Belmont, Arizona

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Belmont is a proposed planned city in the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona, United States. The development, a partnership between billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and local real estate investors, will be a "smart city" designed around emerging technologies.[1] It is located in the West Valley area, along Interstate 10 near Tonopah.

History[edit | edit source]

The area east of Tonopah has been sought for suburban development since the 1990s, but the lack of growth in the West Valley until the 2000s stalled the project.[2] In the mid 2000s, developers proposed Douglas Ranch, a long-term development that would house over 290,000 people, on a nearby site.[3] Bill Gates's involvement in the planned community was announced on November 8, 2017. His investment company, Cascade Investment, reportedly purchased an $80 million stake in the project.[2]

Plans[edit | edit source]

Belmont consists of 24,800 acres (10,000 ha) of greenfield land, which will be divided into 3,800 acres (1,500 ha) of office, commercial, and retail space, 3,800 acres (1,500 ha) of industrial space, 3,400 acres (1,400 ha) of open space, and 470 acres (190 ha) for schools.[2] The remaining land will house 80,000 residential units.[4] Upon full build out, the community is planned support a population as large as Tempe.[2]

The development aims to integrate autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, and data centers into the city.[1]

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Belmont will be located along Interstate 10 near its planned interchange with Interstate 11, a future highway that will connect the Phoenix area to Las Vegas and Reno.[2]

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton, a former Phoenix resident, warned that development of Belmont would push sprawl farther into the threatened Sonoran Desert. He also warned that climate change would pose a danger to the long-term habitability of the Phoenix area, as water becomes scarcer and temperatures rise.[5] Henry Grabar of Slate criticized the media circus surrounding Gates's involvement, as well as the "foolish nature" of the proposal.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 33°29′37″N 112°46′54″W / 33.49361°N 112.78167°W / 33.49361; -112.78167