Even before the creation of Sidewalk Labs under Alphabet, there had always been talk of Google forming their own city based on the latest technology and integrating it into citizens' lives. The mythical Google City, or Google Island depending on who you ask, seems now to be all too real, though in a very different form than most people might have initially imagined. Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff had long entertained rumors that the division, responsible for urban planning and integration of technology, wanted to make their own district as a test bed for technology-based, internet-first living, and a recent post of his on Medium seems to confirm as much.
Calling most of Sidewalk Labs' work thus far a "thought experiment", Doctoroff penned a post talking about the group's philosophy, and about the issues that they're up against. He cited problems with modern cities like poverty, long commutes, and a lack of jobs. While he did come outright and say that there are no "magic" solutions to these sorts of problems, he did take a good chunk of time in the post to talk up the concept of a technologically advanced urban sprawl, imagined and planned "from the internet up". According to Doctoroff, there hasn't been much change in most major cities since the last great revolution of the 1940s, and his plan would change that and create a thoroughly modern living area that "reflects the personality of its local population" by taking advantage of all available technological advances to make life a bit easier and eliminate some of the common pain points with today's cities.
Interestingly, Doctoroff's post also toyed with the idea of having a contest centered on design and implementation of a modern city. While he did not explicitly state such, it was implied that Sidewalk Labs will not only be taking bids from cities, but will be considering plan proposals, budgets, and other usual parts and parcels of city design when deciding who to partner up with in order to make their vision a reality. Indeed, all signs point to this modern smart city venture becoming a multi-partner, multi-faceted idea, so it's now anybody's guess as to how exactly the whole thing will come together in the end, where it will all happen, and who will be involved.