Confusion As Google Set To Build Smart City In Toronto

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Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, has published its plans to build a smart city in Toronto, sparking fresh controversy.

In a 1,500-word document, the company laid out its ambitions to “improve the urban environment” with a variety of high-tech innovations.

Waterfront Toronto, the body that will decide if the bid is successful, has questioned the proposals.

Meanwhile, some citizens want the plans to be scrapped entirely.

The partnership between Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto was announced in 2017 and the plans to revitalise a disused part of the city was intended to be a model for future urban development.

But citizens expressed concerns about becoming “lab rats” and questioned Sidewalk Labs’s motivations in building a city “from the internet up”.

A group called simply Block Sidewalk held meetings to express growing concern about having a huge technology company making decisions about city life
The group has called a meeting on 3 July to discuss the plans.

Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff remained upbeat about its intentions, saying it wanted to create “something extraordinary” on Toronto’s eastern waterfront.

“The proposal aims to create the neighbourhood of the future in the right kind of way with people at its centre and with cutting edge technology and forward-thinking urban design,” he said.

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