George Brown College & Sidewalk Labs to explore urban innovation projects together

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This could be the start of something great—we’re teaming up with Sidewalk Labs to promote urban innovation on Toronto’s eastern waterfront. 

George Brown College and Sidewalk Labs announced on November 28, 2019 that we’ve signed a letter of intent to work together and explore projects that relate to innovative community programming, including opportunities to enhance digital literacy and technology skills.

“We are excited about the opportunities Sidewalk Labs can bring to Toronto, and its vision for a more innovative city,” says Anne Sado, President, George Brown College. “We look forward to collaborating in order to deliver true urban innovation to our students, partners and the great City of Toronto.” 

Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, aims to develop its “smart city” project called Quayside on a 12-acre parcel of waterfront land around Queens Quay East between Sherbourne and Parliament streets. The project includes plans for mixed-income housing, mass timber constructed buildings and public spaces connected by a digital infrastructure meant to improve sustainability, connectivity and digital innovation.

City building continues 

George Brown is an important player in the ongoing redevelopment of Toronto’s eastern waterfront, a once industrial and under-utilized area. 

So, what’s next? 

We’re keeping the ideas and talk flowing with Sidewalk Labs, and are looking at a lot of cool proposals, including: 

  • Helping Torontonians build their digital literacy skills with entry-level programming
  • Engaging the public through joint research projects, co-design workshops or advisory support
  • Collaborating on the design of a community kitchen for social gatherings, community programs and training
  • Hosting workshops for the public on topics such as urban planning, mobility, infrastructure, tall timber construction, health and wellness, the future of work and future of living
  • Work-integrated learning experiences for students in the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies

“George Brown plays an integral role in the city of Toronto, and we want to continue to shape its future,” says Rick Huijbregts, VP Strategy and Innovation at George Brown College. “Sidewalk Labs gives us an opportunity to collaborate on a broad range of projects intended to build community, enhance innovation and provide unique learning experiences for our students.” 

Image shows rendering of Sidewalk Labs' Parliament Plaza plan