Information Technologies

Sidewalk Toronto: Are smart cities the future of urban development?

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The case describes Sidewalk Toronto project. It was a project first initiated by Waterfront Toronto in 2017 by issuing the request for proposal (RFP) on development of the Quayside area. Sidewalk Labs, which is a subsidiary company of Alphabet Inc. and a sister company of Google, won the bid in 2017. The Master Innovation Development Plan (MIDP) was created in 2019 through conversations with over 21,000 Torontonians and aimed to be an innovative reinvention of Toronto's neglected eastern downtown waterfront. Sidewalk Toronto had planned to utilize technology to create a smart urban area that improves the quality of life of its residents, also using it as a testing ground for future urban design projects and technology. However, the high-tech plan drew criticism, mainly over data privacy issues regarding the robust data collection in the proposed community.
Bibliographic citation: PEIRET, C., BERRONE, P., RICART, J. (2020). Sidewalk Toronto: Are smart cities the future of urban development? IESE, SM-1696-E.
Date: 01/10/2020
Author(s): Clara Peiret; Pascual Berrone; Joan Enric Ricart
Document type: Case
Department: Strategic Management
Languages: English / Spanish
Year of the events: 2018, 2019
Learning objective Given the focus of the case, it is well suited for use by urban managers and consultants, policy makers and other governmental representatives involved in city planning and urban development. It might be also appropriate for audiences that include firms and organizations that offer services to cities. The breadth and span of the case allow for a number of different perspectives: from the general aspects of an urban strategic plan to the specific elements of an urban strategy. The case can also benefit MBA students and senior executives, since it can be used: 1. To introduce the concept of a city strategic plan, its different definitions and levels; 2. To discuss the value and drawback that technology can provide in urban areas; 3. To teach students and participants to assess the benefits and challenges of stakeholder management