Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The development is being designed as a model for the smart and sustainable cities of the future.
In 2017, Waterfront Toronto issued a request for proposals that identified the need for “new and innovative partnerships, funding and investment models” in an era of constrained government resources. It called for an innovation and funding partner that would be not just a developer, but a partner to work alongside Waterfront Toronto—and the three levels of government it represents—to conceive and execute a forward-looking vision for the eastern waterfront, an underserved area of the city. The focus was on affordability, livability and mobility, essentially seeking a new model for urban development.
Google's Sidewalk Labs was selected by Waterfront Toronto as Innovation and Funding Partner, and the Sidewalk Toronto project launched in October 2017. Shortly thereafter, the project teams began to solicit a wide range of feedback from residents, researchers, community leaders and government agencies across the city. This unprecedented level of preliminary public input helped shape the plan. Their initial investment proposal is $1.3 billion for the primary development of a 4.8-hectare waterfront property into a residential-focused "smart city" called Quayside.
Sidewalk Labs' proposal envisions an integrated community with affordable housing, autonomous vehicles and a wide array of community services. The initial residential buildings proposed are high-rise engineered wood structures that are completely sustainable LEED-certified buildings. Roadways will be outfitted with sensors and focused on both autonomous transportation with bike- and pedestrian-friendly areas. Targeting a wide range of inhabitants, from creative to business, the development is being designed as a model for the smart and sustainable cities of the future.