Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs to build 'internet city' on Toronto waterfront

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"We are thrilled to announce Sidewalk Toronto, our joint effort with WaterfrontToronto to create a new kind of neighborhood mixing people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology", Sidewalk Labs said in a statement.

"Today's announcement is about creating a new type of neighbourhood that puts people first", Prime Minister Trudeau explains.

Hinton, who attended the announcement, is also an engineering fellow at Google and heads the Silicon Valley company's artificial intelligence research project in Toronto. "Or a new urban innovation institute, home to a campus of entrepreneurs itching to solve the toughest problems facing cities", Sidewalk said.

"We looked all over the world for the ideal place to bring this vision to life, and we found it here in Toronto".

Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc., has signed a development deal with Waterfront Toronto to create Quayside, a 12-acre district that is expected to be just the start of Google's involvement with the area. A cosmopolitan city with a strong tech workforce, it remains to be seen whether Alphabet's play here will positively or negatively impact any potential Amazon decision, especially considering how the company enjoys its position in Seattle as top tech dog.

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The Sidewalks Lab in Toronto is being touted as the first "smart city built from the ground up". To kick off the revitalization, Alphabet plans to move Google Canada's Richmond St. headquarters to the Eastern Waterfront.

In March, Waterfront Toronto, which was created by the three levels of government to oversee transformation of waterfront land, announced it was seeking a "funding and innovation" partner to create a complete community along the water near Bonnycastle Street and Queen's Quay East.

The neighbourhood will encourage innovation around energy, waste, and other environmental challenges, as well as become a space enhanced by digital technology and data. It envisions an "internal robot delivery system" for all businesses and residents in the Quayside area of Toronto, and will seek to expand it further. "Toronto is the ideal place for Alphabet and Sidewalk Labs to do something impactful that we hope will foster new ideas that can be applied by cities around the world".

This process will begin with a community town hall meeting on November 1.

"The reality is that you can produce all these documents [with smart city ideas] - and we tried here and here and here - but the reality is you need an actual city, you need some land", Schmidt said.

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