Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs Unveils Its High-Tech ‘City-Within-a-City’ Plan for Toronto

Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s smart city subsidiary, released its massive plan Monday to transform a slice of Toronto’s waterfront into a high-tech utopia. From a report: Eighteen months in the making and clocking in at 1,524 pages, the plan represents Alphabet’s first, high-stakes effort to realize Alphabet CEO Larry Page’s long-held dream of a city within a city to experiment with innovations like self-driving cars, public Wi-Fi, new health care delivery solutions, and other city planning advances that modern technology makes possible. Previously, Sidewalk Labs called it “a neighborhood built from the internet up.” But on Monday, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff went a step further to describe it as “the most innovative district in the world.”

The plan includes: Ten new buildings of mixed-use development consisting primarily of thousands of new residential units, as well as retail and office spaces, all made from mass timber. A proposal to extend the city’s light-rail system to serve the new neighborhood. Redesigning streets to reduce car use and promote biking and walking. Installation of public Wi-Fi, in addition to other sensors to collect “urban data” to better inform housing and traffic decisions, for example. Proposal to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 89 percent. Building the new Canadian headquarters of Google on the western edge of Villiers Island. Further reading: Former Firefox VP on What It’s Like To Be Both a Partner of Google and a Competitor via Google Chrome; Sidewalk Labs’ 1,500-Page Plan for Toronto Is a Democracy Grenade.

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