Cracks in the Sidewalk

SIDEWALKContributed by Andre Bermon. At the foot of Parliament Street, a tech giant seeks a futuristic, data driven “smart city,” the likes of which Toronto has never seen. In October 2017, Sidewalk Labs, the urban design division of Google, announced a plan with city agency Waterfront Toronto to transform a 12-acre property, known as Quayside, into a laboratory for experimentation in new urban technologies.

 
The purpose of these new technological innovations is to collect and process the data of a controlled urban environment. Various sensors will track, analyze and inevitably predict urban activity such as vehicle and pedestrian traffic, waste management, air quality and noise pollution. To sweeten the deal, Quayside promises to include Google’s new Canadian HQ, affordable housing and green built communities.

 
Infrastructure projects are key to the area’s mobility. Sidewalk Labs has recently proposed financing a large portion of an LRT network to ferry resident and office workers in and out of the eastern waterfront. A deal that lands Google a portion of future property taxes and developer fees in appreciating land value. Specially designed streetscapes will accommodate the testing of autonomous taxi and bus vehicles, a product of utmost importance to the private sector’s transportation agenda.

 
For Sidewalk Labs, data collection is only a means to an end. In order to perfect the full potential of Google’s urban programme a larger scale testbed must be created. Sidewalk Labs’ vision extends beyond the 12-acre plot of Quayside as it plans to incorporate an additional 800 acres of Toronto waterfront. Afterwards Google will move to implement similar enterprises beyond and cement its grip as a power player in the future of urban design.

 
If a society is to reflect the sensibilities of its citizens, it is imperative that a common understanding be realized as to who and what influences our surroundings. However, when the sovereignty of our waterfront is threatened by the notion of a private-public partnership predicated on monetization models and experimentation, the collective needs of the people cannot remain secondary when business alone dictates the future of urban planning.
Toronto’s eagerness to become “world class,” an epicentre of tech, entertainment and high finance, has produced unwieldy relationships with foreign enterprise. The city must re-examine its priorities or risk losing the future independence of our neighbourhoods and communities to faceless global conglomerates.

TwitterGoogle+FacebookLinkedInDiggStumbleUponBlogger PostDeliciousShare

Other News

gallery-arcturus

Gallery Arcturus Cover

Ed Drass is a former writer for daily newspapers who now acts as guide for   visitors to Gallery Arcturus, a not-for-profit contemporary art exhibition centre funded and operated by The Foundation for … [Read More...]

PSN22-aug-cover

Hello Readers

Coming out of the summer, our September edition can always be a toss-up. We usually feature all the Cabbagetown festival stuff...but the Bia has something exciting planned. We received some great … [Read More...]

duncin-fremlin-gordon-sinclair

(no title)

Maybe it’s because I’m the son of a man born in 1906, shortly after Queen Victoria died.  Dad was sired out of a mixed marriage between a Scot from Inverness and an Anglo from Kent.  There’s something … [Read More...]

ward11-university-rosedale

Why Not Pete Lovering?

Contributed by Pete Lovering , PSN Publisher and now officially a politician. Although many people have suggested I run in the Toronto Centre over the years, I have decided to throw my hat in the ring … [Read More...]

rogerandco

Fall Find – Rogers & Company

Contributed by David Lavictoire, Brand Associate, Rogers & Company  The days might be starting to shorten, but it’s still too early to break out the parkas! Celebrate the end of summer with these … [Read More...]

wallied

Sunday in the Park – August 14th

Contributed by Walied Khogali Ali, Co-Chair - Community Building Working Group - SDP. On Sunday, August 14th 2022 - thousands of residents attended the beloved community celebration known as Sunday in … [Read More...]

parkscape-3

If it Sounds Too Good to be True

Contributed by Virginia Gallop, Executive Director, Cabbagetown BIA. Photo credit Marion Voysey Photography. We all know that old adage, and how rarely does it ever fail to be the case. I’m not … [Read More...]

Conciliabule Berkeley1

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Cabbagetown is a neighbourhood of beauty, heritage, cultural diversity and inclusion. We are Anita Bostok and Norman Hathaway and we’re proud to contribute this regular feature where you get to know … [Read More...]

Tony-Lafazanis

Suing A Loved one

Contributed by Tony Lafazanis www.TLLawCanHelp.com In Ontario, there seems to be a taboo about bringing a legal claim against a loved one. Litigation is seen as conflict, so bringing a claim against … [Read More...]

daycare-training

Daycare Connection

Partnering with Caregivers and Families to Provide Access to the Canada-Wide National Childcare Plan.  At Daycare Connection one of the comments we hear is how challenging navigating the childcare … [Read More...]

don-vlley-art-club

Nice to get feedback

Hi Peter, Although my email to you has been slow in getting out, the tardiness does not reflect our immense gratitude to you and the Parliament Street News. We appreciate your willingness to work … [Read More...]

fatoush1

Getting To Know you

Cabbagetown is a neighbourhood of beauty, heritage, cultural diversity and inclusion. We are Anita Bostok and Norman Hathaway and we’re proud to contribute this regular feature where you get to know … [Read More...]

cabbagetown-farmers-market

Cabbagetown Farmers Market

Contributed by Ellie Ruggles, Market Manager, Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market. - Mark your calendars! The first market day for the Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market will be Tuesday June 14 from 3pm – 7pm, rain … [Read More...]