Sidewalk Labs to Build a High-Tech Community in Toronto

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. futuristic / ˌfyu tʃəˈrɪs tɪk / (adj) – modern

    The building is made of futuristic steel and glass structure.

  2. congestion / kənˈdʒɛs tʃən / (n) – the state of being overcrowded

    The government wants to solve traffic congestion.

  3. relocate / ˌri loʊˈkeɪt / (v) – to move

    She wants to relocate to another branch.

  4. flexible / ˈflɛk sə bəl / (adj) – able to make changes easily

    Our company allows flexible working hours; we can come to work as early as 6:00 a.m.

  5. give the green light / gɪv ðə grin laɪt / (idiom) – to allow someone to do something

    The management gave the green light to test the new product.


Read the text below.

A company under Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is planning to build a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto, Canada.

The company Sidewalk Labs, which focuses on urban innovation, has teamed up with Toronto’s local government to build the futuristic community called Quayside. It will be an 800-acre waterfront property to be developed between East Bayfront and Port Lands.

The project, which is called Sidewalk Toronto, aims to address the problems that urban areas are currently facing, such as traffic congestion, pollution, and overpopulation. It also intends to use technology to improve the quality of living in metropolitan areas.

Sidewalk Labs has committed $50 million to fund the initial phase of the project and its future pilot testing. Moreover, there are plans to relocate Google’s Canada headquarters, where over 1,000 employees work, to Quayside.

Sidewalk Toronto will install high-speed Wi-Fi connections and sensors around the area that can detect carbon monoxide, vibration, noise, and temperature. It will also use a more flexible zoning plan to accommodate residential, commercial, industrial, and other spaces. In addition, the project will prioritize improving transportation by creating infrastructures for walking, biking, and shared electric cars.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau hopes to see the development not just in some parts of Canada but also in other parts of the world.

Like Canada, other cities around the world have allowed tech companies for the pilot testing of today’s smartest innovations. For instance, Moscow, Russia, fitted 146,000 cameras around different areas to ensure the safety of the people and to solve crimes. Meanwhile, in Singapore, the government gave the green light to driverless taxi testing. People can now hail taxis using only their smartphones.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you like to live in Quayside? Why or why not?
• In addition to those mentioned in the article, what other innovations can Sidewalk Labs incorporate into their project?

Discussion B

• What are the problems that your community is facing now?
• What are the possible solutions to these problems? Discuss.