Posted by & filed under Green Technologies, IT Governance.

Quayside, Toronto

What it promised: Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google, proposed a high-tech and sustainable neighbourhood on Toronto’s eastern lakeshore. Among the ideas were heated pavements to encourage year-round walking, trash-collecting robots, winterized outdoor spaces protected by plastic “raincoats,” self-driving delivery vehicles on an underground tunnel network, traffic sensors and adaptable street layouts.

How it’s going: Quayside is still deserted. After three years of controversy over data protection and governance issues, Sidewalk Labs walked away from the project in 2020 citing pandemic upheaval. Waterfront Toronto is now working on new designs for the site.

Moser’s take: “The key takeaway is that our elected representatives and city officials have very low data literacy. They are easily seduced by futuristic ‘smart city’ visions and by the prospect of outsourcing city building and governance to big corporations. Our data protection laws are woefully behind, and we urgently need to craft legislation that will secure our rights as citizens, rather than hope that tech companies will opt to look after our best interests.”

Source: Toronto Star

Date: October 14th, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/mars/2022/10/14/new-smart-cities-cant-escape-the-same-old-problems.html

Discussion

  1. What does “our elected representatives and city officials have very low data literacy” mean?
  2. “Our data protection laws are woefully behind, and we urgently need to craft legislation that will secure our rights as citizens, rather than hope that tech companies will opt to look after our best interests.” What sort of legislation might help “secure our rights as citizens”?

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