A brand new city from scratch is being developed in New Mexico by Pegasus Global Holdings. They will start to build a new city in the desert this summer just outside of Hobbs, New Mexico, that will be modeled on a mid-sized, mid-American town of about 35,000 people. The new city–CITE, as the locals and developers call it–will similarly have a kind of downtown, a retail district, residential neighborhoods, and collar communities. It will have functioning roads, self-sustaining utilities, and its own communications infrastructure. It will not, however, have a single permanent resident.
After years of pursuing high-tech companies, Hobbs will be getting what might be one of the most impressive high-tech novelties around: a 15-square mile, fully functioning but empty town next door, unlike any other R&D facility in the world, that will be used to test everything about the future of smart cities, from autonomous cars to new wireless networks.
To Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb, this is the culmination of three decades of a city trying to reinvent itself. Back in the mid-1980s, it first became clear that the oil and gas industry that dominates this part of the country would no longer employ quite so many people, with quite as many high-end jobs.
So the town started chasing new high-tech industry itself: uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants, biodiesel development, nanotechnology. Then earlier this year, Pegasus selected Hobbs out of 16 New Mexico communities that had vied to host this empty research city. If this facility takes off as Pegasus and state officials hope it will, CITE will become not just the largest business operation around Hobbs, but one of the most significant in the region.
The hope is that the real long-term payoff is going to be the tech transfer that will take place from CITE. This empty city would address one of the great obstacles to the commercialization of new technology: that “valley of death” between early-stage R&D and the deep pockets that are willing to invest in products once they have hard data behind them.
Keep your eyes open for progress on this new desert city that will act as a testing ground for everything from wireless networks to self-driving cars without a person living in it.
Originally cited in Fast Company Magazine. Photos from Fast Company and original post in its entirety can be found here.