The Four Design Teams Shortlisted for Quayside Redevelopment

After Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs dropped the project, Toronto is evaluating other proposals for redeveloping their waterfront.

2 minute read

November 1, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Toronto Waterfront

JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Four design teams have been shortlisted to redevelop Toronto's Quayside, reports Donovan Vincent, each with their own unique vision for "the future of the empty 12-acre parcel of land that Google sister company Sidewalk Labs abandoned last year." After unveiling an ambitious plan for a 190-acre "tech-driven neighborhood," Sidewalk Labs drastically scaled back the 'smart city' project after encountering public opposition, then ended their involvement altogether in May 2020, citing financial concerns.

The winning team will be selected next year by Waterfront Toronto, and local advocates hope the winning design will "include public connections to the waterfront as well as vibrant spaces for recreation and cultural events," reports Vincent, in addition to condos and commercial spaces.

Vincent details the four teams and their past projects and accomplishments, which include the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture, Montreal's New Vic, and Amsterdam’s Silodam housing. An evaluation committee consisting of senior managers with Waterfront Toronto and representatives from the city and CreateTO "will make recommendations to a steering committee, which in turn will make a recommendation to Waterfront Toronto’s board of directors," Vincent writes.

The collapse of the Sidewalk Labs proposal could be a bellwether for 'smart city' projects, which promise to improve the efficiency, transparency, and functionality of cities through data and technology. Some critics see this algorithmic, data-drive approach as incompatible with the glacial pace of civic bureaucracy and the unpredictable nature of human behavior.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 in The Toronto Star

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