Toronto

Science on the Sidewalk – Alphabet’s Take on Toronto’s Smart City

The 21st Century has been a whirlwind of innovation across the broad strokes of society, business and culture. In particular, the emergence of the concept of Smart Cities has raced from roadmaps to roads. With Alphabet, the company behind the search engine giant, Google, taking its innovation to the streets.

Sidewalk Labs, the Canadian-based urban innovation company, seeks to rebuild cities, technologically and logistically smarter. Toronto, by Sidewalk’s admission, is poised to create the “world’s first neighbourhood[s] built from the internet-up.”

Sidewalk Labs offers smart solutions to Toronto’s Urban growth

Over the years, urban growth has placed immense pressure on both Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). With issues such as congestion, carbon emissions and sustainability presenting obstacles. But the intention of Sidewalk Labs in their ongoing project on the Toronto Quayside.

In March 2017, the Government-Backed Waterfront Toronto had initially requested proposals from local businesses. The project being an urban revitalisation project, creating 12-acres of environmentally friendly area for mixed urban use. This smaller scale project that Sidewalk is now behind had the potential to be transformative.

Renewal ‘From the internet Up.’

Toronto’s Waterfront is host to over 800 acres of industrial wasteland, with restoration opening up new avenues for its citizens. The aspirations of Sidewalk are, at the same time, ambitious, wide-sweeping and exciting on all levels. This project includes street mapping for automated cars, low-cost modular buildings and robotic waste management systems.

Sidewalk’s CEO, Dan Doctoroff, has expressed the aspiration for its project to go national and then global. “What we’re trying to do, no one has really succeeded in doing. Thus far, I’ve been thrilled with the way things have gone … but I’m not sanguine about the challenges.”

Over $50 million has been put forward for research and development, with the desired completion date of 2020. This means that would-be residents could be moving in by 2020/2, with Sidewalks wider aspirations coming sooner than expected. Bidders have since come forward with the hope of seeing this smart neighborhood influence future cities.