Alphabet's smart city division Sidewalk Labs applied for a building permit in Toronto, Canada, seeking permission to develop a 12-acre lot in the city's downtown, several sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday. It's currently unclear what exactly is Sidewalk Labs interested in building in the most populous city in Canada, but the company previously detailed a number of high-tech plans describing its vision of a connected city of the future, a city that's built "from the Internet up." While sources who revealed the existence of the company's latest application didn't disclose particular details on the thereof, they confirmed that the documents are in line with a futuristic, highly connected city that representatives of Sidewalk Labs often talked about in the past.
Even though the Alphabet-owned firm has been operational for almost two years now, it wasn't until mid-2016 that it started discussing its plans in a more public manner, stating that while its ultimate ambition is to build futuristic, Internet-enabled cities, it's pursuing some much more realistic goals in the short term. Before it ponders the idea of developing a hi-tech city any further, Sidewalk Labs is looking to utilize its technology and solutions to tackle some individual problems that are generally associated with large metropolitan areas. Issues like pollution, rising costs of living, inefficient energy usage, and poorly planned transportation are all something that the Alphabet-owned company is looking to eliminate in the future. Once it manages to do so, the firm will presumably try developing a city from the ground up with the specific intention of preemptively tackling those issues, i.e. preventing them from materializing in the first place.
Before those plans can come to fruition, Sidewalk Labs still has a lot of testing to do and developing experimental urban zones is said to be an important part of its research. The company previously considered the idea of building an Interned-enabled district in Detroit and Denver, recent reports indicate, but it seems that the final choice fell on Toronto. While the firm has yet to officially confirm its development plans, an update on the situation might follow later this year.