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jje1000

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Fundamental issue- aiming too big without having any provable results. They honestly should have swallowed their saviour complex and built one building at first as a test, and to demonstrate that their concepts weren't just tech-bro vaporware.

While gentrification and privacy concerns were manageable early on, ultimately things like the Portlands land grab, the inability to come to terms with ownership/funding/profits, and the over-intensive lobbying made people suspicious.

There were some good concepts in the plan, like the focus on pedestrian activity and the flexible-use buildings, IMO.
 
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old boy

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Fundamental issue- aiming too big without having any provable results. They honestly should have swallowed their saviour complex and built one building at first as a test, and to demonstrate that their concepts weren't just tech-bro vaporware.

While gentrification and privacy concerns were manageable early on, ultimately things like the Portlands land grab, the inability to come to terms with ownership/funding/profits, and the over-intensive lobbying made people suspicious.

There were some good concepts in the plan, like the focus on pedestrian activity and the flexible-use buildings, IMO.
I don't get what you mean by "their saviour complex ", or the " Portlands land grab ". These are loaded phrases. At this point, who can know what the net results of Sidewalk walking away from Toronto will be. About all I can muster at this point is a typical Toronto "shrug of the shoulders "at the disappointing outcome after all the hype.
 

jje1000

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I don't get what you mean by "their saviour complex ", or the " Portlands land grab ". These are loaded phrases. At this point, who can know what the net results of Sidewalk walking away from Toronto will be. About all I can muster at this point is a typical Toronto "shrug of the shoulders "at the disappointing outcome after all the hype.
These aren't loaded phrases, they're simple statements:

Savior Complex- Constant hyping of untested architectural vaporware without actual usable in-use proof-of-concepts (again, why not focus on actually building a small part of the site beforehand as a test-bed? A small segment of canopy doesn't count as being 'tested'). Why the focus on supplanting municipal governance over actual proof that the ideas work in the first place?
“There were a lot of things we [the board] were not comfortable with,” Burstyn told me recently, citing complaints from Sidewalk Labs “about how slow and bureaucratic we were. We can be, but we believe in good governance. Canadians are regulators, and our governments are very attuned to their responsibility — they didn’t realize how American they were in their approach.” The company was told, “You’re just going to have to live with it,” Burstyn said. “Sidewalk never fully appreciated that. They were always pushing for more.”
Townsend accused Sidewalk Labs of hubris. He said company leadership was largely stocked by people from Michael Bloomberg’s orbit, which created another sort of cultural schism. “They had a reputation for being too smart for themselves in New York, so when they got to Toronto, where the culture is much less brash and aggressive, they came off as doubly so.” Sidewalk Labs CEO Doctoroff is a “dyed-in-the-wool Wall Street guy,” said Townsend, adding that the company lacked a “participatory design approach” for Quayside. “It was a very, very top-down exercise. It’s inevitable today that those kinds of projects get rejected.”


Portlands Land Grab- Expansion of the original scope of the project even before anything was built:
On Valentine’s Day 2019, news broke that the company’s plans for Toronto were more extensive than had been disclosed. The company had previously floated the idea that the Quayside project could be expanded to the Port Lands, an adjacent 800-plus acres of derelict industrial land that is among the largest, most desirable undeveloped tracts of urban real estate in North America. The idea had been met with stiff resistance across the city — the Port Lands are nearly the equivalent of the city’s downtown core — and Sidewalk Labs had been forced to retreat from the idea. But documents obtained by the Toronto Star suggested that Sidewalk Labs was still negotiating for 350 of those acres, news that galvanized a large segment of residents.

IMO- Sidewalk could have been a reality if initial visions were kept realistic within the existing framework of municipal government, and if initial concerns over gentrification and data privacy were resolved far earlier on.

People wanted to see it to believe it, and it may have had more success presented more conventionally like the East Bayfront- more as an urban evolution rather than a revolution.
 
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WislaHD

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IMO- Sidewalk could have been a reality if initial visions were kept realistic within the existing framework of municipal government, and if initial concerns over gentrification and data privacy were resolved far earlier on.
They needed to simply come to the table as equal partners, but that doesn't seem to be the way big companies operate in the States, and it rubbed Canadians off the wrong way.
 

old boy

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Thanks for your explanation jje1000 - like I said, we'll never know. This was never a conventional idea, so the thought that an " urban evolution " approach might have been the more effective way of advancing the project is moot.
 

Yegger

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Fundamental issue- aiming too big without having any provable results. They honestly should have swallowed their saviour complex and built one building at first as a test, and to demonstrate that their concepts weren't just tech-bro vaporware.

While gentrification and privacy concerns were manageable early on, ultimately things like the Portlands land grab, the inability to come to terms with ownership/funding/profits, and the over-intensive lobbying made people suspicious.

