A new “smart” community planned for the Canadian city of St. Albert will feature an ultra-high-speed data network and other technologies designed not only to attract business but to make it easy for residents to telecommute to far-flung regions with ease.
The 400-acre Avenir project, being developed by Rampart with the help of Cisco, is being designed to accommodate around 10,000 residents, a significant boost to St. Albert’s current population of around 58,000. With a price-tag of $1.8 billion, the development is the latest in Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities portfolio.
“Rampart’s Avenir is a perfect blank canvas in an ideal economic and geographic environment to design and implement the Smart+Connected Communities concepts and solutions,” said Rick Huijbregts, vice president of Smart+Connected Communities at Cisco Canada.
Beyond networking, other sustainable elements being incorporated into the community include:
- Local energy production
- Water recovery and reuse
- Local food production
- Advanced building materials and conservation products
- Vehicle energy infrastructure (that is, electric vehicles that can interact with the local power grid)
Another key element in the development will be the underlying advanced data technology enabling high-speed internet access and other digital communications. The project is also being designed with physical, real-life usability in mind, said Gerry J. De Klerk, CEO of the Rampart Group of companies, including a “state-of-the-art transportation hub making physical travel as simple as a digital connection.”
Nolan Crouse, the mayor of St. Albert, envisions the development as a way to promote economic growth.
“The success of a sustainable community depends on its ability to continuously improve its use of resources and access to services,” Crouse said. “The community has to attract business and innovation through a vibrant economic hub … Our goal is to extend St. Albert’s image to being the best place in Canada to work and operate a business.”
The Avenir community will be developed using Cisco’s Smart+Connected technologies, which are designed to bring security, building automation, home automation, voice, video and data and IT services all onto a single platform. Among the features being planned is a “Smart Work Center” aimed at enabling residents to work outside the area without physically having to leave the community.