Will “to google” soon mean “to move to a Google-created city”? Sidewalk Labs is looking to create a new model for innovative urban growth

Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, wants to reimagine a modern city “from the internet up,” starting with a 12-acre piece of land in downtown Toronto.


“The future of cities lies in the way these urban experiences fit together and improve quality of life for everyone living, working and growing up in cities across the world,” Dan Doctoroff, founder and CEO of the company, said at the Smart Cities NYC conference last week. “Yet there is not a single city today that can stand as a model—or even close—for our urban future.”

To test out its vision, the company has applied to co-develop “Quayside,” a 12-acre plot of land that spans from Lake Shore Boulevard to the water. Waterfront Toronto, a government organisation, announced the call for proposals earlier this year. The details of Sidewalk Lab’s project have not been released yet.

“Our long-term aspiration for this vast area is to create vibrant, connected, climate positive, resilient and prosperous communities,” Waterfront Toronto said in the call for proposals. The officials declined to comment on how Google’s technology and Sidewalk Lab’s urban vision fits into this mission.

“I’m sure many of you are thinking this is a crazy idea: building a city new — the most innovative, urban district in the world, something at scale that can actually have the catalytic impact among cities around the world,” Doctoroff said at the conference. “We don’t think it’s crazy at all.”

Doctoroff was CEO of Bloomberg LP and worked as deputy major of New York City when Michael Bloomberg was mayor.

Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, wants to reimagine a modern city “from the internet up,” starting with a 12-acre piece of land in downtown Toronto.

“The future of cities lies in the way these urban experiences fit together and improve quality of life for everyone living, working and growing up in cities across the world,” Dan Doctoroff, founder and CEO of the company, said at the Smart Cities NYC conference last week. “Yet there is not a single city today that can stand as a model—or even close—for our urban future.”