Cartoons like Futurama or The Jetsons like to imagine what futuristic cities will look like, but people seem to content with living in houses, on the ground, like serfs, to be willing to make cities like that a reality. At least, that is, until now! Google’s Alphabet is in works to develop what is being called a digital “future city” in Toronto.
Just what will this ‘City of the Future’ Be Like?
Where Will It Be?: “Quayside,” Toronto
How Large Will It Be?: 800+ acres
How Much Will It Cost?: Over $1 billion
Transforming a waterfront area called Quayside, this new digital city project, also known as “Sidewalk Toronto,” is expected to come complete with autonomous cars, sustainable energy, millions of sensors, and, most important of all, fast Wi-Fi availability. Reportedly, it is hoped that high-standing technology could help to control issues plaguing cities, like congestion, pollution and overcrowding.
That said, there is concern over whether or not cities realize just what they are getting out of the technological advancements. “Cities are trying everything they can to boost their economies and build infrastructure, but they have to realize that companies are not doing it for altruistic reasons – they are interested in generating profit for their shareholders,” said Robert Puentes, an urban planning expert from the United States think-tank, the Eno Centre for Transportation, according to the BBC.
“Cities need a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and they shouldn’t expect the private sector to do the job for them.”
On the other hand, “Sidewalk Toronto” also has support from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said in a statement, “Technologies that will help us build smarter, greener, more inclusive cities – which we hope to see scale across Toronto’s eastern waterfront and eventually in other parts of Canada and around the world.”
With the intention of setting an example around the world over technological advancement, the project also has some support in the United States. Former New York Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff added in a statement, “We believe Sidewalk Toronto can demonstrate to the world how to make living in cities cheaper, more convenient, healthier, greener, fairer, and even maybe more exciting.”