There were some good concepts in the plan, like the focus on pedestrian activity and the flexible-use buildings, IMO.

Very well put. I definitely noted how public and government perception of the project devolved over the course of the years; the article summarizes it nicely. I don't really think SW labs understood the Canadian mentality nor the concerns brought forward and it felt like they were in damage control one scandal after the other.

The hubris definitely stoked suspicions and the timing was not in their favour as more people became critical of tech giants by then end of the decade. Then there was the general inability to justify their business model, funding/financing and even explaining their motives beyond making it "the first neighbourhood of it's kind".
 

HikmatJamal

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I know it is not the hottest topic right now but I recently spoke to Shawn Micallef about the project's cancellation for my Toronto urbanism podcast City & Crumpets. You can give it a listen here: https://citycrumpets.pinecast.co/ and it's on Spotify plus wherever else you get your podcasts.

Fundamentally, Sidewalk Labs went wrong when they overstepped all the good work WaterfrontTO and the culture of civil advocacy in this city. They came in trying to dictate, weren't very transparent, and it cost them. I don't think they expected Toronto to be this rough either. I don't buy their official explanation that it was cancelled due to Coronavirus either.
 

ferusian

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From the Agenda for Waterfront Toronto's August Board of Directors meeting:

1598183322157.png
 

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MODS! Maye remove SIDEWALK from Thread title?

Update on hiring of Fairness Advisor at https://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/nbe...ommittee+-+September+24,+2020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Fairness Advisor: Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin • Served as Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to mid-December 2017. • Is an arbitrator and mediator in Canada and internationally with over 35 years experience in deciding a wide range of business law and public law disputes, in both common law and civil law; her ability to work in both English and French; and her experience and skill in leading and consensus-building for many years as the head of a diverse nine-member court. • Appointed to the Order of Canada as a recipient of its highest accolade, Companion of the Order of Canada, June 2018. She has received over 35 honorary degrees from universities in Canada and abroad, and numerous other honours and awards. • • The 2,094 Supreme Court of Canada judgments in which she participated - of which she wrote 442 - and her legal writings and speaking, include a wide range of subjects in corporate, construction, financial services, taxation, contract, tort, other areas of business law, as well as arbitration and mediation. Her legal texts include, as lead co-author, the first and second editions (1987 and 1994) of The Canadian Law of Architecture and Engineering. It is generally recognized that the judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada during her tenure have affirmed Canada as a jurisdiction that is very supportive of arbitration
fairness.jpg
 

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I notice that the strange 'umbrella' structures fastened to the outside of the (former) Sidewalk building at Parliament and Queens Quay have been removed.
 

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what an incredibly odd sentence to read. She was the HEAD OF THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

this reads like a mid-level white-collar worker’s resumé lmao
You need to read the whole of the mini-bio where it clearly states her official title, the phrase you quote is, I think, designed to show that the Chief Justice 'manages' the Court and that she works well with others.
 

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From the Agenda of the Oct. 8 WT Board of Directors Meeting:


Quayside

As you will hear from the report from Chair of the IREC committee, we continue to move forward with the development of the Developer Request for Proposals (RFP) for Quayside. Waterfront Toronto is looking to deliver on a series of goals and public policy objectives through Quayside to achieve a next generation sustainable community including: 

  • A highly sustainable mixed-use community striving for net zero through the use of energy efficient buildings and renewable energy technologies, among others; 
  • Affordable Housing in tandem with the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Strategy 
  • Long-term Care/Aging-in-Place - Waterfront Toronto submitted an application for Long Term Care bed licences on Quayside to the Ministry of Health and LongTerm Care Sept 25, 2020. Waterfront Toronto did not submit an application as a Long-Term Care operator but rather submitted Quayside as a potential site to be matched with a service provider. The corporation is also undertaking a study to determine the feasibility at Quayside. 
  • Provide significant open spaces/parks and access to activate the waterfront all year long.
We are currently completing market soundings which will inform the drafting of the RFP. The RFP will include all five blocks for Quayside and is anticipated to be released in late 2020/early 2021 with a view to selecting a preferred proponent by summer of 2021.

A series of public engagements are ongoing. In August and September, Waterfront Toronto undertook community outreach, connecting with organizations whose feedback could help inform our approach to revitalizing Quayside and eventually help to inform the substance of the Developer RFP. In addition, there was a Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting October 1, 2020. A public forum later in October will provide an opportunity for further direct engagement with the broader public and seek their feedback.

I am also happy to announce that Beverley McLachlin has agreed to be the Corporation’s Fairness Commissioner for the Quayside RFP process. Ms. McLachlin is an internationally recognized Canadian jurist and author who served as the 17th Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to 2017, the first woman to hold that position and the longest-serving Chief Justice in Canadian history.
 

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