Sidewalk Labs is one of Alphabet’s lesser known subsidiaries, but is inline with the other ‘bets’ given its plan to use “new technology to address big urban challenges.” One of the first projects is to revitalize Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront with the initiative possibly breaking ground in 2020.
In an interview with Reuters, Sidewalk CEO Daniel Doctoroff noted that testing for the Quayside neighborhood will start this summer, with the company hoping to begin in earnest by 2020. This smart city is essentially a “prototype” of technology that could improve housing, affordability, transportation, and energy usage.
For example, “people-centered street designs” will be coupled with several transportation options, while “adaptable buildings and new construction methods” will making housing and retail space more affordable. Meanwhile, an environmental focus will reduce energy and waste.
In October, the proposal from the Alphabet subsidiary was selected by the Canadian government. Doctoroff revealed a timeline that sees development plans finalized by the end of this year, with governmental approval throughout 2018. On the privacy front, the Sidewalk CEO noted how only information that can help improve the quality of life will be retained, and it will not be sold to advertisers.
Meanwhile, construction could begin in 2020 in this timeline with the first residents moving in “as early as 2022.” Google plans to bring its headquarters to the area to help further spur development.
In the short-term, Sidewalk is spending $50 million for testing in 2018, with a new office this summer to showcase future technology for the upcoming neighborhood.