Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto waterfront smart city raises dystopian concerns

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Sidewalk&rsquo;s vision for Quayside &mdash; as a place populated by self-driving vehicles and robotic garbage collectors, where the urban fabric is embedded with cameras and sensors capable of gleaning information from the phone in your pocket &mdash; certainly sounds Orwellian. Yet the company contends that the data gathered from fully wired urban infrastructure is needed to refine inefficient urban systems and achieve ambitious innovations like zero-emission energy grids.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Last fall Sidewalk Labs, a <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Google</a>-affiliated company, announced plans to build a new <a href="" rel="nofollow" >smart city</a> model on 12 acres of the <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Toronto</a> waterfront named Quayside. The design would include infrastructure with sensors and data analytics with the claim of building an overall more streamlined, economical, and green urban space. Sidewalk Labs' partnership with Canada is the beginning of an urban model they hope to expand globally.&nbsp;&nbsp;
While the goal may look utopian, many see an ominous future where governance is threat rather than the projected promise of urban innovation. Concerns center around tech monopolies, the collection and commodification of city data, and a democratic process of decision making for our environments.

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