Sidewalk Toronto was a joint effort by Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs (an Alphabet company) to create a Master Innovation and Development Plan for Quayside – a 12-acre site along Toronto’s eastern waterfront. Urban Strategies was retained by Sidewalk Labs to provide strategic planning consultant services for this project. In this role, we worked with the Sidewalk Labs’ team based in New York and Toronto to provide urban planning and design expertise for one of the most ambitious approaches to city building ever undertaken. The project’s sustainability, place making, mobility and other goals included:
- Incorporating a diversity of housing options including rental units, units suitable for families, affordable units, and middle income units;
- Significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Quayside compared to a typical development;
- Creating a flexible ground floor strategy, called the Stoa, that combines innovations in physical space, financing, digital services, and management of program mix;
- Designing streets and managing usage digitally to support a shift to AVs and shared mobility; and
- Fostering an all-ages, pedestrian-first public realm activated by extensive transit, bike, and pedestrian networks.
The Sidewalk project aimed to break new ground and set the bar for similar large-scale urban regeneration developments the world over. It was halted in 2020 due to market uncertainty stemming from the COVID pandemic.