With the project planned since 2017, Sidewalk Labs would build an internet-connected area with driverless cars and sensors everywhere on Toronto’s beach.
Under the roof of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Sidewalk Labs announced that it was unplugging the smart city project planned to be realized in Toronto. The company said that the reason for the project’s cancellation was due to economic uncertainties.
Sidewalk Labs developed a proposal for a futuristic, data-driven city development along the lake shore in downtown Toronto. Sidewalk Labs was working with Waterfront Toronto, a government-run institution that plans to vote on whether to approve the final offer in June on this project. The project has been the target of criticism arrows for a long time due to data privacy concerns.
Sidewalk Labs caused an uproar when it proposed to take a share of property taxes and development fees to finance the project. In October last year, the project entered the consultation phase on privacy results and other commercial practices. The decision had to be taken in March, but due to the pandemic, the deadline was postponed to 25 June.
Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff explained that they did not find the 12-acre (5 hectare) project financially viable without sacrificing the essential parts of the plan they developed, as there was an unprecedented economic uncertainty in the world and the Toronto real estate market.
With the project planned since 2017, Sidewalk Labs would build an internet-connected area with driverless cars and sensors everywhere on Toronto’s beach. The project initially included a small light rail transit system, 2,500 residences, 40 percent of which would be below the market price, and a long timber mill, which is expected to create employment for 4,000 people.
Despite the end of the project, the company said it is still determined to move forward with other projects, including factory-made mass wood construction.