Canada: Sidewalk Labs is under pressure to explain its smart city dream in Toronto

Canada: Sidewalk Labs is under pressure to explain its smart city dream in Toronto

Sidewalk Labs, the part of Alphabet focused on smart cities, is behind schedule. The company had planned to publish its grand vision for Quayside, a 12-acre site on Toronto’s industrial waterfront, in the fall of 2018. Last June, however, the first version of its crucial Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) was pushed back to early 2019. “It will be a comprehensive document, but still a work-in-progress,” a press release clarified at the time. A complete MIDP would then be published in “spring 2019,” the company said, following a public roundtable.

The draft version of the MIDP is yet to materialize. And for many, it’s been an agonizing wait. Waterfront Toronto, a public steward created by the Canadian government, announced its search for an innovation and funding partner back in March 2017. Sidewalk Labs put its name forward with a beautiful “vision” document that suggested, among other head-turning ideas, buildings made from timber, a flexible thermal grid and subterranean tunnels for deliveries and garbage disposal. The company won the bid in October and has spent the past 18 months researching those ideas, consulting with experts and gathering public feedback.