Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Dan Doctoroff and Google have 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.
Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg LP and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York, will be the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York City. The company will combine his experience in building and managing cities with Google’s funding and support.
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 (IoT), 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.
Announcing the new company, Doctoroff said: “We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities. At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health, and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible, and resilient. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms, and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”
Larry Page of Google 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.”