Using technology to tackle urban challenges can lead to great benefits, but it is complex, raises important questions, and requires close work with the community. Throughout the process of developing our proposal for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, we have been deeply focused on listening. Our proposal reflects input from more than 21,000 Torontonians, who challenged us at every step and made the plan better. Since the release of the proposal, we continue to hear from Torontonians during Waterfront Toronto’s formal consultations, in informal settings at 307’s open hours and AMAs, and at community events across the city.

One of the things we’ve heard consistently is that many Torontonians are enthusiastic about this new neighbourhood, and how it could improve the quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make streets safer.

We’ve also heard questions about how the innovations that can power this improvement in quality of life would work, including data collection, use, and governance — an important issue that is being grappled with around the world. There have also been questions about how to ensure this project would maximize benefits for Canadian innovators. Waterfront Toronto and their Digital Strategy Advisory Panel requested additional information related to these questions to help them better evaluate the proposal.

The Master Innovation and Development Plan released in June details many of the innovations proposed, and to be responsive to these requests for more information, we have been working on a Digital Innovation Appendix that provides further detail, including:

1. An overview of existing policies and approaches to digital governance

2. A comprehensive list of digitally-enabled technology use cases included in the proposal

3. Additional details on how Sidewalk Labs would support the growth of Canada’s innovation ecosystem

We look forward to releasing this document in the fall. In the meantime, we will be at Waterfront Toronto’s DSAP next week to discuss what we are planning for this document and hear feedback from the panel on the work underway. You can preview our presentation here.

We look forward to continuing to hear Torontonians’ questions, and any requests for additional information from Waterfront Toronto. We’re committed to working with everyone to get this right.