The city where no one lives

It is accurate to say that these towns however was not built to be a ghost town, that is until now. A purposefully built ghost town will become a testing ground for Washington D.C - based technology firm Pegasus Global Holdings. The company intends to test renewable energy infrastructure, smart grids, traffic systems, wireless networks and more.

The city will be located in the American state, New Mexico and will cover an area of roughly 52-square-kilometers. The city will be complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, the structures will be erected to model various styles, old and new, to make it more realistic. It comes complete with a horror movie sounding name, The Center.

The cost of erecting The Center is estimated at $200 million and the plans for the city were announced on Tuesday. The city will be built on state-owned land somewhere in New Mexico according to the Associated Press.

The project, which the company says will be the first of its kind in the U.S., will let research institutions and private companies test new technologies in a real-world setting. There are however no occupants in this city, but that will not hamper any of the testing according to the company as the buildings could be tested just as they would if people were using them. For instance, different thermostat settings among neighbours would impact how a smart grid modulates energy. This would be more useful than simply using computer simulations in a lab.

The Center’s presence in New Mexico ensures it will be close (at least fairly close, it's the West) to the state’s lineup of federal labs and research centers, from Los Alamos to Sandia to White Sands Missile Range.

The Center would make money by charging researchers to use the facilities, according to CEO Bob Brumley. It would also sublease some of its state land for the development of a non-ghost town at its perimeter, where living humans visiting The Center could come to stay and eat.

New Mexico state leaders have been working with Pegasus for 18 months, the AP reported. Brumley is in the process of selecting a site for the ghost town, but it will be a few months before everything is final.

The idea behind The Center is certainly progressive and it could lead to many great innovations. There is however a few questions (and eyebrows) being raised. One of the more common questions is why the company did not just convert an existing town into a testing ground. They argue that this is being done in the name of sustainability but that there is nothing sustainable about erecting a complete city in the middle of nowhere. Another fairly common question is that of funding, most tax payers feel like they will be footing the bill for the construction of this city and that at the end of the day they will not see the benefits of whatever test results come from The Center. If they used an existing city, the funds received from the tests could have been used to uplift the area.

But the most prevalent question is how the company will be able to realistically recreate how people use electricity etc as each individual uses energy in a very unique way. Allowing people to live in the ‘ghost town’ they would have been able to gather real time results which would be more realistic and they could have provided housing to those who need it most.

Do they have a point or are they being a little to idealistic?

(photo credit: flickr - artysmokes)

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