Would you consider living in a Google city? For some, this may soon become a reality as Google’s sister firm Sidewalk Labs, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, begins testing the concept of a city built from the “internet up.” The company is described as an “urban innovation” company with its sights set on creating the “city of the future.” It is noted that the future city could house hundreds of thousands of residents in a pre-planned community, with a focus on integrating technology into everyday living.
The Daily Mail reports that Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of search engine giant Google, is currently working with over 100 experts in the field of city and community planning to potentially create the “city of the future.” The company wants to build a city from the “internet up” in the “near future.” However, the company is currently still trying to decide if the company would purchase the land for the tech city outright or if they would partner with local counties to accept bids for creating their “city of the future.”
“Smartphones already shape how people interact with cities. A new set of digital technologies—ubiquitous connectivity, real-time sensors, precise location services, distributed trust, autonomous systems, and digital actuation and fabrication—can collectively transform city life. But towards what end? Will they make the city more responsive, equitable, innovative, and human or will they challenge civil liberties and security? We believe digital technologies have the potential to solve today’s pressing urban problems in ways that respect privacy—serving as a bridge to cities of the future.”
Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff notes that the plans are in the early stages but says that creating a city from the “internet up” is very intriguing to the tech-based company. Sidewalk Labs notes that by creating a city with technology in mind, a community could be created that is more efficient in transportation and energy usage while maintaining a lower cost-of-living than a standard city of the same size.
“Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.”
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) April 17, 2016
While the company has revealed its plans for experimental cities, they are still focusing efforts on improving life in pre-existing cities as well. Doctoroff notes that Sidewalk Labs will continue working on projects that can scale to cities across the globe.
“We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”
Sidewalk Labs has already worked on a number of projects aimed at improving city life. One project called LinkNYC was designed to replace dated pay phones. The company created a series of free kiosks that offered visitors a free gigabit Wi-Fi, video and voice calling, and access to emergency and other city services from one convenient kiosk. The project was completed in conjunction with the city of New York.
A Google City to beta test their products… https://t.co/itAkhdTwgs
— Agnès Crepet (@agnes_crepet) April 16, 2016
The company was also offered a contract by the US Department of Transportation to work on a project called Flow. The project was aimed at improving traffic in major cities by using analytics and messaging services to increase public access to transportation and to improve transit quality. With Google’s sister company working diligently to sort through common problems associated with city living, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to imagine the company branching out into creating cities of its own.
— JeffersonUK (@JeffersonjobsUK) April 15, 2016
In fact, Sidewalk Labs has acknowledged that they will use insight gained from their current projects when finally creating the “city of the future.” Would you move into the Sidewalk Labs city if the company began testing?
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