Google intends to ‘fix’ Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America. But, this is not the reason as to why Google picked Toronto as their first Smart Innovative City. The reason might not be something Toronto fans look forward to reading about. It is not unpleasant but it is a true focal point for all builders out there. We idealize Toronto a little too much, one of the greatest problems with humans today is that they only look on the surface of something, almost never focusing on what the area might be or might look like.
Google wants to make Toronto not only a surface-fanned city but also an area-fanned city. One of Google’s greatest appeals is not what Toronto has built, it’s what it has not built yet. A prime example of this is Toronto’s underdeveloped industrial waterfront. It’s a 12-acre ghost-town. Whoever knew a ghost town this big could be inside a growing urban metropolis? “Toronto has all of the conditions that are essential for being an innovative city”, according to the Director of Ryerson’s University School of Urban and Regional Planning.
Google appears to have Toronto gain a lot of benefits from their idea. A smart city could produce more employment and housing, one of the greatest economic and financial problems the world faces today. If more jobs are available, Toronto will be a Google visions to make it in a futuristic innovative model. A city built on the promises that we were told when immigrating here not just the convenience that comes with new technologies. In the world we live in today, 61% of the population in Canada believes in environmental sustainability, Google claims to include this as well. Having environmental sustainability will furthermore enhance out health benefits and the affordability of our houses.
Furthermore, benefits are, high-speed internet access, free WiFi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride sharing and sensors throughout that automate the way people engage with their surroundings, making everything much more efficient says a CBC report.
In the past year, Google has been able to create a sufficient plan about what their smart city might look like, so it seems that this hub will become reality pretty soon. Additionally, Google has an advantage, because some of the components which it aims to have in the city have already hit the market, namely “self-driving cars or like communities are hoping for their own Fiber networks, and Amazon has taken care of some of the heavy liftings by testing out how sensors and data can change the retail experience with fully automated cashier-less stores” says an article on CBC. Google just need to put it all together.
Likewise, everyone in Toronto should like this plan because nobody is being moved. “You are not displacing low-income residents, you are not displacing high-density jobs,” says De Sousa. However, when this first “smart” city becomes reality, it’s going to be difficult. Not every city unfortunately in Canada has unused land, meaning Google can’t just go into a neighborhood and start innovating it.
A CBC author, Ramona Pringle believes that “Fixing” a city is one thing when you have under-developed urban land to work with. But it’s a whole different scenario when it entails changing the city’s existing infrastructure. Many of Canada’s cities under critical stages of such development pressure that to induce this concept will be a strenuous situation to deal with. In cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg all have residents who have been living there for their entire life, and now are bringing about a new generation in that same area.
If Google plans to bring this notion into action in these cities, it will also affect the jobs there, there are already such limited jobs in Canada, by enhancing this vision, it will decrease the number of jobs too, and these cities are not a metropolis city like Toronto so it will be harder for the citizens there as well. When thinking of building there we have to take in consideration of all these factors too. When working in Toronto’s ghost town, these factors don’t limit you as to what you can do.