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Activists say Alphabet’s planned neighborhood in Toronto shows all the warning signs of Amazon HQ2-style breakup

Local residents concerned about the company's plan to collect data in public spaces have waged an opposition campaign called Block Sidewalk, which is calling for an end to the project. Before this deep distrust began to bubble up in our culture, it would have been hard to imagine any city saying no to a development led by tech giants such as Amazon or Google. But that's exactly what's happening in cities like Berlin, New York City, and Toronto, where citizens have begun to challenge the role of tech companies as city-builders. Three months later, Amazon made the stunning decision to walk away from its planned second headquarters in New York City, known as HQ2, following a similar resistance from local politicians, who banded together to oppose the new development. As the two projects fought to stay alive, Sidewalk Labs — the urban innovation arm of Google's parent company, Alphabet — was developing plans for a $1 billion high-tech neighborhood in Toronto. Sidewalk Labs has characterized its activity as executing the vision of Waterfront Toronto, a government agency, but Murakami Wood said Waterfront Toronto "seems intent on giving away control." As the public meetings went on, he said, Sidewalk Labs "showed nothing other than supreme arrogance" in pushing forward their own ideas without properly addressing residents' concerns.

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