January 16, 2019

Sidewalk Labs founder Dan Doctoroff on why building a city from the internet up is “by far the most complicated thing” he has ever done

"It is hard to explain the future." So says Dan Doctoroff, chief executive of Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet. 

And he should know. Explaining the future is something he is asked to do a lot these days following the launch of Sidewalk Labs in 2015 and current plans to build a city "from the internet up" on an 800 acre site in Toronto.

Previously, the CEO and president of Bloomberg and deputy mayor for economic development, Doctoroff also led New York City's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.  

During his first term as deputy mayor, Doctoroff oversaw 289 separate projects and initiatives, including the rezoning of 6,000 city blocks, the creation of 130 million square feet of residential and commercial space, and 2,400 acres of new parks.

Here he reveals his plans to deliver a digital district in Toronto based on the company mantra of “reimagining cities to improve quality of life”, talks about the hurdles he has faced and will continue to face along the way and insists that traditional real estate developers will be crucial to the ultimate delivery of our future cities. 

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