Sidewalk Toronto: The Future of Smart Cities

Drawing showing vision of Sidewalk Toronto and what it will look like. And, first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally, in addition because, so, due to, while, since and therefore last.

Google’s Vision of Sidewalk Toronto and Quayside (Sidewalk Labs)

What is Sidewalk Toronto?

Sidewalk Toronto is a collaboration between Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto to create a new, mixed-use, high-tech community on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront.

The project will start with the creation of Quayside, a brand new 12-acre neighborhood just southeast of downtown Toronto.

The state-of-the-art community will serve as a test bed for emerging technologies like self-driving vehicles, AI cameras, street sensors, and wooden skyscrapers.

Wood buildings and people and shops and so many other things.

Wooden skyscrapers will be a common sight at Quayside (Sidewalk Labs)

Sidewalk Labs is initially investing $50 million USD on a year-long planning and public consultation process.

This process will result in the Master Innovation Development Plan, laying the groundwork for the creation of Quayside.

After Quayside, the next phase of Sidewalk Toronto is to develop another 800-acres of the Eastern Waterfront.

6 Ways Quayside Will Revolutionize Cities:

1. Self-Driving Vehicles

Quayside and Sidewalk Toronto picture showing people, pets and greenery. What seems like, maybe, probably, almost most of all, most noteworthy, which is especially relevant.

Sidewalk Toronto will free up roads by prioritizing people over cars (Sidewalk Toronto)

Privately owned cars will be banned at Quayside. Instead, the neighborhood will use autonomous vehicles and public transit.

Not only are self-driving vehicles safer (due to less human error), but they are also cheaper and more convenient.

Furthermore, less traffic means less congestion, fewer accidents, and more room for people, transit, parks, etc

2. New Construction Materials and Methods

Picture of a building at Quayside and workers. So first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally, in addition to that thing.

Sidewalk Labs is experimenting with new building techniques (Sidewalk Labs)

Housing and real estate at Quayside will combine retail, residential and office spaces into one.

These radical mixed-use buildings will be designed using new construction methods and materials.

For example, Sidewalk Labs will use a process known as “modular construction.”

In modular construction, sections of a building are made in a factory, shipped, then assembled on-site.

Construction at Sidewalk Toronto, Quayside and Sidewalk Labs. And because of that, so, due to, while, since, therefore same, less, rather than nothing.

Here you can see Quayside’s use of multi-purpose spaces (Sidewalk Labs)

Not only does this cut down on construction time, it’s also less wasteful and more environmentally friendly.

Just as exciting is Sidewalk Labs’ use of specially treated wood for skyscrapers. These “timber towers” are strong, easy-to-build, sustainable, and affordable.

3. Smart Streets

Sidewalk Toronto and Quayside picture with people on top and robots in the bottom. Which as a result, hence, consequently, therefore, in conclusion seems like, maybe, probably the end.

Sidewalk Toronto will divide human from autonomous traffic (Sidewalk Labs)

Sidewalk Labs is experimenting with something it calls “The Dynamic Street.”

The goal is make streets more accessible, adaptable, easier to maintain, and environmentally friendly.

For example, The Dynamic Street uses hexagon-shaped “pavers” rather than concrete slabs.

These pavers can be removed and replaced within hours or minutes, thus cutting down on road closures due to construction.

Hexagon pavers at Quayside and Sidewalk Toronto. There are so many trees and, first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally, in addition because, so, due to, while, since then.

Hexagon pavers at Quayside – Note the absence of curbs (Sidewalk Labs)

They also distribute weight more evenly than square or rectangular shapes, so they’re less likely to break down.

Another possibility is the use of “light pavers.”

These light pavers use illumination to guide traffic, help street crossings, and designate areas for specific purposes.

4. Sustainable Infrastructure

Wood buildings and people.

Wood is a vital building material at Quayside (Sidewalk Labs)

One of the goals of Quayside is to create a “climate positive” neighborhood. It plans to do this by using technology and infrastructure which requires less energy and produces less waste.

For example, the use of “tall timber” as a construction material has many environmental benefits:

  • It’s lighter than steel or concrete, and therefore faster to transport
  • Concrete has to be poured on-site, whereas tall timber is shipped ready-to-use (thus reducing construction time)
  • Steel and concrete requires burning fossil fuels; tall timber actually removes carbon dioxide from the air

5. Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

Another image of Quayside in Sidewalk Toronto showing how almost everything connects.

Every street and building at Quayside will be connected by data (Sidewalk Labs)

According to Sidewalk Labs, the core of the future city lies in its “layer of digital infrastructure that provides ubiquitous connectivity for all.”

This digital infrastructure will offer insights on the city and encourage citizens to work together to solve local issues.

Quayside’s digital infrastructure highlights include:

  • Sensors that monitor air quality, noise level, electricity and water use and also guide their operations
  • AI cameras that can track cars, pedestrians and cyclists, adjusting traffic signals for greater safety and flow
  • Real-time transit data to cut wait times, reduce commutes, and increase use of public transportation

6. People-First Approach

Drawing of people, buildings and bicycles. The point is that Sidewalk Toronto and Quayside is more about people, less about tech.

At its core, Sidewalk Toronto is more about people than tech (Sidewalk Labs)

Despite its emphasis on technology, Quayside’s focus is on creating social connections and close-knit communities.

According to Sidewalk Labs:

By combining people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology, we can achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

Quayside plans to do this by:

  • Reclaiming streets for public use by prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists over cars
  • Lowering the cost of housing by applying new building methods and materials
  • Developing apps like Park Time to encourage families to use green spaces and form social connections
  • Doubling the time people spend outside through weather-proofing buildings and public spaces
  • Improving mobility for seniors, children and the disabled through better infrastructure


Another pic of Quayside and people and nature.

Quayside is the ideal mixed-use community (Sidewalk Labs)

The future of Smart Cities is right here in Toronto.

Google’s Sidewalk Labs is reimagining how we live, work, commute and play.

While the technologies and ideas that power Quayside are impressive, the ultimate goal is to create a “public realm that puts people first.”

Want to learn more about Sidewalk Toronto and Quayside? Contact me below for more details.


Wins Lai - Realtor - Toronto Real Estate Agent and Broker - Signature

Wins Lai – Toronto Realtor

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