Bill Gates has invested $80 million into a planned smart city based outside Phoenix, Arizona, according to local news publication AZ Central. The investment was made through a group controlled by Gates’ investment firm Cascade Investment, which bought a stake in a 24,800-acre development in Belmont. The plan is for 80,000 homes to be built, with 3,800 acres reserved for industrial, office, and retail space, 3,400 acres of open space, and 470 acres dedicated for public schools.
The smart city will be designed to feature high-speed networks, data centers, autonomous cars and vehicles, new manufacturing technologies, and automated logistics hubs. « Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model, » Belmont Properties said in a statement.
The concept of smart cities is something that’s steadily gained pace over the past few years. Last month, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs struck a deal to an area of Toronto into an “internet city,” where 800 acres of land will be equipped with modern technology like self-driving cars, smart street lights, and public Wi-Fi. The project included a $50 million commitment from Sidewalk Labs to install and test the company’s smart city technology. The company is also aiming to transform 16 cities into tech-friendly “laboratories.”