Sidewalk's city vision
Alphabet is pressing on with its plans to develop a smart city from the ground up. Dan Doctoroff, head of the company’s Sidewalk Labs urban technology unit, last week told the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association that it wants to build a new city, within part of an existing metro, “of sufficient size and scale that it can be a laboratory for innovation on an integrated basis.”
The outfit says it has made good progress in its quest for a partner city with which to build a trial site aimed at exploring new ways of tackling infrastructure and transport issues. However, Doctoroff pointed out that Sidewalk Labs was not looking for public subsidies for the project. This is in sharp contrast with Amazon’s hunt for a second headquarters in North America.
The outfit earlier this year showed interest in Toronto’s call for help in building a waterfront community, Quayside, on a 12-acre site in the centre of the city. The authorities are looking to create an emerging tech hub at the location and are expected to the winning bidder shortly. In fact, Toronto Mayor John Tory now reckons his city ought to be a prime candidate for the new Amazon HQ, though at a site other than Quayside.
As always, Alphabet would like to change the future world. “There is not a single city today that can stand as a model – or even close – for our urban future,” Doctoroff told a New York smart cities audience back in May.
Image: Sidewalk Labs