Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where Indie is stuck in a completely fake town with no people, and that was the basis of the phrase, "to nuke the fridge", which was going to replace "to jump the shark"?
They blew that one away, but evidently a new one is being built in New Mexico as a test bed for new technologies. I thought there already acres of houses with no people all over Arizona and Nevada thanks to the real estate crash, but evidently that's not good enough.
According to the Washington Post:
A Washington, D.C.-based technology company announced plans Tuesday to build the state's newest ghost town to test everything from renewable energy innovations to intelligent traffic systems, next-generation wireless networks and smart-grid cyber security systems.....Although no one will live there, the replica city will be modeled after a typical American town of 35,000 people, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new....."The idea for The Center was born out of our own company's challenges in trying to test new and emerging technologies beyond the confines of a sterile lab environment"
More in the Washington Post.
Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG likes the idea and thinks other companies should try it.
I'm inclined to ask what it might look like if other corporations were to launch their own "test cities" in the desert somewhere--an REI city, complete with artificial whitewater rapids, campfires, and outdoor climbing walls; a Playboy city, complete with unlockable shared doors between neighboring bedrooms; an AMC city, with screens and streetside auditoriums, and massive projectors on cranes like new constellations in the sky.
More in BLDGBLOG
I would have thought that testing tech would require a few more things than just buildings, like customers and users and human interaction. I also thought this already existed; See Allied Container Systems Builds Entire Cities From Shipping Containers