Alphabet’s smart neighborhood could have shape-shifting ‘superblocks’

Too many cities are built around cars rather than people. Sidewalk Labs, an offshoot of Google’s parent company Alphabet, wants its smart neighborhood in Toronto to be different. It’s considering a so-called superblock concept, modeled after Barcelona’s, that bundles smaller streets together and limits vehicles to the perimeter. The smaller lanes inside each superblock would then become safer, quieter spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Sidewalk Labs wants to go a step further, though, with real-time traffic monitoring and movable street furniture. These would allow the company to create smart, dynamic superblocks that subtly change with the time of day and needs of its residents.