It’s one of the most famous game franchises in the world, but Sim City is going to become a whole lot more real when Lea County, USA finishes hosts a ghost city just for the purposes of test and development work.

Lea County is in the state of New Mexico and will soon play host to a US$1 billion city that not one single person will live in. It’s all in the name of research and will be called, uninspiringly, the Centre for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation, or CITE.

CITE will become the proving grounds for new innovations and technology in a number of different areas, but mainly focusing on urban initiatives and the sub-sectors affected by them, such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, security, and agriculture.

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The whole project is privately funded and will directly create around 350 jobs and thousands more indirectly, which will be a great thing for the American economy at the moment. It will be developed west of Hobbs, a city in Lea County and will be on around 39 square kilometres of land. The city itself will be modelled around the real city of Rock Hill.

According to the CITE website, it will have the following facilities.

Green Energy

One of the fastest growing segments in energy production is focused on green technologies, but challenges still exist in the integration of these technologies into existing out dated infrastructure. CITE will provide unique opportunities to drill down into the cost of introducing solar, wind, and Smart Grid technologies in a real world setting to help determine the next steps to success.

Intelligent Transportation Systems

CITE will be home to a transportation highway/road network consisting of both high-speed, urban canyon, suburban and rural roads permitting testing and demonstration of new Intelligent Transportation System technologies, which are advancing rapidly in Europe and Asia. CITE will provide a highway infrastructure that will allow clients to test and evaluate unmanned vehicle technologies, traffic management systems, and vehicle-based applications without endangering other drivers.

Homeland Security

Homeland security is a key component of the plan for CITE, which will include a secure testing area for first responder technology with the benefit of proximity to the civil and commercial infrastructure.

Next Generation Wireless Infrastructure

A next-generation wireless infrastructure – terrestrial and satellite – is planned to serve CITE, permitting the development, installation, testing and commercialisation of high speed broadband technologies across all sectors of our economy, e.g. energy, transportation and security, as well as extension of such services to under served communities.