Sidewalk Labs’ utopian vision for the city of the future in Toronto is butting up against the realities of local politics. The Wall Street Journal reported the Alphabet division lost a key local ally and pushed back plans for a new ground-up neighborhood—complete with Google offices, self-driving cars, reconfigurable housing and street sensors—in Toronto. Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto, the quasi-public agency working on the project, delayed the unveiling of its final development plan until next spring instead of the previously-scheduled November date.
The biggest local friction point centers on how Sidewalk Labs will use the data it plans to collect on the neighborhood’s residents. Confusion around what exactly Sidewalk is planning has compounded the problems. Don’t be surprised if this gets worse before it gets better for Sidewalk Labs.