Google’s sister company Sidewalk Lab, another Alphabet Subsidiary, has long worked in order to achieve a dream many shared: that of a truly smart city. The first phase of that Sidewalk Lab project is focused on creating from scratch a neighborhood in Toronto, Canada.
Named “Quayside”, the new smart city neighborhood was just presented with multiple mock-ups and illustrations, revealing a grand plan of using a lot of engineered wood. According to Sidewalk Labs, using timber materials allows it to build cheaper structures that can be just as fire-proof and strong as steel or concrete. Indeed, that would have to be the case, since Sidewalk Labs actually wants to build towers as tall as 50 stories.
“It’s such an audacious concept to build this many buildings with 3 million square feet of timber all at once,” said Karim Khalifa from Sidewalk Labs in a Bloomberg report.
However, the challenge will be to obtain permits from the Toronto administration, which currently allows timber to be used for six stories tall buildings, not to mention the driverless car dispute. As you can see in the mockups, Toronto’s Quayside would be a very friendly place for autonomous vehicles but, in light of recent events, more regulation hurdles will have to be overcome. If smart homes are not enough for you and you want to find out what exactly a smart city would mean, watch Sidewalk Labs’ third public roundtable, it’s a fascinating discussion.