All of us have seen the smart cities of the future, unfortunately only in big US movie productions. A few months ago the richest man on the Earth decided to introduce his plan of building Smart City to real life. One of the Bill Gates investment firms Cascade Investment LLC announced the plan of building Smart City located in Arizona. The company paid about $80 million for 24,800-acre land on which they are planning to build public schools; and office, commercial, and retail space. But that investment won’t look like a typical city. This place will be more smart, autonomous, sustainable and self-efficient than other. What do we understand the name of a smart city? According to encyclopedia “The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens”. The video below is presenting some smart solutions that exist or are planned to be introduced into some cities.
Why did Mr. Gates decide to create the smart city there? Firstly Belmont (the name of the location area) is located 40 miles from Phoenix, so the place is not located on wastelands. Despite the fact of close localization to the big city, the ground price was relatively small, and the area is pretty big, it is very similar to the Paris when it comes to the size. But the price wasn’t the main argument of the Smart City localization. The state of Arizona is also very friendly when it comes to the “smart cities” solution regulations. For example, it has very relaxed Autonomous vehicles policies. Belmont investors hope to use it as a big advantage and they think that should help different tech companies to pilot their technologies and later implement them within the Belmont. Another very positive aspect of Arizona state is the fact of big solar energy production capacity, which will be used to power charging stations for some of these cars — as well as traffic lights, homes, and office spaces. In such case, the city could be self-efficient when it comes to the energy.
Investors are planning to make Belmont really smart and sustainable. The benefits which will be available for future Belmont inhabitants and the companies which will run there are for example The high-speed networks, Autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, Big data centers. New manufactural Technologies and Autonomous Logistic Hubs. Those are only examples of benefits but for sure with the progress of the city building plans investors will announce much more astonishing details about smart technologies and innovative solutions which will be common within it.
Until this moment everything seems to be fine and perfect but there is one regulation that needs to be fulfilled to create a new city. This regulation is connected with the low water level in Arizona. To set the new city investors needs to prove that the city will have a supply of water for 100 years. This issue might be not easy to fix and for sure very expensive. The only option will be transporting the water by pipelines, and then sustainable use of it.
The smart City concepts isn’t a new idea but from a few years, we can see that some of the richest cities are trying to implement new solutions to make their cities smarter. Governments are building Tech Hubs within some city districts to speed up the innovation. Private investors are trying to build their own smart cities. Those are the things which we can observe now. In the next 10/20 years a lot might have changed and due to that, it is important to have such investments. Technology will become more and more connected to the way of how we exist every day, so due to that, we need to develop it and observe how will cities of the future look like. How “smart” will be Belmont? In terms of technology, for sure it will be, but we need to remember that smart cities are something more than just autonomous cars, sustainability and a lot of other technologies. Smart Cities are also about Smart Society, Smart Healthcare, E-government etc. Due to that, there will be still more to develop for places like Belmont but such investments are necessary to develop and test those “smart solutions”.