Sidewalk Labs Cancels Smart City Plans for Quayside on Toronto Waterfront

The high-profile experiment in smart city planning and technology seems to have suffered a final setback.

May 7, 2020, 8:15 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Quayside, Toronto

George Socka / Shutterstock

Daniel L. Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, posted on Medium this morning to announce that the company is no longer moving forward with its smart cities partnership with Waterfront Toronto.

Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, had been working to plan and redesign the Quayside district, a 12-acre parcel in Toronto, since 2017.

Sidewalk Labs released the Master Plan for the project in June 2019, encountered controversy, and then scaled the project back in October 2019. In February 2020, the project seemed to have a breakthrough after winning approval from Waterfront Toronto for several large components of the project. The coronavirus delayed hearings on the project in April, and then this news.

Doctoroff explains the decision to cancel the project as a symptom of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus public health crisis. "But as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market," writes Doctorff, "it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community."

Sidewalk Labs isn't gone for good, however, as Doctorff expresses continuing belief in the concepts of smart city technology, especially in light of the current crisis, and touts the company's other products.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Sidewalk Labs

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