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The future of smart cities: 5 major projects proposed in North America

Future smart cities to feature blockchain, digital networks and driverless cars.

December 02, 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, many of us turn our attention to the new year and thoughts about what the future holds. If you’re a proponent of smart cities, you might be curious about what major transformations are coming—specifically, where? With what vision? And what technologies?
 
While we don’t have all the answers, we do know about these 5 smart city projects already proposed in North America. They may give some hints about the shape of future neighborhoods.
 
Innovation Park, Nevada – In November 2018, cryptocurrency millionaire Jeffrey Berns revealed plans to develop a large parcel of Nevada’s desert into a smart city powered by blockchain technology. The site known as Innovation Park, is planned to feature decentralized blockchain infrastructure underlying all interactions. A potential major advantage of this city is greater control of privacy of personal information. For example, occupants of Innovation Park would be able to bank, vote and store data in the blockchain, without including middlemen companies or the government.  
 
Belmont, Arizona – Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has invested in roughly 25,000 acres of unpopulated desert west of Phoenix, Arizona, with the intention of building a new smart city called Belmont. The area is reportedly earmarked to be built as an urban community designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new distribution models, and autonomous vehicles and logistics hubs. About 80,000 residences will also be created, accommodating a population of about 182,000 people. 
 
Union Point, Massachusetts – Two years ago, developer LStar Ventures acquired about 1,500 acres south of Boston with the ambition to transform the former navy airfield into a tech-savvy smart and connected city. Among key elements of the scheme will be an overhaul of transportation to accommodate autonomous vehicles, comprehensive bicycle networks and driverless shuttles, as well as environmentally friendly energy sources. Union Point will include 4,000 residential units and 3 million square feet for offices and innovation spaces.
 
Sidewalk Toronto, Canada – Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, plans to build a high-tech “future city” on Toronto’s waterfront. The city intends to have “the strongest governance regime for urban data anywhere in the world,” where resident information will be de-identified and not used for advertising. Neighborhoods would feature cutting-edge technology, forward-thinking urban design, and buildings that are designed to adapt to a variety of weather conditions, as part of a strategy to encourage the use of public outdoor spaces. Read more
 
Smart Forest City, Cancun – With concerns about climate change, pollution and habitat destruction rising, this 557-hectare site near Cancun, Mexico is designed to be a pioneer of more eco-efficient developments. As a city covered in 7.5 million plants, it would absorb 116,000 tons of carbon dioxide with 58,000 tons of CO2 stocked per year. The city would rely on sensors distributed within the building fabric, an internal electric mobility system, solar panels and enough farmland to be self-sufficient in producing its own food and energy.
 
For more information about smart cities and the technologies set to power them, contact the Ingram Micro Public Sector team today.