Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs is building an 'internet city' in Toronto

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs is building an 'internet city' in Toronto

In the near-term, Sidewalk plans to run a six-to-twelve person autonomous shuttle in the summer in a specific area of Toronto to get residents used to the technology.

Located southeast of Downtown Toronto, the Eastern Waterfront contains more than 800 acres of land which is the target for future revitalization, including the Port Lands.

Part of their effort will be to help resolve common urban issues like commuting, inclement or cold weather (super relevant in this city), increasing cost of homes (hello, Toronto housing market), and social inequality due to lack of accessibility.

Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto will be working over the next year to plan the project. The company has also released its initial proposal to encourage transparency and conversation. An announcement is expected to be made Tuesday.

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A map of Sidewalk Toronto, a Google inspired neighborhood in development in Toronto.

"I'm pleased to announce that Waterfront Toronto, [the city agency responsible for development, ] has found an extremely promising partner in Sidewalk Labs", Trudeau said.

Sidewalk Labs describes the neighborhood as being built not from the ground up, but from the "internet up". The end goal of the project is establishing an urban environment that uses technology to address complex challenges like energy efficiency, waste reduction and pollution without increasing the cost of living.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday in Toronto that Google's parent company, Alphabet, will develop a portion of the waterfront along Lake Ontario.

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The entire process of the development of Quayside is still unclear, but planning will begin with a community town hall on November 1, 2017.

"There is no better city in the world as a partner for Sidewalk Labs", Toronto Mayor John Tory says. Of note is the fact that North America is behind Europe and Asia Pacific in terms of the number of projects now underway.

Sidewalk was looking for a place to build a model community in which "cutting-edge technology and people-first design are built into the very foundation".

The initiative will transform the 800 acres of land into a "thriving hub for innovation and a community for tens of thousands of people to live, work, and play", The Verge quoted Trudeau as saying. "Or a new urban innovation institute, home to a campus of entrepreneurs itching to solve the toughest problems facing cities", Sidewalk said. Yet our cities rest on the way potential solutions to big urban challenges fit together.

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