Bill Gates is set to build a new “smart city” with a population of almost 200 000 people.
Belmont Partners, an investment firm run by the Microsoft co-founder has invested $80 million (£61 million) in the project, which will be “forward-thinking” and have “cutting-edge” technologies at its core.
It has purchased 24 800 acres of land, which will be used for schools, housing, offices and commercial and retail space.
Gates’ futuristic city will be built in southwestern Arizona, and will be called Belmont.
It will have 80,000 residential units, says Belmont Partners, which will give it a population of around 182,000.
“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,” said Belmont Partners, reports KPNX.
“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.”
Google to create its own neighbourhood with weather management systems
It isn’t yet know when construction will begin, but Gates’ vision appears to echo that of Google, which is set to create Quayside, its own high-tech community, in Toronto.
Quayside will feature flexible buildings that can be completely reconfigured at speed, and Google will even attempt to “mitigate” the weather, to encourage people to spend more time outside.
It’s described as “the world’s first neighbourhood built from the internet up”, and Google hopes to turn it into “a blueprint for the 21st-century urban neighbourhood”.
By Aatif Sulleyman for The Independent
Across the world, cities are constantly looking for new ways to improve service delivery and enhance living and working ecosystems for citizens. It’s no surprise that many consider digital technology to be the ideal methodology to help deliver new public services, address existing problems, and reshape citizen engagement.
Digital technology holds the key to the successful transformation of cities. It can accelerate and enable economic prosperity and commerce, improve safety and security, and make a real impact on the quality of life for citizens.
According to the World Bank Report on Digital Citizen Engagement, the use of new media communication technologies presents exciting opportunities to improve communication between citizens and government institutions.
“Most of the cities’ operational processes are not citizen-centric. They are structured for the physical world and lack the human touch. It is clear that digital technology is shaping the way government engages with communities and can help cities in addressing or managing issues around service delivery,” comments Lawrence Kandaswami, MD, SAP South Africa.
Innovation forces public sector institutions to think differently about how to provide services, how citizens consume and share information, and how to engage with citizens. This requires an innovative digital platform with the relevant digital tools to meet all these needs and serve citizens better. SAP Digital Core for cities focuses on all these aspects and more. The technology is designed to help cities prosper, improve safety and security, and become more resilient.
How can technology help cities become more resilient?
One of the challenges that cities face is managing natural disasters such as floods. In many cases, drains get blocked due to the volume of heavy rains, creating blockages that prevent the rapid and safe diversion of the storm water. “With the help of technology, cities can now use digital technology to manage these risks. For example, by installing sensors in the drain system, the city can monitor water levels, detect any malfunction in the drains and allocate resources in real time to remedy the situation, before it hits disaster levels. The city of Dubai provides another good customer case study on resilience and saving projects costs,” explains Kandaswami.
Helping cities transition to digital transformation
Digital transformation allows cities to tap into their own data and transform that data into meaningful business insights and decisions. The use of technology can help cities to interpret, understand, plan, prioritise, and target specific problem areas to find the right solution. When we think about constituent engagement, the first thing to remember is that it’s not one-dimensional. Increasing numbers of citizens may want a digital channel – but that’s not every citizen. Innovation brings a new level of engagement with a digital experience. This means more citizens can take advantage of self-service functionality, instead of standing in long queues to pay for services.
Economic prosperity is every city’s ideal goal
The use of digital technology enables cities to engage citizens and service providers to help cities understand challenges like transport flow management, scheduling of resources, and budget allocations. Engaged citizens can communicate better with government and exchange important information that could help cities improve service delivery.
“SAP technology is a relevant digital option for cities because citizens need simple choices. The technology puts citizens at the heart of how a service is delivered, presented, and consumed. It is designed with the “Future Cities” in mind to take cities through the journey of digital transformation. Today’s citizens are looking for personalised services that are easily accessible. Citizens and government engagement should be part of the operational process with clear collaboration plans for the sustainability and economic prosperity of cities.” concludes Kandaswami.