Between The Jetsons and Black Mirror: Google Reveals New Plan For Smart City

Google’s urban-innovation lab has unveiled new, people-first plans for the redevelopment of Toronto’s Quayside. Sidewalk Labs, a unit of Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, is aiming to build a future-cities concept that majors on the public realm, ditching cars.

“Torontonians want more affordable housing, faster ways to get around the city, safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, [and] a cleaner and healthier environment,” says a statement from Jesse Shapins, Sidewalk Labs’s director of public realm.

She adds: “What we’re planning here is neither cheerful science fiction?—?like The Jetsons?—?nor dark and dystopian?—?like Black Mirror.”

The smart-city plan for Toronto’s waterfront was first unveiled last fall, but the built-from-the-internet-up development has been rocked by privacy issues. The new plan proposes an independent Civic Data Trust for all captured data, guaranteeing that “no one has a right to own information collected from Quayside including Sidewalk Labs.”