Get ready for the future: smart cities use technology extensively while still caring about its environment and the planet overall. These are completely planned cities, in contrast to older urban centers that evolve unpredictably with time and technology. Older cities often experience difficulty adjusting to technological change.
“In a smart city, infrastructure and amenities such as water, sanitation, energy, transport, public safety, education and healthcare are integrated and managed through technology for efficient governance and delivery,” Abhilesh Babel, joint-CEO, Realty and Social Infrastructure of Feedback Infra, told Money Today.
One of the most shining examples will be called Neom, a proposed 10,230-square-mile city and economic zone to be constructed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
The name Neom comes from the first three letters from the Greek prefix “neo,” meaning “new.” The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of “Mostaqbal,” an Arabic word meaning “future.” The city will be located in the northwest corner of the Kingdom, and includes land within the Egyptian and Jordanian borders.
The plan was announced on October 24, 2017 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He said the city will function independently from the “existing government framework,” with its own tax and labor laws and judicial system.
Former Alcoa chairman and CEO and Siemens AG former president and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld will direct the development of the city. Planning and construction will be initiated with $500 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and international investors. The project completion date is 2025.
The city will create an earth-friendly, post-oil atmosphere, with robots performing functions such as security, logistics, home delivery, and caregiving. Neom will be generated solely by wind and solar power.
Its website calls it “world’s most ambitious project.”
Here’s what Neom will offer; take note, as a city near you (or the one you’re currently living in) may do the same:
Energy and Water. Vast fields of solar panels partnered with wind turbines will power large stretches of energy grids. Buildings will remain clean and the air will remain fresh and clear.
Mobility. All-green transport systems will include a bridge that will link Asia with Africa. This will help Neom become known as a global hub of connectivity.
Biotech. Neom plans to become a nexus for healthcare research and innovation, including next-gen gene therapy, genomics, stem cell research, nanobiology, and bioengineering.
Food. Neom will host arid and seawater farming, as well as solar-powered greenhouses. Also planned are vertical urban farms and locally grown produce.
Advanced manufacturing. The systems making Neom move will include personalized, fully automated point-to-point transfers, passenger drones, self-learning traffic systems, and other innovations in research and development, supply, transport and infrastructure.
Media. The city plans to become a global media hub, featuring studios that allow for producing, delivering and distributing film and video.
Entertainment. Venues will include theme and water parks, natural parklands, shopping, and sports arenas.
Technological and Digital Sciences. The city is inviting the world’s top data scientists to analyze data and innovate. Inventors will be able to use the city itself as a testing ground for urban innovations.
In the United States, Belmont, Arizona, located in the southwestern portion of the state, will also be a 100% smart city. A group connected to the Gates investment company has invested $80 million in its development. Belmont will be located just outside Phoenix, and be similar in size to Tempe, Arizona (population 182,000).
The plan: a 24,800-acre development filled with residences, public schools, as well as office, commercial and retail space. This includes high-speed digital networks, self-driving vehicles, data centers, high-tech manufacturing centers and more.
Arizona is a state that welcomes technology and innovation. It currently has a friendly autonomous vehicle policy – Waymo, Uber, GM, Ford and Intel have all tested vehicles there. Arizona is also conducive to solar-powered energy because of its abundance of sunlight.
Belmont Partners, the Arizona-based real estate investment company involved in the deal, said, “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.”
Google is also experimenting with this kind of city. Its urban innovation company, Sidewalk Labs, invested $50 million for the initial phase of planning a Toronto neighborhood development, along with pilot testing. The goal: reduced pollution, better weather, and safer streets.
Click here to find out more about Neom.
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