Earlier this month it was reported that Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs wanted to build a city from the ground up to test its ideas before rolling them out on a more wide scale basis. Now, The Information reports that Sidewalk is moving forward with this plan, codenamed “Project Sidewalk.”
According to the report, Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff and his team will discuss the idea with Alphabet CEO Larry Page “in the coming weeks.” Should Page like the idea, Sidewalk could start getting bids from counties and states this year.
Sidewalk is said to be working with more than 100 city planning experts on this idea and is considering a handful of models, but the ultimate goal is to create an area that it can test new technologies before rolling them out to bigger cities. Sidewalk wants to test things like Internet, autonomous cars, public transport improvements, and much more.
Sidewalk is reportedly contemplating either owning the land itself or having another entity own it, but it plans for a district big enough that could fit “hundreds of thousands of people.” The report notes, however, that any bids made by counties could have an effect on the overall size of the project.
According to the report, Sidewalk has been studying areas around Detroit and Denver to learn how to handle things like housing, infrastructure, and policy. The cost of the initiative for Sidewalk would vary depending on help from local government, partners, and Alphabet, although as with all real estate ventures, there’s the potential to ultimately make a profit.
Earlier this month, Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff explained that it “would be a great idea” to build a city from scratch, but ultimately saying that he couldn’t elaborate any further. “Thinking about a city from the Internet up is really compelling, but cities are hard. You have people with vested interest, politics, physical space…But the technology ultimately cannot be stopped,” he said.
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