HAGGART and TUSIKOV: Sidewalk Labs’ smart-city plans for Toronto are dead. What’s next?

Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, and Natasha Tusikov, Assistant Professor of Criminology at York University, co-wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about lessons that can be learned from the failed partnership between Google company Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto.

They write:

“On May 7, the Google company Sidewalk Labs announced that it was withdrawing from its partnership with Waterfront Toronto, and its plans to create a smart-city neighbourhood called Quayside. 

The surprise announcement — attributed by Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel L. Doctoroff to ‘unprecedented economic uncertainty’ produced by the current COVID-19 pandemic — brings to a close one of the most bizarre and ill-conceived policy debacles we’ve ever come across.

It is hard to exaggerate the extent to which the entire Quayside development was not just a mess, but an obvious mess. This was a multi-billion-dollar deal between a land-development agency with no previous experience with foundational smart-city issues like data and intellectual property and a tech company created in 2015, with no track record in urban development.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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