Sidewalk Labs to weigh suggestions from panel for Toronto smart city project

TORONTO Sidewalk Labs says it is keen on reviewing and perhaps even implementing recommendations made by a panel of millennials for the Alphabet Inc.-backed company’s proposed high-tech community in Toronto.

A notional drawing of Sidewalk Toronto's much-touted public realm plan. Image via Sidewalk Labs.
A notional drawing of Sidewalk Toronto’s much-touted public realm plan. Image via Sidewalk Labs.

Recommendations from the panel touch on the project’s data and privacy measures, housing strategy, transit policies and design techniques.

When it comes to data, the panel wants Sidewalk Labs to address meaningful consent to data collection in public spaces, maintain an open data portal to encourage innovation for the public good and establish an independent data trust to manage all data collected.

On the real estate front, the panel is suggesting Sidewalk Labs provide affordable housing in perpetuity, set ambitious low- and mid-range housing targets and establish an affordable housing fund to champion, finance and operate its developments.

The panelists are also asking for public art to be infused into the project, outdoor spaces to be built with maximum usage for rain and snow and the city’s transit network to be expanded in a way that ensures it, cycling and walking are more convenient than driving.

Sidewalk Labs’s project has been marred in controversy for months with critics complaining about poor data policies and a lack of transparency around what Sidewalk Labs is planning for the space.

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