Sisolak’s plan entails “innovation zones” which would let new cities run their own governments based on technology.
One of the first large beneficiaries of the bill would be Blockchains LLC, which is a Nevada-based group and has announced previously its intention to build a city on 67,000 acres of desert land which it acquired in 2018 near Reno.
Blockchains has envisioned this location as a “Painted Rock Smart City and Innovation Park,” which would have around 36,000 people and over 30 million square feet of commercial and industrial space and would use a “stablecoin” as a cryptocurrency; over time it would come to support $1.8 billion in wages every year and 40,000 jobs.
WSJ writes that the goal for the project, according to Sisolak, was to lessen the state’s dependency on gaming and tourism. The state had an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent in December, having been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate was the second highest in the nation behind Alaska, WSJ notes.
“We cannot wait for economic recovery to come to us,” Gov. Sisolak said. “We must accelerate and pursue innovative ways to inject Nevada with new and organic economic growth.”
The project has drawn opposition, however, from the fact that water is already short in Nevada. Blockchains has secured rights to groundwater near a desert playa 100 miles away, with plans to build a pipeline. Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director of the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group, said it was a setup for “a good old-fashioned Nevada war,” WSJ writes.
Smart cities like the aforementioned Blockchains idea could be imperiled by the pandemic, though, if it’s perceived that people are leaving cities for the suburbs or more spread-out areas.
In June of 2020, the National League of Cities estimated that 65 percent of cities had been forced to “delay or completely cancel” infrastructure projects. However, things might get a boost if the Biden administration holds true to its promise to boost smart cities and new technological innovations.