Alphabet the parent company of Google has its innovation unit the Sidewalk, announce today in Press conference their plan to design a high technology neighborhood on Toronto’s waterfront, the company announced today at a press conference.
According to sidewalks Labs, the area is Quayside and the neighborhood will prioritize “environmental sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity,” and the project is called target Blank Sidewalk Toronto.
The Chief Executive Officer of Sidewalks Labs said on Tuesday that “This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world,”
Sidewalk Labs to the accomplishment of this project has committed fifty ($50) million Dollars in the first phase, although the 12-acre development is estimated to cost a minimum of one ($1) billion Dollars. Quayside will be located in a primarily publicly-owned 800-acre area called Port Lands — one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land. Waterfront Toronto plans to build infrastructure that will help protect against flooding with help from a recent $996 million investment from local and national government.
Early this year in March, Sidewalk Labs responded to Toronto’s request for proposals to redevelop the waterfront parcel. The planning process will kick off with a community town hall on the 1st of November, 2017. From the renderings, it appears that Sidewalk Labs wants Quayside to be a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The preliminary illustrations include bikeshares, apartment housing, businesses, and parks.
Though the details of the plan are still unclear, a former New York city deputy Mayor – Doctoroff, has hinted at what the company would like to see in a city. He has spoken about how self-driving cars, embedded sensors that track energy usage, machine learning, and high-speed internet could improve urban environments. He said to Business Insider “I like to describe it that we’re in the very early stages of what I call the fourth revolution of urban technology,”
“The first three were the steam engine, which brought through trains and factories that industrialized cities. The second was the electric grid, which made cities 24 hours, made them more vertical, made them easier to get around in with subways and streetcars. The third was the automobile, which forced us to really re-think the use of public space in order to protect people from the danger of the automobile. We’re now in the fourth one. We’ve had an urban technology revolution … We’re seeing a real change in the physical nature of our cities.”
Sidewalk was founded by Doctoroff and the Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Larry Page in 2015, looking for over a year for a fitting place to build a large-scale district. One of its earliest and visible smart city efforts was replacing phone booths with public Wifi Kiosks in Manhattan. Like Doctoroff, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the conference that he expects Quayside to be a model for other cities around the world.
Quoting him “Today’s announcement is about creating a new type of neighborhood that puts people first. Sidewalk Toronto will transform Quayside into a thriving hub for innovation and a community for tens of thousands of people to live, work, and play,” he said. “I have no doubt Quayside will become a model for cities around the world and make all of our communities even better places to call home.”