Smart Cities

From the Sidewalk of the City to the Sidewalk of the Building

The pandemic has been incredibly disruptive to the real estate sector, and perhaps the biggest cancellation of the COVID-19 era so far is Google’s Sidewalk Labs project in Toronto. The Quayside redevelopment project was still in planning phases and held back by a resolute citizen movement that focused on issues of data privacy and corporate control of typically government services. Despite impressive designs and bold PR campaigns by Google, local resistance may have been enough to stop the project, however, in the end it was the COVID-19 outbreak and economic downturn that put the final nail in the coffin for the smart city start-up’s first major venture. “As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan,” Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff said as part of an official statement. […]

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