The new Quayside smart city development by Sidewalk Labs will be scaled back after a vote last week in Toronto. As the subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, Sidewalk Labs aimed to "unlock the potential" of the city’s Eastern Waterfront. The government agency responsible for development of the area, Waterfront Toronto, voted unanimously to limit the team’s original 190-acre plan to 12 acres.
This summer, Sidewalk Labs released the full 1,500 page development proposal for its Quayside neighborhood. After announcing plans to create a model smart city, Sidewalk Labs has been working to pioneer a new approach to future urban developments. Plans for Quayside were first revealed in 2018 as an interconnected smart neighborhood for the city. The company had previously stepped back its initial ambition to overhaul the entire eastern waterfront. The master plan previously outlined development for two distinct districts: Quayside neighborhood and the nearby 150-acre River District, which together were dubbed the Innovative Development and Economic Acceleration (IDEA) District. The two sites would have been used to test multiple projects and development ideas that the team unveiled for Toronto.
As the New York Times reports, local residents and advocates have spoken out against the project amid privacy concerns as the company plans to collect data as part of its smart city initiatives. Now, Waterfront Toronto is requiring that Sidewalk Labs must treat any information collected in the development as a public asset. The previous summer proposal showed a project that would include 12 timber towers with 2,500 residential units total, 1,000 of which would be rented at below-market rates and combine offices, shops and residences. The full 1,500 page proposal from this summer is available here.
Waterfront Toronto said it will consult further with the public and conduct a formal evaluation of the plan, which will determine whether the project can go forward.
News via New York Times