high-tech community

Google spinoff to build high-tech community in T.O.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, is teaming up with Waterfront Toronto to transform 800 acres of Toronto’s eastern waterfront into a new digital community; a global, mixed-use hub of a new industry.

Following a rigorous procurement process, the Google parent won the bid to help bring urban innovations advanced at Quayside to scale in the Port Lands, one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land. Team members include urbanists who led New York City post-9/11 revival and technologists who helped open Google’s first engineering office outside Silicon Valley in New York City.

Alphabet plans to move Google’s Canadian headquarters to the district, set to be a culturally diverse place for tens of thousands of people to live, work, learn and play. The vision includes developing and advancing new ideas that improve city life, from climate-positive energy systems that can deliver a new standard in sustainability, to self-driving transit that makes streets safer, to new adaptable buildings and construction techniques that lower housing costs.

“On Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront, we are making a bold bet that innovative technology and forward thinking urban design can make fundamental improvements in city life,” proclaimed Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet. Toronto is the ideal place for Alphabet and Sidewalk Labs to do something impactful that we hope will foster new ideas that can be applied by cities around the world.”

The next year will be devoted to extensive community and stakeholder consultation and long-range planning, focused on improving infrastructure and transportation systems, creating new models of affordable housing and flexible retail uses, and establishing clear governance policies related to data protection and privacy.

Public engagement will culminate in a Master Innovation and Development Plan that, if adopted by the Board of Directors of Waterfront Toronto and by Sidewalk Labs, will form the basis for the Quayside development and any subsequent revitalization of City-owned lands in the Eastern Waterfront. This process will kick off with a community Town Hall on November 1, 2017.

“Today, we are expanding our know-how by partnering with Sidewalk Labs to create a progressive, innovative community; one that addresses significant challenges and sets new standards around sustainability, affordable housing and community engagement,” said Waterfront Toronto President and CEO Will Fleissig, yesterday in the announcement at Corus Quay.

Photo courtesy of Sidewalk Labs

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