In collaboration with Sidewalk Labs, a start-up created by Google to “accelerate innovation in cities around the world,” the city of Toronto will embark on a futuristic redesign of its waterfront that will incorporate cutting-edge technology and sleek modern design to build an urban gathering place for businesses, locals and visitors. Innovations on the Toronto waterfront may include free public Wi-Fi, automated trash systems, robust renewable energy sources, and self-driving cars. “This project will become a model for others not only in Canada, but around the world,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It is estimated that the innovations by Sidewalk Labs could reduce typical greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, save the average commuter an hour of travel time and put residents of the neighborhood, which has been dubbed “Quayside,” within a very short walking distance from green space. “Over time, “we believe Sidewalk Toronto can demonstrate to the world how to make living in cities cheaper, more convenient, healthier, greener, fairer, and even maybe more exciting,” said former New York City deputy mayor and current Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff. Sidewalk Labs, acknowledging that “that great neighborhoods aren’t planned from the top down,” has announced a town hall meeting for November 1, 2017 in which citizens can discuss their ideas and concerns regarding the new project.
Founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, Sidewalk Labs has been deciding between several locations for a comprehensive feasibility study to test ideas and systems that could be applied in the design of the cities of the future. The announcement by Sidewalk Labs and Toronto follows several months of speculation about the company’s plans, which were rumored to include a “Google Island” city built from the ground up to Sidewalk Labs’ specifications. In its work to redesign Toronto’s waterfront, Sidewalk Labs will use tools like Flow, which the company conceived to identify problems in traffic flow or lack of transportation access.
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