Rendering of a timber canopy atop a smart city cover

Smartness already defines our cities, just not in the way Sidewalk Labs and others would have you think

In May 2020, facing mounting criticism from privacy advocates, Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel Doctoroff announced that the Google-backed company was scrapping its smart city project in the Quayside neighborhood of Toronto. With its passing, there was a sense among critics that some sort of evil had been defeated—that the little guy had won and Alphabet/Google had been

A procedurally generated neighborhood drawing

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

Privacy expert quits Sidewalk Labs’ smart city project in Toronto

Concerns about data privacy continue to dog the “smart city” planned for the Toronto waterfront by Google’s sister company Sidewalk Labs. But it isn’t just residents and watchdog groups raising the alarm—consultants and advisors to the project are also jumping ship. The latest to leave is Dr. Ann Cavoukian, a privacy expert whose resignation was intended as a “strong statement” about the project’s