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Letter from Toronto on Google’s city of the future

Politico Magazine recently published this article about Sidewalk Toronto. It’s called: Google Is Building a City of the Future in Toronto. Would Anyone Want to Live There? 

If you’re familiar with what Sidewalk Toronto is up to, the first bit will likely cover things you already know. But later on it gets into an interesting discussion around data privacy, among other things.

One argument is that if you strip any personal identifiers from the data you collect, then you’ve effectively eliminated the issue of privacy. 

But what about “collective privacy?” 

What if you could, for example, identity signs of concentrated drug usage within certain districts, communities, or even buildings? Does that start to get a little too personal?

This is the great debate surrounding Quayside, the area that Sidewalk is focused on. The article also touches on what Quayside could mean for the future of Toronto.

Just about all players involved believe that if Sidewalk can be successful at Quayside, it has a shot at the adjoining 800-acre Port Lands, a swath of problem space big enough to become home to a dozen new neighborhoods in a growing metropolis. Townsend, the consultant, says of the Port Lands: “That’s a city they’re going to build there. This is just the warmup, this little piece.”

Full article, here. There’s also an audio version in case that’s your preferred consumption method. It’s about 40 minutes long if you do it that way (and don’t speed it up).

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