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Toronto To Be Home To Google Parent's Biggest Smart City Project Yet (techcrunch.com) 54

Sidewalk Labs, the smart city subsidiary of Alphabet (the parent company of Google) with the stated goal of "reimagining cities from the Internet up," now has a very big sandbox in which to conduct its high-tech experiments. From a report: That's obviously an ambitious project, but some of the groundwork is already being laid: Alphabet's Google will be the flagship tenant for the new neighbourhood, anchoring the easter waterfront, to be called "Quayside," and Sidewalk Labs has committed $50 million to kick off pilot testing and planning in partnership with the City of Toronto. Sidewalk Labs won the contract through its response to a Request for Proposals issues by Waterfront Toronto, and organization created by the Canadian federal government, the Ontario provincial government and the City of Toronto together to foster development of Toronto's lakefront areas in ways that address urban sprawl while respecting the realities of climate change and taking into account the ability of the city's residents to get around efficiently. The area involved in the RFP that Sidewalk Labs will work with the government coalition to develop spans around 800 acres (though 12 acres are specified for the initial project), and is one of the largest underdeveloped urban areas in any North American city, making it a good target for Sidewalk's ambitious vision, which involves building smart cities holistically from the very start. Ultimately, the partners hope to turn the area into a "place for tens of thousands of people to live, work, learn and play -- and to create and advance new ideas that improve city life," according to a release from Sidewalk.
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Toronto To Be Home To Google Parent's Biggest Smart City Project Yet

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  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    Something else Google can drop into place and then abandon...

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Yep, Google's millennial hotshots are great at big ideas, flashy launches, PR, and bold plans. What they're not so great at is physical implementation and long-term maintenance (you know, the actual hard work that can't be done with an app).

      Google Fiber anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @02:52PM (#55385297)

    which involves building smart cities holistically from the very start

    Toronto is well known for these planned communities that end up becoming total disasters. Regent Park [wikipedia.org] is a 1940s/1950s-era attempt at a planned community that failed. St. James Town [wikipedia.org] is a 1960s-era attempt at a planned community that failed. Crescent Town [wikipedia.org] is a 1970s-era attempt at a planned community that failed. Don Valley Village [wikipedia.org] is yet another 1960s/1970s-era attempt at a planned community that failed. Those areas became well-known as hotbeds of crime and poverty. Why should anyone expect this "building smart cities holistically from the very start" initiative to fare any better?

  • Please forgive my ignorance but what exactly is a 'smart city' ?
    • It's like the difference between a regular TV and a smart TV.

      So in a smart city, you can do cool stuff you can't do in a dumb city, but you risk bricking the city with every software update.

    • Please forgive my ignorance but what exactly is a 'smart city' ?

      Folks are getting dumber every day . . . just listen to the average person blabbing away innocuous nonsense very loudly on their cell phones in public.

      So in order to maintain our level of economic prosperity and standard of living, our fearless leaders are making cities smarter to balance out the dumber people.

      That's really nice of them.

      • So doors will open automatically so people don't want into them? And close more slowly so that they don't get hit in the ass? That kind of thing?
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @03:15PM (#55385443) Journal
    Is this just more places to live for rich people, and the middle class and poor can just bugger off? If so then GTFO, Google.
    • This is empty, former industrial land.

      • That should be rat infested, flood prone, empty, former industrial land. www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rats-toronto-population-increase-1.3627395
      • Doesn't matter if it's empty or not, really, if their 'smart city' is only going to be financially accessible to the rich, then I think it's a shitty idea.
      • ...and soon it'll be empty mixed-use land.

        I don't know how this goes down in Canada, but pretty much any planned stuff here in the UK ends up being a soulless, lifeless sort of thing. My problem with such places is that they never build in a cosy pub, or a cheap convenience store, or a kebab shop. Instead, they make a few commercial units and fill them with franchised chain places which have about the same atmosphere the inside of an Amazon warehouse. I mean, you can get a great apartment, maybe with a rive

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      If you really want places for the middle classes and poor to live, then you should support more density in your neighborhood.

      • If you really want places for the middle classes and poor to live, then you should support more density in your neighborhood.

        No thank you....

        I rather enjoy having a front and back yard and a covered driveway.

        I really enjoy having my own space in the back for my smoker and Big Green Egg, I like that I can set up my 3 tier all grain brewing system...have a patio table to enjoy time with friends and family.

        NO thank you, I don't really wanna live stacked on top of other people and sharing walls.

        That last

        • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

          I see, if your neighborhood allowed more density, you would be evicted from your house and forced to "live stacked on top of other people and sharing walls."

          Thanks for clearing that up!

      • Oh hey great idea, let's build huge high-rise apartment complexes full of affordable housing, it'll be quite the Project [wikipedia.org] I think.
    • In order to get the partnership, Google had to agree to 20% affordable housing, which in Toronto means rented out at less than 80% of the average rent for housing in Toronto. What that means for the rest of the area - no idea.

    • Oh no, they're gentrifying the landfill depot?! Where will the rats live?
  • I'd love to see them put in moving sidewalk lanes that could move fairly quickly. Maybe an outside lane that folks entered and exited on, a mid speed lane and a fast lane that went from point to point. Sure buses and trains do this, but this would be more fun.

    --
    "Speed Kills" - T.J. Benzueka

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The roads must roll!

  • Ubisoft Toronto (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dristoph ( 1207920 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @04:13PM (#55385847)

    Somewhat ironic choice of city; Ubisoft Toronto was the developer for Watch Dogs 2, a pretty fun game which explores the implications of ubiquitous "smart city" tech under the ownership of monolithic organizations.

  • A city that serves as a sandbox for Google? Sounds like a great place not to go.

    • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

      I'd hate to be a part of that smart city project when Google kills it, like Reader, Notes, Picasa, Google chat, and everything else they've shot in the head.

The computer is to the information industry roughly what the central power station is to the electrical industry. -- Peter Drucker

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