Sidewalk Talk

Sidewalk Talk

Podcast

Introducing “City of the Future” — a Podcast from Sidewalk Labs

Each episode explores one idea or innovation that will transform cities.

Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk
10 Oct
Q&A

A model for inclusive housing grows in Toronto’s Regent Park

A Sidewalk Talk Q&A on housing affordability with University of Toronto urban studies scholar Shauna Brail.

Eric Jaffe
3 Mar
Prototype

We prototyped a tool called Park Time to bring neighbors together.

Social isolation is a growing challenge for city residents. We prototyped a tool called Park Time to help parents connect.

Shaina Doar and James Merkin
1 Jan
Q&A

The power of ‘networked governance’ to solve city problems

A Sidewalk Talk Q&A with Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak, authors of The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism, on the new era of public, private, and civic collaboration.

Eric Jaffe
1 Jan
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

N-1-1: The Rise (and Surprise) of Three-Digit City Services

The evolution of 911, 311, and other local numbers into digital services promises to make cities far more responsive.

12 Dec
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Street Grids: A City’s Indelible Footprint

Far from a static layout, the grid creates the conditions for new travel modes, adaptable infrastructure, and sustainable growth.

12 Dec
META

The Sidewalk Weekly Newsletter Archive

Never again wonder what we were thinking, doing, and reading about the future of cities on a given week.

12 Dec
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

GPS: The Technology That Envelops Our Cities—and Brains

Location-based services have transformed much of urban life, from taxis to dating, with far more change to come.

12 Dec
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Firefighting Advances: Rising from the Ashes to Make a Safer City

A series of innovations — from fire codes to extinguishers to exits — saved lives, protected cities, and transformed building design.

11 Nov
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Disease Mapping: New Technology Meets an Ancient Discipline

The ability to track — and thus limit — the spread of disease paved the way for modern urban growth.

11 Nov
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Steam Engines: Giving Cities Industrial Might

Steam power brought industry, electricity, and opportunity into cities, but it also paved the way for fossil fuels to damage the planet.

10 Oct
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Traction Motor: Putting the Mass in Mass Transit

By giving rise to powerful new streetcar and subway systems, Frank Sprague's electric motor forever changed commuting and urban development.

10 Oct
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Safety Bicycles: How Pedals Powered Urban Change

The affordable — and, more importantly, rideable — new design provided unprecedented freedom of movement.

10 Oct
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Electric Lighting: Dawn of Urban Nightlife

Edison's incandescent bulb gave rise to profound new possibilities for work and play in cities.

9 Sep
Visual Exploration

Street Life After Retail: 5 Scenarios That Imagine the Future

A visual tour of how e-commerce and digitization might impact city streetscapes—for better or worse.

Eric Baczuk, Jesse Shapins and Johanna Greenbaum
9 Sep
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Zoning: The Legal and Social Codes of Urban Planning

What began as a policy innovation to help organize cities has contributed to segregation and severe housing shortages.

9 Sep
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Shipping Containers: A Big Box Full of Contradictions

Containerization transformed everything from the urban labor force to suburban shopping.

9 Sep
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Traffic Signals: Catalyst of Car-Driven Cities

Traffic lights did make city intersections safer for cars, but they came at the expense of pedestrian freedom.

9 Sep
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Sanitation Systems: The Original Clean Tech

The Ancient Romans first tackled sewage systems, but it took a cholera outbreak for 19th-century London to master them.

9 Sep
15 Innovations That Shaped the City

Elevators: How Cities Rose to the Occasion

Elevators proved to be a primary engine of urban density over the last century, boosting economies of scale for big cities and redefining urban life.

9 Sep