Microsoft co-founder and one of the world's richest men Bill Gates has entered the smart city space by announcing his role in the development of a sustainable, technologically advanced community in the Arizona desert.
An investment firm run by Gates has invested approximately $80m on 24,800 acres in western Marciopa County, AZ, in its efforts to create a 'smart city'. It has been disclosed that Mt. Lemmon Holdings is working in conjunction with Belmont Partners, which is a real estate investment entity to create the revolutionary smart city in the US state of Arizona.
Belmont Partners outlined that their primary objective was to create a 'smart community' that would facilitate cutting-edge technology to create this utopian city. The company 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."
Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, Jesse Berst welcomed the development of the innovative project in Arizona, claiming that Gates always had the ability to seek out a nascent industry which represented great opportunities.
He said, "Bill Gates has always had impeccable timing, coming into sectors while there was still time to get an early mover advantage. He was early to the personal computing revolution, the graphical interface revolution and the Internet revolution. Now he's betting on smart cities."
It has been further revealed that the community would be known as Belmont, and would have around 80,000 homes. In addition to this, the utopian city would have 3,800 acres of industrial offices and commercial space, 3,400 acres of open space and 470 acres for public schools.
Research VP for Smart Ecosystems and Cities at Gartner CIO Research Group, Bettina Tratz-Ryan expressed her delight at the announcement of the initiative, and claimed that the project exemplified the best examples of urban development. She said, "This will represent one of the best western examples that urban development can be built on a private sector ecosystem strategy."
No timeline was given on when construction will start, and no vendors have been named as of yet, although an announcement is expected to be imminent. Microsoft has its CityNext program of smart city technology that many speculate will be involved.