Another Smart City Project, This Time It's Alphabet's Google in Toronto

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The city of Toronto and Sidewalk Labs call the larger project "Sidewalk Toronto".

Google's parent company, Alphabet, is officially building a futuristic mini-city along a 12-acre section of Toronto's eastern waterfront.

The next step for Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs is making a 2,000 acre smart neighborhood in Toronto. To jumpstart the development, Alphabet has already announced plans to bring Google's Canadian headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront.

"We have an opportunity to fundamentally change what urban life can be", said Doctoroff.

Schmidt noted that Google has been talking for years about finding a city where the company could implement its ideas and was increasingly aware that Canada "mattered an very bad lot more than we in Silicon Valley thought", thanks in part to pioneering research in machine learning and AI done in Toronto and Montreal - research that now forms the basis of the company.

Now an unassuming piece of low-slung industrial land, Waterfront Toronto outlined a vision for a residential and commercial development that is "climate positive" - meaning its carbon emissions clock in at less than zero - with 20 per cent of new housing units designated as affordable.

"A world leader in urban innovation, Sidewalk Labs will create a testbed for new technologies in Quayside". Prime minister Justin Trudeau said that the move is to make for "smarter, greener, more inclusive cities that he hopes will expand across Toronto and eventually the globe".

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Features of the new community listed in the statement include housing and workplaces for tens of thousands, "climate-positive energy systems that can deliver a new standard in sustainability" and self-driving transit.

In the proposal, Sidewalk offered an idea of what it envisions for the neighborhood.

A 220-page-long document outlining the Alphabet company's plans for Toronto's Eastern waterfront was released on Tuesday. Complete with waterfront beaches, parks and open public spaces, the community will also be a place for families to enjoy year-round.

"The reality is that you can produce all these documents [with smart city ideas] - and we tried here and here and here - but the reality is you need an actual city, you need some land", Schmidt said.

"This has to be a community conversation or else it won't be able to achieve the potential nor will it ultimately gain political acceptability to do things that are hopefully quite bold", said Sidewalk Lab's Doctoroff. Waterfront Toronto recently received a $1.25 billion (CAD) investment by federal, provincial, and municipal governments to revitalize the area with critical infrastructure and flood protection.

This process will begin with a community town hall meeting on November 1.

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