Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs May Break Ground on the City of the Future

What will the city of the future look like? Alphabet's Sidewalk labs plans to find out. The company will soon present plans to Alphabet CEO Larry Page for building a techno-utopia from the ground up.

What will the city of the future look like? The Information reports Alphabet's Sidewalk labs plans to find out. The company will soon present plans to Alphabet CEO Larry Page for building a techno-utopia from the ground up.

The city would be used as a testing ground for all of Alphabet's future tech before rolling it out across the country. This means the residents of this town could be treated to tests involving self-driving cars, improvements to public transport, Internet services (perhaps not unlike the LinkNYC project), and more.

The company is still deciding whether it will merely make edits to an existing county or purchase land to build an entirely new city from the ground up. Reports indicate that the district needs to be big enough to fit “hundreds of thousands of people.” Sidewalk isn't accepting bids from counties, yet, Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff plans to discuss the project with Page “in the coming weeks.” So, bids to have your county become the next city of the future could start as early as sometime this year. 

The architects of this city will be presented with a unique opportunity: to design an entire city from the ground up or edit an exiting one. But building a city of the future won't be easy. “Thinking about a city from the Internet up is really compelling, but cities are hard. You have people with vested interest, politics, physical space,” Doctoroff said at an event. “But the technology ultimately cannot be stopped.”

The question is will Sidewalk set an example for what a city of the future should look like, or wind up like Disney's failed Celebration, Florida? Reports say the company has been working with a team of more than 100 experts. 

“The beauty and the drama in any kind of urban environment, any kind of urban setting is in the way in which different things play off against each other,” says Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for The New Yorker.


Photo Credit: MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less