. It is also a big opportunity for technology providers to jump on board and work with Belmont to get their new hardware/software/sensors/wireless network deployed in the city. We’re looking forward to seeing how the new city develops and if they can attain their lofty goals.
If you’re looking to learn more about the latest smart city technologies coming in 2018 and beyond, be sure to attend the 2018 Connected Cities Conference in Chicago, Ill. May 31-June 1. Real world smart city application will be the main topic of discussion, all from respected industry leaders and City CTOs/CIOs pushing the envelope of what’s possible in a connected city.