Southern California has historically defied traditional city models. The region’s expansive suburban communities and various activity hubs have provided economic and urban amenities for both families and young professionals. Now, SoCal’s largest new master-planned community, Ontario Ranch, is developing a connected gigabit infrastructure, business facilities, and an innovative water replenishment system to add to this dynamic.
Over the next 20 years, 47,000 homes will be built for 162,000 residents in the California city of Ontario. Within 30 minutes from Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, the community will have access to prime work centers in the region. But while many will still commute the good ol’ fashioned way to work, freelancers and home workers will have greater opportunities thanks to the high-speed Internet that will come with all of the new homes.
Similar to Google Fiber, Inyo Networks will provide the gigabit-per-second service for Ontario Ranch citizens, costing users $50 per month through HOA dues and subscriber fees. According to the provider, such a system will serve up a more efficient means of telecommuting, conducting research, and even connecting home appliances to the Internet of Things. What once would take hours to download will now may only take minutes or seconds.
In line with the city’s Healthy Ontario Initiative, the community will also have access to physical amenities such as 1,000 acres of public open space, parks and schools—all connected via pedestrian pathways and bike trails. Sixteen million square feet of retail, office, medical and residential uses will offer local employment opportunities as well, and serve as a space for socialization outside of work.
California’s risk of another epic drought will only be reduced by the ranch’s water recycling and desalination programs. And the ranch’s drought-resistant supply of water promises a future of independence and regional leadership. The New York Times praised the region’s anti-drought capabilities:
Those techniques expand Inland Empire’s water supply without actually requiring any new water, and they represent the leading edge of an effort in Southern California toward water independence.
As the city of Irvine (Ontario Ranch’s master-planned neighbor to the south) develops its newly announced partnership with Google Fiber, Ontario Ranch plans to edge out as the first gigabit community in Southern California. It may spell some friendly competition for the growing Orange County tech district, but the new development’s amenities and resources more so indicate a trend that the SoCal region is ready to innovate and embrace change in the way we design our cities.
This article originally appeared on PSFK.com