Google’s Sidewalk Labs to design Toronto’s digital city

Sidewalk Labs is currently designing a new digital city on Toronto’s Eastern waterfront in a bid to become a model for 21st-century urbanism.

The firm owned by Google Alphabet is working to transform the waterfront area “from the internet up”, to create a life more convenient for Canadian citizens.

It has been researching and studying examples of 150 smart cities, including Masdar, Abu Dhabi and Songdo, South Korea as part of its planning process.

Sensors to collect data

Sidewalk’s agreement with Waterfront Toronto is to cover a 12-acre site, although it’s planning to expand the area to 325 acres.

The city hopes to implement sensors that collect data from air quality, noise, traffic, waste collection and the performance of the electric grid – it will not be used for collecting information to monitor citizens’.

The company’s incentive is to also use self-driving cars controlled by apps to control the harbours transport; retractable plastic canopies to shelter people from rain; a pilot to help tenants reuse water from bathroom sinks, showers, baths and washing machines; as well as heated pedestrian and bike paths to melt snow.

Written by Leah Alger