CITE: The $1 Billion Ghost City Built to Test the Technology of Tomorrow
by Timon Singh, 05/10/12
Last year, we reported on The Center for Testing, Evaluation and Innovation (CITE) – a town that would be built over 20 square miles of virgin desert in Lea County, New Mexico in order to test sustainable infrastructure and technologies. This week, more details have been released about this ‘green Ghost City’, and some interesting systems are set to be tested at the $1 billion development.
The first of its kind, in scale and scope, CITE will be a fully integrated test, evaluation and certification facility dedicated to enabling and facilitating the commercialization of new and emerging technologies. Modeled after a mid-sized modern American city, it will integrate real-world urban and suburban environments along with all the typical working infrastructure elements that make up today’s cities. This will provide customers the unique opportunity to test and evaluate technologies in conditions that most closely simulate real-world applications.
What real-world applications you ask? Well, currently researchers are looking to test everything from intelligent traffic systems to next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets.
The main feature of CITE will be the City Lab, a full-scale, fully functional test city. It will occupy approximately 400 acres and include urban, suburban and rural zones, as well as the corresponding infrastructure. City Lab will be pre-wired for data collection giving researchers the ability to simulate system-wide scenarios and then draw data from such activities.
Other areas will include the Field Lab District - a large portion of land area devoted to future public or private lab development, Backbone - a unique underground operations and maintenance system that connects the entire CITE facility and the Research Campus where teams can collaborate on assorted projects.
While no one will live there, the city will be designed as if they do with all the houses including everyday systems, like appliances and plumbing.
Construction is set to begin on June 30th with companies Pegasus Holdings and its New Mexico subsidiary, CITE Development supporting the project. The initial development cost is estimated at $400m, but overall investment is expected to top $1bn. The project will create 350 permanent jobs.
Pegasus Global’s Robert H. Brumley CEO has said of the city: “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.”
And before anyone comments that this money would be better spent building an actual city, think bigger. Hopefully the innovations tested here will have far reaching benefits for the whole world.
Newest US City to Be Built Just for Testing Green Technologies
by Andrew Michler, 09/13/11
Up to 20 square miles of virgin desert in New Mexico will soon be home to the nation’s newest town, only with a twist — no one will live there. Developer Pegasus Global Holdings (a communication, technology and defense contractor) and the state of New Mexico have announced plans to create a “mid-sized” smart city that they are calling The Center for Testing, Evaluation and Innovation. Details are vague, but the concept is clear enough: design a town that mirrors real cities in order to test sustainable infrastructure and technologies to see if they would work in the actual built environment without fear of disrupting real communities. Think of it as the green version of Westworld – only if something goes wrong nobody gets hurt.
Pegasus Global’s Robert H. Brumley CEO explains “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 town will be built to mimic real cities with layers of different era-type buildings and transportation, with the one exception – there will be no full-time residents.
Currently, most smart grid research is based on computer simulations of real world situations. The Center provides an opportunity for companies, non profits and the government to implement and test smart grid and other technologies in a real but controlled environment and at scale. The Center aims to explore issues like smart grid security, stability, communication systems and transportation technologies.
A major sticking point in introducing emerging green technologies, such as the smart grid, at scale is the risk of trying to integrate it with existing infrastructure in real-time and avoiding disruptions. Smart grid introduction in the United States has been slower than expected, with both social and technical hurdles not clearly understood when they were implemented. The site has not been announced and it remains to be seen how large the project will become and how it will be funded, but is projected to create 350 direct jobs. To us, though, it sounds like it’s straight out of a Hollywood script.