Sidewalk Toronto at Quayside | ?m | ?s | Sidewalk | Snøhetta

smably

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No comment on the article itself, but there's some shoddy fact checking in there:
Long abandoned, the land features an old grain elevator, a gravel parking lot and an emergency shelter for the homeless.
I assume the "old grain elevator" is the Victory Soya Mills silos, which a quick search could have confirmed are not part of the site.
 

3Dementia

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Anyone else notice the irony in Sidewalk's cancellation of heated Sidewalks... one of the sleight of hand goodies to mitigate data collection discussions. Sorry but some things in this epic debate hit my funny-bone.
 

ushahid

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havent seen it before.
side.png
 

Edward Skira

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A letter from Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff
In October 2017, Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto set out to plan a shared vision for Quayside, a fundamentally more sustainable and affordable community resulting from innovations in technology and urban design. Since the project began, I've met thousands of Torontonians from all over the city, excited by the possibility of making urban life better for everyone.

So it is with great personal sadness and disappointment that I share that Sidewalk Labs will no longer pursue the Quayside project.

For the last two-and-a-half years, we have been passionate about making Quayside happen — indeed, we have invested time, people, and resources in Toronto, including opening a 30-person office on the waterfront. But as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community. And so, after a great deal of deliberation, we concluded that it no longer made sense to proceed with the Quayside project, and let Waterfront Toronto know yesterday.

While we won't be pursuing this particular project, the current health emergency makes us feel even more strongly about the importance of reimagining cities for the future. I believe that the ideas we have developed over the last two-and-a-half years will represent a meaningful contribution to the work of tackling big urban problems, particularly in the areas of affordability and sustainability. This is a vital societal endeavor, and Sidewalk Labs will continue our work to contribute to it.

On these fronts, we’ve already started innovative companies addressing urban mobility, next-generation infrastructure, and community-based healthcare, and invested in startups working on everything from robotic furniture to digital electricity. We continue to work internally on factory-made mass timber construction that can improve housing affordability and sustainability, a digital master-planning tool that can improve quality of life outcomes and project economics, and a new approach to all-electric neighborhoods.

The Quayside project was important to us, and this decision was a difficult one. Words cannot capture my appreciation for the work of the entire Sidewalk Labs team, who have given so much to bring our shared vision for Quayside to life.

We owe particular thanks to everyone at Waterfront Toronto for their efforts. They have worked tirelessly alongside us to shape Quayside in the best interests of the city. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to the devoted public servants at all three levels of government who were involved in this project for their willingness to pursue big ideas while always looking out for the public good.

Finally, we are grateful to the countless Torontonians who contributed to the project, and for the support we received from community groups, civic leaders, and local residents. Sidewalk Labs was attracted to Toronto by the diversity, growth, and opportunity the city has to offer, and that view has been affirmed and strengthened at every step along the way. Toronto is one of the world’s great centres of technological innovation, and nothing about this decision will in any way diminish that.
 

ADRM

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There's also nothing to say that whatever eventually winds up getting built here isn't as good as (or better than) what Sidewalk had proposed.
 

TheSix

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History will likely repeat itself with the same old mediocre cut and paste. Sidewalk Labs gave Toronto a chance to actually rise up to the city it deserves to be. This likely also means the timelines to see this land develop will also increase (even more so due to COVID-19).
There's also nothing to say that whatever eventually winds up getting built here isn't as good as (or better than) what Sidewalk had proposed.
 

WislaHD

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I knew to not let my judgement be swayed by pretty Danish renderings. They just wanted free government dollars and when it was clear this was not going to happen, they pulled out.

We are better for this. Housing is not some technology where we can allow venture capital tech innovators to pull out at any moment, leaving people vulnerable and government having to pick up the costs of a proprietary neighbourhood.

I know many people just want good architecture (which realistically will be lacking given what has been proposed and built elsewhere on the Waterfront), but there were many severe problems with this proposal, from governance structure of the proposal and respect for our civic institutions, to data collection and privacy.

The one thing I am grateful for though is that this project has hopefully built up our capacity as a city and public to ask the right questions and adequately respond to future proposals from the Googles and Amazons of the world. They may offer themselves as partners, but they certainly don't see us as equal.
 

ADRM

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Sidewalk Labs gave Toronto a chance to actually rise up to the city it deserves to be.
But did they, really? They made big promises that were, it turns out, not financially feasible (as many had predicted), without the City bending over backwards to their unreasonable demands. By that measure, any entity could say "we're going to give you the world and here's what it looks like and it's designed by Heatherwick" whilst having no practical plan to implement it, but you can't really lose something that was never going to actually happen.

This likely also means the timelines to see this land develop will also increase (even more so due to COVID-19).
I don't know if it necessarily does, significantly -- Sidewalk and WT were still already going to have to issue an RFP to find a developer to actually build the thing, so there was to be an RFP process this year regardless (setting aside Covid-generated uncertainty around timing). If WT is smart they'll just take the positive aspects of what Sidewalk had proposed, edit out the problematic stuff, and issue an RFP for a real development partner anyway, as was going to happen in a Sidewalk world, anyway.
 

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