Recently CEG developed a proposal to compete in Amazon’s contest for siting its new business complex. Amazon is not alone, as Alphabet (Google) will build a new digital city in Toronto, Canada to be known as Sidewalk, Toronto. Google, also owned by Alphabet will relocate its Canadian headquarters to the redevelopment site. Its object is to turn the waterfront area into a high-tech neighborhood with a range of “smart” technology. This “future” city will likely offer fast wi-fi availability, sustainable energy, countless sensors and self driving vehicles. Tech companies are already promoting their hardware and software while urban planers address issues of pollution, congestion and overcrowding.
Urban planning expert Robert Puentes said, “that partnerships between public and private companies could bring benefits. But he also warned cities that they need to be sure about what they will be getting out of the deal”. Cities are trying everything they can to boost their economies and build infrastructure, bt they have to realize that companies are not doing it for altruistic reasons-they are interested in generating profit for their shareholder, Puentes said. “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.”
The 800-acre Quayside area in Toronto is one of the larges underdeveloped urban areas in North America. It will be interesting to see if the new technologies generated by Alphabet will help build smarter, greener, more inclusive cities.