A Google Company Just Got Approved to Build a ‘Neighborhood of the Future’

July 31, 2018, 5:49 PM UTC

Sidewalk Labs—a subsidiary to Google’s parent company, Alphabet—received approval Tuesday to move forward with a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto.

The New York-based company has pledged $10 million for the planning process, Business Insider reports, and unlocked an additional $40 million in investment with Tuesday’s approval.

The entire project is expected to cost upwards of $1 billion, with self-driving cars and modular buildings that can be easily repurposed as the neighborhood grows.

The “neighborhood of the future” will be people-focused and energy efficient, the company says, aiming to provide a thriving city-center without the carbon footprint of most urban areas. Engadget reports the neighborhood plan also includes a network of sensors that collect data on noise, traffic, and pollution to improve designs.

The neighborhood, dubbed Quayside for its location by the wharf, was given a green light by the board of Waterfront Toronto, a public group designed to revitalize the city’s waterfront. The unanimous decision came only after one member resigned in protest, The Toronto Star reports. The remaining, however, said in a Twitter post that they’re looking forward to the project.

“We are excited to take this next step with Sidewalk Labs to set the stage for a transformational project on the waterfront that addresses many critical urban issues faced by Toronto and other cities around the world,” said the group Tuesday morning.

“I like the fact that Sidewalk is bringing a different approach that includes both planning and process, and community and technology together, rethinking how we build cities in the twenty-first century,” said Will Fleissig, CEO of Waterfront Toronto, in a promotional video.

Quayside is just the start to a larger project known as Sidewalk Toronto. According to Sidewalk Labs, the final product “will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centred neighbourhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.”

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