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Toronto’s Tech Utopia? How do we think about the public in the context of the Sidewalk Labs proposal? – Feb 24 – REGISTRATION REQUIRED
February 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Zhixi C. Zhuang, Associate Professor, Ryerson School of Urban & Regional Planning
Shoshanna Saxe, Assistant Professor, UofT Dept. of Civil & Mineral Engineering
Alex Mather, Vice President, The Keesmat Group
Matti Siemiatycki, Associate Professor, UofT Dept. of Geography & Planning, School of Cities
Eli Singer, Founder & CEO of NearNow
Sidewalk Labs is a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. created with the express purpose of developing “Smart Cities”. The Verge noted back in 2017 that Sidewalk Labs has the stated goal of “re-imagining cities from the internet up” and on October 17, 2017 it inked a deal with Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto to develop 800 acres of waterfront property in Toronto into what has been referred to as a ‘digital utopia’. At the announcement of the project, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarked that “[t]oday’s announcement is about creating a new type of neighbourhood that puts people first…[and that]…Sidewalk Toronto will transform Quayside into a thriving hub for innovation and a community for tens of thousands of people to live, work and play.”
The University of Toronto Association of Geography Alumni (UTAGA) in partnership with the Department of Geography & Planning will be hosting a moderated panel discussion to hear more about the Sidewalk Labs plan and to examine its various dimensions particularly as it pertains to the question of the ‘public’. Presenting multiple points of view from panelists that have engaged closely with the topic (see for instance the New York Times: How Toronto Reined in Big Tech), the panel will aim to discuss how this proposal addresses the concept of the public and stands to impact many of the urban challenges currently faced by the City of Toronto.
Panel will be from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.
Doors open & reception from 6:00pm – 7:00pm.