Technology 2 min read

Google Receives Go Signal to Build Smart City in Canada



Google has gotten the green light to create a smart city in Canada. To be specific, the Waterfront Toronto board is allowing a Google-affiliate, Sidewalk Labs, to turn an area of Toronto into a tech Utopia.

For a while now, Sidewalk Labs have been working on ways to innovate future urban developments.

Back in 2017, the company won a contract to develop a disused area in Toronto. It then submitted a 1,524-page proposal to the government agency responsible for the development of the area.

While the proposal entails building a mix of offices, retail spaces, and homes, it also features high-tech solutions for urban issues like waste and traffic.

Building a Smart City in Canada

As exciting as it may seem to make a smart city in Canada, the project has enjoyed its fair share of controversies.

First, Sidewalk Labs proposed putting data-collecting sensors around the city, which the board promptly rejected. Aside from data collection, other proposed features include heated roads and an underground delivery system.

However, the Waterfront Toronto board pointed out that some of these proposed features may be overkill. They criticized and described it as “tech for tech’s sake.”

In the end, the Waterfront Toronto permitted Sidewalk Labs to develop 12 acres, instead of the requested 190 acres.

In a statement to the press, Sidewalk Labs said:

“We are encouraged by today’s decision by the Waterfront Toronto board and are pleased to have reached alignment on critical issues with Waterfront Toronto.”

According to the urban innovation company, the smart city could provide 44,000 jobs and affordable housing to 5,000 people within three to four years. Also, residents would enjoy shorter commute times.

Finally, SideWalk Labs stated that the district would be the new standard for a healthy planet, cutting greenhouse gases by 89 percent.

The Challenges With Creating a High-Tech City

Unsurprisingly, building a smart city in Canada raises privacy concerns. While the board rejected Sidewalk Labs’s proposal to collect data, some advocates have expressed reservations about the smart city.

According to the Times, a citizen opposition group, Block Sidewalk, doesn’t want a tech company to govern a city. As such, it demanded that a complete cancellation of the project.

With that said, the smart city construction is not a done deal. There’s still a final formal evaluation of the project as well as public consultation in March 2020.

Read More: Greece’s First Smart City is Showing us the Future of Living

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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