Sidewalk Labs has revealed its proposal for Toronto Tomorrow, an ambitious urban development scheme that will create an interconnected smart neighbourhood for the Canadian city', where the integration of digital and physical innovations will improve the quality of life and generate economic opportunities to create a “neighbourhood of the future”.
Toronto Tomorrow: A New Approach for Inclusive Growth has been released 18 months after Sidewalk Labs’ initial plan to create a high-tech smart city for Toronto, and aims to open up the potential of the eastern waterfront through new jobs and housing, which will encourage the city’s economic growth. The Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) proposes a planning and partnership model that will set a new standard for urban development in the future.
Sidewalk Labs has taken a step back from its initial plan with only two districts outlined for development in the new proposal. The districts are the Quayside neighbourhood and the River District at Villier Island. The sites will be used to test projects and development initiates for Toronto and will be dubbed the Innovative Development and Economic Acceleration District (IDEA).
The full, three-volume proposal demonstrates a vision for the Quay where the integration of physical, digital and policy innovations can improve affordability, sustainable and quality of life, in addition to generating economic opportunities.
A key feature of the project would see the construction of 12 sustainable timber towers that would house 2500 residential units, with 40 percent offered at below-market rates and 20 percent meeting the affordable housing limit, in addition to offices and retail precincts.
This neighbourhood will be the first of its kind to be built entirely from timber, which will be constructed using a new timber factory in Ontario.
“This proposal aims to do something extraordinary on Toronto's eastern waterfront: create the neighbourhood of the future in the right kind of way, with people at its centre, and with cutting edge-technology and forward-thinking urban design combining to achieve ambitious improvements in the urban environment and in the way we all live,” said Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff.
Additional features will aim to improve the public space experience with curbless street designs, wider sidewalks, wayfinding beacons and heated pavements and accessible ride-hail vehicles. All buildings can be accessed by bicycle.
The buildings will be designed to adapt to the weather as part of a strategy to encourage the use of public outdoor spaces. Features including Building Raincoats that offer protection for pavements in harsh weather conditions, and Fanshells, which are folding glass doors that can be lifted to let the interior blend seamlessly with the outdoors.
The Quayside will feature thee key outdoor spaces: Parliament Plaza, Parliament Slip and Silo Park. The Quayside is proposed to be a new type of “live-work community” and will include more residential than commercial spaces. The Villers West district however will occupy a smaller subsidiary of land that extends to the water and will see a higher ratio of commercial and work spaces.
Another key feature of the zone is a 139,000-square-metre urban innovation campus that will host Google’s Canadian HQ, a research institute for urban innovation and an incubator for Canadian startups.
The proposal also includes a controversial data collection statement for the city and states it will be “the strongest governance regime for urban data anywhere in the world”. The aim of this collection is to create an independent government-sanctioned Urban Data Trust to oversee the collection of information that will be utilised for the design and development of the neighbourhood. The data will not be used for advertising or shared with other companies.
The proposal also outlines a method for the neighbourhood to generate 89 percent less greenhouse gas emission than downtown Toronto. This plan includes a proposal for a smart disposal chain for recycling, stormwater management, a clean thermal grid for heating and cooling, and the use of sustainable materials.
The project aims to accelerate the local economy by generating 44,000 jobs and $4.3 billion in annual tax revenues.
Read the full proposal here.
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