We already know that Toronto is one of the best cities in the world to live, but it is about to get that much better. Google’s Alphabet Inc. is going to develop a 12-acre section of the Toronto waterfront. Sidewalk Labs, a startup created by Google, has a mission to accelerate innovation in major world cities. Their project, titled Sidewalk Toronto will be something of a “city of the future”.
On a basic level, the project will include combining technology with innovative design where there will be free Wi-Fi, a reliance on sustainable energy, automation of processes and even huge transportation improvements. The new city center will improve life for residents and people working there, while also reducing greenhouse gases.
Designing the space with self-driving cars in mind, the company believes that the improvements will not only increase green space, as these cars will require less space for parking and movement, it will also reduce commute times by up to an hour each day.
The overall goal of Project Sidewalk is to show Toronto and be a model for the rest of the world, that cities can be cheaper, healthier, greener and more exciting. The company believes there truly is no place better than Toronto to “bring this vision to life”.
Alphabet will be investing an initial amount of $50 million USD just to get the project started. The test site for the project in Toronto will be in the Quayside neighbourhood. Google will also be moving their Toronto headquarters to the area, which is located on the Eastern waterfront.
Toronto residents are welcome to contribute their thoughts on the Sidewalk Labs proposal as the development takes place.
Not all Canadians are a fan of the project and some say that Google is only coming to Toronto because of the abundance of talent here who have educations focusing on artificial intelligence. As well, Canadian government funding for research into AI has resulted in Canada being well-known as a leader in this field.
Where this project will head is unknown, but it is an exciting prospect in an already exciting city.