By 2050, the population in cities will double, intensifying existing socioeconomic, public health and environmental problems.
Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg LP and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York, and Google has announced the formation of Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation company that will develop technology at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, with a focus on improving city life for residents, businesses and governments.
We’re on the brink of a historic period for cities around the world. By 2050, the population in cities will double, intensifying existing socioeconomic, public health and environmental problems. At the same time, innovations in technology can be used to design communities that are more efficient, responsive and resilient. Sidewalk Labs aims to foster the development of technology products, platforms and infrastructure that help improve life in cities around the world.
The announcement of Sidewalk Labs comes as the world is continuing a massive urban shift. At the same time, new technologies – including ubiquitous connectivity and sharing, the internet of things, dynamic resource management and flexible buildings and infrastructure – are emerging to allow cities and citizens to tackle problems in real time.
New technologies are already transforming commerce, media and access to information. However, while there are apps to tell people about traffic conditions, or the prices of available apartments, the biggest challenges that cities face — such as making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently have, so far, been more difficult to address.
Sidewalk Labs will develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these areas.
Larry Page said: “By improving urban technology, it’s possible to significantly improve the lives of billions of people around the world. With Sidewalk, we want to supercharge existing efforts in areas such as housing, energy, transportation and government to solve real problems that city-dwellers face every day. Every time I talk with Dan I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of his passion for all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant. And when you combine that with his experience as an investor, in NYC government, and as CEO of the large information company Bloomberg LP, I can’t imagine a better person to lead these efforts.”