Bill Gates to Build High-Tech 25,000-Acre City in the Arizona Desert

The city will be built about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix. Joe Parks/Wiki Commons

The city of the future could soon be erected in the middle of the Arizona desert, thanks to Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, reports The Street.

Gates has purchased 25,000 acres of land about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, which he says he intends to develop into a high-tech "smart" city that embraces all the gizmos and gadgets of modern, and future, technological society. The community, which will be named Belmont, will be designed to eventually blossom into one of Arizona's largest cities.

"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 Gates' investment firm, Belmont Partners, in a news release.

The plans include as many as 80,000 residential units, spaces for public schools, and plenty of office, commercial and retail space. All of it is to be built around a clean, flexible infrastructure model that will facilitate the development and deployment of innovative new technologies.

"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," said Belmont Partners.

Such a smart city will also provide an ideal canvas to test the latest technologies and innovative designs on an actual community. If you're one of those people who camps out in line just to be the first to purchase the new version of your favorite techie gadget, this might be the place for you.

It's an ambitious project that could be the first of many innovative smart cities to crop up out of nowhere. At the very least, it will be an experiment that could foreshadow how cities of the future are run. (But it's worth noting another angle to this story, summed up by Lloyd Alter over on sister site Treehugger: Bill Gates wants to build a 'smart city' in the Arizona desert. Smart move?)

While there's not yet any word on when construction will begin, or what the total cost will amount to, Gates' investment firm has already put down $80+ million on the project. And given that the goal is to build a smart city designed around efficiency, it probably won't be too long before things get off the ground.