Get a Glimpse of Sidewalk Labs’ Smart Neighbourhood This Month

Residents may finally have a chance to see what Sidewalk Labs has been cooking up for their smart Toronto neighbourhood, Quayside.

Starting June 16, the Google-owned company will be opening a public workshop and showcase space meant to demonstrate some of the cutting-edge technology and advancements that will be integrated into Quayside when it is fully up and running.

Called Open Sidewalk at 307, the name comes from the location of where the actual space will be located: 307 Lakeshore Blvd East. Sidewalk Labs has transformed a parking lot and an old TV studio into a living lab to host classes and introduce citizens to new advancements in smart city technology. Open SIdewalk at 307 is about a five-minute walk from where Quayside will ultimately be constructed.

“We’ve transformed an old fish processing plant and parking lot into an experimental workspace — 307 is where we will work every day, and it will be open every weekend to the public,” reads Sidewalk Labs’ public invitation. “We’re excited to co-create and share our explorations with you as the project evolves.”

As mentioned, Sidewalk at 307 will be open each weekend. Once a month the location will host Open Sidewalk, an event series that will explore ideas geared towards all kinds of citizens all in an effort to foster open community co-creation.

Quayside smart city

The first Open Sidewalk will celebrate the history of Toronto, a theme Sidewalk Labs have already delved into with their OldTO interactive map. On June 16, The Myseum will gather ephemera and stories from citizens around urban mobility, RWDI and PARTISANS will hold a workshop on how historical weather data can help design spaces, artist Iris Häussler will chat with Benjamen Walker about urban history, and finally, a walking tour will wrap everything up.

Of course, there are some prototype technologies available to check out as well. The Dynamic Street will test modular pavement and lights that can be programmed to give pedestrians more street space when they need it. Building Blocks shows how communities can make outdoor furniture when they want to, and Plan your Neighbourhood will explore data-driven approaches to urban planning known as generative design. That kind of intuitive design can be found at Autodesk’s Toronto office as well and really illustrates what it means to take the community into account when creating shared spaces.

Finally, Navigating 307 is a partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s ShopTalk program as well as BlindSqaure, and it shows how Bluetooth beacons for the visually-impaired can make any space more accessible.

If that’s not enough, Sidewalk Labs will host a Market 307, which is a play on Market 707, a popular shipping-crate market that is already very popular in the city.

Construction on Quayside is expected to break ground in 2020.