One of the many investment companies owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates has purchased a whopping 25,000 acres of land in Arizona. Located roughly 45 minutes outside of Phoenix, the land will be turned into a smart city named Belmont.
Focusing on high speed networks, advanced manufacturing capabilities, self-driving vehicles, and data centers, Belmont could become a hub for new technologies to thrive. A proposed I-11 freeway would connect Belmont to Las Vegas, Nevada, opening up significant opportunity. Las Vegas offers access to much of the world's best technology at conferences held throughout the year such as the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show.
Currently, the plot of land is nothing more than barren wasteland. Out of the 25,000 acres available for use, 3,800 acres are set aside for shopping, offices, and other commercial use. A 470 acre area is set aside for public schools; a cause well supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The first truly smart city for the United States will not be an easy task to complete despite the initial $80 million funding available for the project. For starters, water is going to be a major concern. The desert-like climate will make it difficult to provide resources for a proposed 80,000 residents. No information is being disclosed on the timeline of the project since it is still in its infancy.
Provided the project truly makes it off the ground and into full construction, will it be able to attract residents? Could Microsoft open an office of its own in a new smart city?