Bill Gates has committed $80 million through Belmont Partners to build a smart city near Las Vegas.
Recently, both Dubai and Toronto have boasted plans for the first smart cities in the world. Saudi Arabia’s NEOM is probably the most ambitious project we’ve seen yet, and you can read about that here.
However, Americans need not feel left out. Bill Gates has committed $80 million USD through one of his investment firms, Belmont Partners, to build a smart city in western Arizona–just a stone’s throw away from Las Vegas.
Covering nearly 25,000 acres of land, the futuristic city is expected to offer built-in high-speed internet, accommodations for self-driving cars (such as traffic lights that communicate with one another to minimize congestion), and smart manufacturing technology.
What Does this Smart City Mean for the Rest of Us?
As more and more people gather in population dense areas, technology becomes increasingly important. In fact, the United Nations predicts 2.5 billion people will move into cities by 2050. Smart city solutions, like those designed for the Belmont Community, are expected to become the new norm if we are to retain our digital culture.
“The experimentation that takes place in this new community has the potential to demonstrate the viability of new smart city concepts and serve as an example for cities nationwide and globally,” Brooks Rainwater, the director of the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at the National League of Cities, told Business Insider.
He added that Arizona is an ideal spot for pilot cities and testing of autonomous vehicles “especially now that Gates’s project will join the AV pilots run by Google’s Waymo in Chandler, right outside of Phoenix.”
Belmont Partners said in a recent statement that the city “will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.” However, the firm has not yet specified a timeline for construction.