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Back in 2019, Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs unveiled an ambitious plan. The company announced that it was pursuing skyscrapers made of wood, adaptable buildings with flexible walls and a transportation system that would reduce the need for private cars.
All of that, Sidewalk Labs also said, would come together in a new experimental community set in Toronto on the banks of Lake Ontario. Renderings released at the time showed a futuristic landscape, halfway between Black Panther‘s Wakanda and something out of Star Trek.
A year later, Sidewalk Labs — which is an urban design startup and part of Google parent Alphabet — changed course and opted out of the ambitious project in Toronto. Dreams of a utopian neighborhood apparently died when the coronavirus pandemic threw the global real estate market into chaos.
But while Sidewalk Labs ultimately walked away from its most ambitious plans, remnants of the project still remain. The company’s website describes Sidewalk Labs’ goal as building “products and places to radically improve quality of life in cities for all.”