Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is eyeing a contest to build its own internet city" (GOOG)

From The Verge, Nov. 30:

‘A living laboratory for urban technology’
For months, it was rumored that Sidewalk Labs, the Google spinoff focused on smart city solutions, wanted to build its own city-within-a-city to trial self-driving cars, public Wi-Fi, new health care solutions, and other city planning advances that modern technology makes possible. Today, the company confirmed that it was indeed interested in creating its own urban district “from the internet up,” and hinted that it may even make a contest out of it.

Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, made it official in a Medium post today celebrating the company’s first year in existence. In it, he claims that by experimenting with new technologies in “real-world conditions,” there is the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to two-thirds, shorten commutes by an hour, and slash the cost of living for local residents by as much as 14 percent.

“A large-scale district holds great potential to serve as a living laboratory for urban technology  —  a place to explore coordinated solutions, showcase innovations, and establish models for others to follow,” Doctoroff writes.

He credits “internet rumors” with fueling heightened interest in Sidewalk Labs’ urban experiment. Indeed, the rumor mill has been churning about a mythical “Google Island” since even before the company spun-off Sidewalk Labs as its smart city incubator. This led to speculation that Sidewalk Labs was looking to purchase land on which to build a planned community that could house thousands of people. But in his essay, Doctoroff dismissed the idea of a walled-off district separated from the wider city. 

“Whatever we do, we know the world doesn’t need another plan that falls into the same trap as previous ones: treating the city as a high-tech island rather than a place that reflects the personality of its local population,” he said....MORE 

No, they have bigger plans.
There is big money and big politics behind this stuff and this June 2016 article is a good primer on what's coming.
As former Deputy Mayor to Michael Bloomberg, Doctoroff pretty much epitomizes the intersection of big money/big politics. That Medium post is not quite a blueprint but interesting nonetheless.