Google parent-company Alphabet’s urban innovation unit has announced plans to develop a high-tech community from scratch in Toronto.
Bloomberg reports that Sidewalk Labs LLC, Alphabet Inc.’s urban innovation and development arm, plans to partner with Waterfront Toronto to transform the Toronto waterfront area into a high-tech innovation hub. The new city development plans to test out a number of new features and services such as green energy systems, self-driving cars and buses, and new construction techniques that may lower housing costs in the area.
Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt discussed the new urban development project at a media conference in Toronto on Tuesday. “This is the culmination of about 10 years of thinking about how technology can improve people’s lives,” said Schmidt. Sidewalk Labs’ Chief Executive Officer Dan Doctoroff and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also appeared alongside Schmidt at the media conference.
The project will span approximately 800 acres when it’s finished. Google has announced that their Canadian headquarters will be relocating to the area as well.
Sidewalk Toronto plans to spend most of 2018 consulting with the city’s inhabitants on the project, discovering what exactly is most needed within the Toronto community and developing a production plan alongside Waterfront Toronto.
Sidewalk Labs CEO Doctoroff said in a statement, “This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world.”