Toronto city officials are reportedly negotiating a project that will give a section of the city’s waterfront to the US tech giant Google. If the talks succeed, Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs will build and run a high-tech radical mixed-use site called Quayside. The area will be home to new business, residential buildings and public space. The area will be dubbed as green by encouraging use of electric vehicles and an onsite power generation station using renewable energy.
However, the proposed project has created controversy as much as it has created interest among the urban planners and advocates of citizen’s privacy. This is because the proposed smart city plan involves creating a neighbourhood, powered and served by data; with sensors monitoring everything from air quality to pedestrian traffic, even the flushing of toilets. Privacy concerns have also been brought up by numerous experts, who note the incentives for parent company Alphabet to collect personal data from residents and visitors. Alphabet Inc is the parent company of Sidewalk Labs who is going to build Quayside.
This may be the case with all proposed smart cities in India too.