Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has announced his plans to develop his own “smart city” in Arizona.
Arizona NBC affiliate 12 News reports that an investment firm linked to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has spent $80 million to begin the development of a “smart city” in the far West Valley of Arizona. The community proposed by Gates, near downtown Phoenix, is comprised of approximately 25,000 acres and will be named Belmont.
In a news release, Belmont Partners stated:
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.
3,800 acres of the land will reportedly be zoned for commercial and office space, and 470 acres will be allotted for public schooling. It’s projected that approximately 80,000 residential units will be installed on the land for the city’s inhabitants.
Ronald Schott, the executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, said that the land’s proximity to the I-11 freeway made it a prime location for the new smart city. “Bill Gates is known for innovation and those kind of things and I think he picked the right place. He’s coming to Arizona,” he said.
Google parent-company Alphabet’s urban innovation unit, Sidewalk Labs LLC, announced plans to develop a high-tech community in Toronto in October. Rather than build an entire city, Sidewalk Labs plans to partner with Waterfront Toronto to transform the Toronto waterfront area into a high-tech innovation hub, not unlike what Gates apparently has planned for Belmont.
Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel L. Doctoroff said in a statement, “This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world.”