The battle for Toronto's smart city

The battle for Toronto's smart city

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Sidewalk Labs is working hard to revive public confidence in its plans to build a smart city in Toronto. The Alphabet-owned has just released a 1,500-page report – also known as the Master Innovation and Development Plan – detailing its ambitions for the waterside neighbourhood.

The company aims to kickstart the $1.3bn project with 10 buildings and 2.7 million square feet of residential and commercial space and later expand to more of Toronto's waterfront.

It wants to use wood for most of the buildings and the new structures would be adaptable loft spaces with floor plates for both residential and commercial use. There would also be flexible wall panelling to aide renovations and cut down on vacant periods.

Sidewalk Labs reckons its initiative can make city living more desirable with, green buildings,  less pollution and shorter commutes, and that means self-driving cars, public Wi-Fi, innovative healthcare solutions.

"We think you can actually produce a dramatic impact in urban life, that this can be a global hub for the urban innovation industry,” says Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff.

According to one estimate, the project could create 44,000 jobs and generate $4.3 billion in annual tax revenue for the Canadian city.

SIDEWALK TORONTO UPDATE: Not everyone is impressed by those numbers.  A few months ago, the #Blocksidewalk Campaign launched a petition to put a halt to the project and undertake a fresh start for the initiative. The pressure group says, “Toronto’s tech sector is booming, and will continue to do so with or without Sidewalk Labs”.

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