The world’s first neighborhood built from the internet up


Google’s parent company, Alphabet Incorporated, gathered at a press conference October 17 to announce that they are expanding their realms of technological innovation towards urban development to create “Sidewalk Toronto.” Alphabet teamed up with the city of Toronto to use advanced technology to build a neighborhood with the ultimate goal of creating a more sustainable society.
Toronto is offering Alphabet 800 acres of waterfront property, according to The New York Times. With this property, urbanists and technologists have a chance to use cutting-edge technology for urban design and construction.
To commence this project, Alphabet created Sidewalk Labs, a company that designs, tests, and builds urban innovations to help cities address challenges, according to The goal of Sidewalk Labs is to serve as a beacon for cities around the world, starting with Toronto.

The image of Sidewalk Labs’ vision for Sidewalk Toronto.
Courtesy of The New York Times

Through Sidewalk Toronto, the company strives to offer purposeful, long-term solutions to improve sustainability, affordability, and mobility for city residents.
This will not be a place where we deploy technology for its own sake, but rather one where we use emerging digital tools and the latest in urban design to solve big urban challenges in ways that we hope will inspire cities around the world,” Sidewalk Labs Chief Executive Officer Mr. Dan Doctoroff said, according to
In order to build a sustainable city, Alphabet plans to incorporate highly efficient buildings. The new building designs target aspects of home-life that require a great amount of energy, such as heating and cooling.  In fact, the company believes Sidewalk will be able to reduce average building-related energy consumption by 25 percent with the proposed buildings, according to
Alphabet’s Nest thermostat is one example of applying technological principles to improve efficiency. Nest will control heating and cooling in single-family homes, providing an automatic source of energy management.  It will be implemented in buildings to reduce thermal and electric energy use by controlling these aspects of the building based on human need.
Additionally, in alternative settings, such as a conference room in office buildings, Nest can turn off screens and devices when a central calendar does not show a scheduled meeting that would call for the use of the screens.
Another variable critical to the success of daily life is managing waste. Sidewalk Toronto has set a goal to divert 70 percent of recyclables and organics by 2026 and reduce landfill waste by over 90 percent.  Sidewalk has four strategies to accomplish this, according to
First, macerators incorporated into every kitchen will feed organic waste into a more environmentally friendly waste system instead of sewers. Industrial, self-controlling pallets will facilitate solid waste removal through utility channels that connect residential basements to central waste facilities. This will create a direct and easy way to separate out organics.
The new energy efficient home design of Sidewalk Toronto. Courtesy of

In multi-family residences, Sidewalk Toronto will implement the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) structures. This incentivizes lower waste-generation rates by using three-bin separation components with which previous diversion rates have been low.
Third, below-ground utility channels will transport trash in order to reduce the traffic impact of garbage collection and reduce associated emissions. 
Lastly, Alphabet will provide houses with a system to locally recover and process organic waste. This system will process waste and generate heat for the thermal grid.
However, there is still doubt about the likelihood of Sidewalk Toronto succeeding as many other attempts for initiatives similar to Sidewalk Toronto have failed due to governmental limitations, lack of money, or a lack of consumers who are willing to try something new, according to Nonetheless, Mr. Doctoroff’s confidence in the success of Sidewalk remains strong.
-Karina Badey, Arts and Entertainment Editor