AP: Google Affiliate Scraps Plan for Toronto Smart City Project

AP: Google Affiliate Scraps Plan for Toronto Smart City Project. “Google abandoned its smart-city development in Toronto…after more than two years of controversy over privacy concerns and amid economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. A unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet had been proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto’s waterfront into a wired community, but Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff said in a statement that it is no longer financially viable.” This is somewhat old news — I am still catching up from my focusing more exclusively on coronavirus news — but I’m still shocked.

Engadget: Toronto rejects some of Sidewalk Labs’ smart neighborhood ideas

Engadget: Toronto rejects some of Sidewalk Labs’ smart neighborhood ideas. “Sidewalk Labs will have to cede a little more ground on its vision for Quayside, a planned smart neighborhood in Toronto. The company, which is owned by Google-parent Alphabet, published a draft version of its Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) last June.”

The Architect’s Newspaper: Sidewalk Labs is using machine learning to make neighborhood design smoother

The Architect’s Newspaper: Sidewalk Labs is using machine learning to make neighborhood design smoother. “Sidewalk Labs, the Alphabet subsidiary focused on urban technology, has been working on a new software tool for generating optimized city layouts. In an effort to combat the disconnect between various stakeholders in the urban planning process—architects, planners, engineers, and real estate developers—and their software, product manager Violet Whitney and designer Brian Ho have created a new computational tool that analyzes a wide array of data to automatically create thousands, or millions, of neighborhood layouts from a baseline design.”

SmartCitiesWorld: Sidewalk Labs to launch tool for designing the neighbourhoods of the future

SmartCitiesWorld: Sidewalk Labs to launch tool for designing the neighbourhoods of the future. “Sidewalk Labs has announced a new generative design tool that uses machine learning and computational design to generate ‘millions of comprehensive planning scenarios’. The Alphabet company’s product manager, Violet Whitney, and designer Brian Ho are developing the tool to help planning teams to fully evaluate and understand all the options available to them. The aim is for planners, architects and developers to make choices that best reflect local priorities.”

Boing Boing: Sidewalk Labs’ quiet plan for Canada’s banks to manage a national digital ID for health care and housing

Boing Boing: Sidewalk Labs’ quiet plan for Canada’s banks to manage a national digital ID for health care and housing. “I’m delighted to welcome Lilian Radovac back for another excellent piece on the digital surveillance shenanigans in Canada, which aren’t always as showy as their stateside counterparts, but are every bit as worrying. In this piece, Radovac reveals the buried plan for a finance-sector managed, all-surveilling National ID card buried in the latest massive wedge of largely unread documents from Google spin-out Sidewalk Labs (previously) that is building a controversial, privatised city-within-a-city in Toronto.”

Boing Boing: Leaked document reveals that Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto plans for private taxation, private roads, charter schools, corporate cops and judges, and punishment for people who choose privacy

Boing Boing: Leaked document reveals that Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto plans for private taxation, private roads, charter schools, corporate cops and judges, and punishment for people who choose privacy. “Tomorrow, Toronto’s City Council will hold a key vote on Sidewalk Labs’s plan to privatize much of the city’s lakeshore in the name of creating a ‘smart city’ owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Today, the Globe and Mail published a summary of Sidewalk Labs’s leaked ‘yellow book’, a 2016 document that lays out Sidewalk Labs’s vision for Toronto and future projects in Detroit, Denver, and Alameda.”

The Star: Indigenous elder slams ‘hollow and tokenistic’ consultation by Sidewalk Labs

The Star: Indigenous elder slams ‘hollow and tokenistic’ consultation by Sidewalk Labs. “An elder who participated in an Indigenous consultation and the architect who helped organize it are accusing Sidewalk Labs of a ‘hollow and tokenistic’ effort that completely ignored recommendations for its proposed Quayside development.”

BNN Bloomberg: Google parent is closer to a deal on Toronto’s Sidewalk Labs

BNN Bloomberg: Google parent is closer to a deal on Toronto’s Sidewalk Labs. “Sidewalk Labs LLC, the urban innovation unit of Alphabet Inc. and Waterfront Toronto, the public corporation in charge of the development, are finding common ground on a majority of contentious issues, according to people familiar with the discussions. The parties have been meeting ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline set by Waterfront to reach agreement on topics such as data privacy, land values and geographical boundaries, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.”

Boing Boing: Critical essays (including mine) discuss Toronto’s plan to let Google build a surveillance-based “smart city” along its waterfront

Boing Boing: Critical essays (including mine) discuss Toronto’s plan to let Google build a surveillance-based “smart city” along its waterfront . (The “Mine” in this case is Cory Doctorow.) “Toronto Life has run a great, large package of short essays by proponents and critics of the project, from Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff (no, really, that’s his name) to former privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian (who evinces an unfortunate belief in data-deidentification) to city councillor and former Greenpeace campaigner Gord Perks to urban guru Richard Florida to me.”

TechCrunch: Sidewalk Labs launches an app to crowdsource public space surveys

TechCrunch: Sidewalk Labs launches an app to crowdsource public space surveys . “Alphabet’s urban planning subsidiary announced today the launch of CommonSpace. The new app was created to give park operators and community members a place to enter and organize observations about parks and other public spaces.”

‘Not good enough’: Toronto privacy expert resigns from Sidewalk Labs over data concerns (CBC)

CBC: ‘Not good enough’: Toronto privacy expert resigns from Sidewalk Labs over data concerns. “A privacy expert who resigned this week from her role as an advisor to Sidewalk Labs, the Google sister company set to build a ‘smart’ neighbourhood on Toronto’s waterfront, is concerned that the “treasure trove” of data collected there will be vulnerable to attacks.”

Toronto Public Library: TPL’s Digital Archive collaborates with Sidewalk Labs

Toronto Public Library: TPL’s Digital Archive collaborates with Sidewalk Labs. “Close to 4,000 images from the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive have been added to the #OldTO website… Earlier this year, Sidewalk Labs collaborated with the City of Toronto Archives and used their image data to create a clickable map of Toronto to highlight digital images from their collections. “

Google’s Sidewalk Labs: What’s Up?

Wired has an overview of Google’s Sidewalk Labs. “So what’s coming now that the Sidewalk Labs team’s in place? Well, no one outside the effort knows yet. [Dan] Doctoroff wouldn’t talk about specific efforts, but says his team is getting involved in the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The contest invites medium-sized American cities to create comprehensive plans for how’d they’d use things like automated vehicles, on-demand services, and open data, for a $50 million prize to make it happen. Sidewalk Labs is working with 10 cities on their proposals, though Doctoroff wouldn’t say which ones.”