Alphabet has reportedly applied to develop a 12-acre strip in downtown Toronto, responding to a recent city agency request for proposals to revitalize the city’s waterfront.
Sidewalk Labs has spoken publicly creating a micro-city or district that could demonstrate its ideas for urban planning — which includes autonomous transit, high-speed internet, embedded sensors, and ride-sharing services — and building an urban zone “from the internet up.”
“I’m sure many of you are thinking this is a crazy idea,” Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff said at Smart Cities NYC last week. “We don’t think it’s crazy at all. People thought it was crazy when Google decided to connect all the world’s information. People thought it was crazy to think about the concept of a self-driving car.”
The city of Toronto has been working hard to promote its image of a tech-friendly city, with Mayor John Tory being a frequent champion of the startup ecosystem and launching the Civic Innovation office. It appears to be working as a number of US-based companies and organizations, including Uber and Techstars setting up shop in the area.
Earlier this year, Toronto received $500,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies to become a smarter city.