Sidewalk Labs, the Alphabet moonshot focused on urban innovation, has cut around half of its Toronto workforce.
The company recently abandoned plans to build a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto, resulting in around 20 employees being laid off.
“Sidewalk Labs remains committed to reimagining cities for the future and tackling big urban problems,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.
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Sidewalk Labs, the Alphabet moonshot company that dreamed of building a high-tech smart city, has laid off around half of the employees in its Toronto operation.
The cuts were first reported by Bloomberg and confirmed by a Sidewalk Labs spokesperson to Business Insider. About 20 people were laid off in the company’s Toronto office. Sidewalk Labs, a Google sister company, reportedly has around 150 employees in total.
“As excited as we are for the future, we are sad that this shift in focus means we will say goodbye to some of our incredibly talented team members,” a spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. “Many of our Toronto-based team will continue with Sidewalk Labs as we enter our next phase.”
The news comes not long after Sidewalk Labs announced it would abandon plans to build a $900 million neighborhood in Toronto — a project that had been in development since 2017.
“As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community,” said CEO Daniel L. Doctoroff last month.
The Quayside project, as it was named, was to be a 12-acre ultra-connected neighborhood complete with driverless cars and heated sidewalks. But the project faced backlash from Toronto residents and activists over the data it would collect from residents and fears of outpricing Toronto’s minimum wage workers.
“Sidewalk Labs remains committed to reimagining cities for the future and tackling big urban problems,” a spokesperson added, elaborating on some of the projects Sidewalk Labs would now focus on.
“This includes factory-made mass timber buildings that can have a dramatic impact on affordability and sustainability, a digital master-planning tool designed to help developers and communities achieve shared objectives, a really ambitious approach to affordable all-electric neighborhoods, and many more that will be announced in the months to come,” they said.
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Source:: Business Insider