Waterfront Toronto was established in 2001 by the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, and the City of Toronto to lead the renewal of the city’s waterfront in becoming a world-class archetype of post-industrial innovative urban development.
Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company that uses new technology to address big urban challenges and improve quality of life in cities, bringing together the urbanists who led New York City’s post-9/11 revival with the technologists who made Google one of the world’s most innovative companies.
Sidewalk Toronto will begin with a new neighbourhood, called Quayside, located at Parliament Slip, just southeast of Downtown Toronto. Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto aim to bring the innovations advanced at Quayside to scale across the Eastern Waterfront, more than 325 hectares (800 acres) that represent one of North America’s largest areas of underdeveloped urban land.
After exploring opportunities all over the world, Sidewalk Labs responded to a Request for Proposals issued in March 2017 by Waterfront Toronto that sought an innovation and funding partner for the Eastern Waterfront, beginning with the development of Quayside. Several local and international firms submitted responses to Waterfront Toronto’s RFP, describing their vision, implementation plan, team strength and experience, and financial and technical capacity. Following a rigorous evaluation process, Waterfront Toronto selected Sidewalk Labs.
The Eastern Waterfront will be a new type of place that combines the best in urban design with the latest in digital technology to address some of the biggest challenges facing cities, including energy use, housing affordability, and transportation.
It will be a place that embraces adaptable buildings and new construction methods to make housing and retail space more affordable. A place where people-centred street designs and a range of transportation options make getting around more affordable, safe, and convenient than the private car. A place that encourages innovation around energy, waste, and other environmental challenges to protect the planet. A place where public spaces welcome families to enjoy the outdoors all day and all night and where community ties are strong. A place that’s enhanced by digital technology and data, without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves.
Knowing that great neighbourhoods aren’t planned from the top down, Sidewalk Toronto will create the conditions for a community to be built and innovations launched by people, companies, startups, academic centres, and local organizations over many years. Sidewalk Toronto aims to make the Eastern Waterfront the global hub of a new industry focused on urban innovation to improve the quality of city life, tapping into Toronto’s already-thriving tech sector and developing innovations that could benefit communities and neighbourhoods elsewhere in the city. To help get started, Alphabet plans to move Google’s Canadian headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront.
To start a public conversation about the future of the Eastern Waterfront, Sidewalk Labs has released the vision laid out in its response to Waterfront Toronto’s RFP. The response represents early thinking about what neighbourhoods of the future could look like — ideas we hope will now be shaped by a public conversation that involves all Torontonians.
@sidewalklabs seems to [be] engaging in the thoughtful, deliberate and purposeful manner that is essential. Still so excited about where #Toronto is…. and is heading! #innovation #future #cities@faizalkarmali