$200 Million Dollar Fake City in NM.


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Not so smart cities pic.jpg

     "The Center for Innovation, Testing, and Evaluation" is the name for the fake-city to be constructed starting next year in New Mexico.  The center will open in 2014 and is meant to provide a testing ground for future large-scale technologies.  The city will take up 20 sq miles in the desert, will be completely deserted, and will cost approximately $200 million to build.
     The purpose of this deserted city will be to provide a stable, controllable, and testable environment for a variety of future city technologies.  The city will be very similar to a real mid-sized city, complete with urban canyons, suburban and rural communities, and infrastructure like roads, water, and electricity.  Essentially it is meant to be as much like a real city as it can be, except that it will be deserted save a few hundred engineers and programmers in the underground network of control centers for the city.
    The center is being built be Pegasus Global Holdings, an international technology development company. In their own words, "The Center will allow private companies, not for profits, educational institutions and government agencies to test in a unique facility with real world infrastructure, allowing them to better understand the cost and potential limitations of new technologies prior to introduction."  The fake-city will provide an excellent place to test large scale technologies that couldn't be properly tested in laboratories like smart power grids, cyber-security, intelligent traffic, and surveillance systems.  All of these things generally fall under the category of "smart-city" technology.  Green technologies could also be tested here and obviously those are all just a few examples of the things scientists could test in a unique environment like this.
     Not everyone is entirely thrilled about the facility however.  In her article 
"Not-So-Smart Cities" from The New York Times, Greg Lindsay criticized the facility by saying that it takes out the most important part of a city, the people.  He asserts that the randomness of people won't be accurately accounted for.  Pegasus counters this by saying that given enough computing power they can build that human factor of randomness in.  He also points to a failed attempt to reorganize New York's fire departments based on computer models in 1968, but his argument seems disconnected and weak to me for a number of reasons.  Especially because computer technology has increased considerably since 1968 
     So what do you guys think?  Does this seem like a valid way to study these technologies?  Do you think the knowledge gained will be worth the steep price?  The facility isn't meant to open until 2014 so it's still a long ways off and a lot of details aren't available yet.  But here's the info I've got on it already:



And the times article I linked to above.

2 Comments

Hey Kyle, interesting article. Never heard of it before but it seems quite creative and can possibly work. 200 million dollars is a serious amount of money to not play around with and the idea that this will be happening in New Mexico i feel with help them become a top competitor state in the future! It is similar to trash island where you have these areas that are ideally serious because they affect the future generations to come, especially for us and our children!!!

I also find this to be a very interesting post! While I can see some advantages to testing these new technologies in an area free of human influence, I wonder if and how adding humans to the mix would change the result? I know you mentioned about Pegasus adding in human "randomness" to their testing, but humans don't always use technology for what it is intended. For example, the Internet was first designed during the Cold War in response to a fear of being blown up without a distributive network to document everything on. But once consumers got a hold of the Internet, they turned it into more of an educational/entertainment source. I feel like this could happen with the technologies tested in this area free of human interaction. I mean in the end, we are the ones that will decide whether we keep a new technology or whether it is a waste of our time. Makes me wonder if this is such a good idea to test without humans?

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