Amazon is looking for a city for its new headquarters. Boring! Google is looking to build a city. The FT reports:
Google’s parent company was working on a sweeping plan to build a city from the ground up, the executive in charge of its urban innovation business said on Tuesday, in an attempt to prove that a technologically-enabled urban environment can improve quality of life and reduce cities’ impact on the environment.
…“We actually want to build a new city, it is a district of the city, but one that is of sufficient size and scale that it can be a laboratory for innovation on an integrated basis,” said Dan Doctoroff, head of Sidewalk Labs, at a talk to the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association.
Sidewalk was “quite far along” in its search for a city with which to partner to build a testing ground for new approaches to transport, infrastructure and possibly even governance and social policy, he said.
As I said in my NYTimes op-ed on private cities (with Shruti Rajagopolan):
The world is building more cities, faster than ever before. China used more cement in the last three years than the United States used in the entire 20th century. By 2050, India will need new urban infrastructure to house an additional 404 million people — a task comparable to building every city in the United States in just 35 years.
…As the world urbanizes, we need to experiment with new urban forms and new forms of urban planning, and privately designed and operated cities — proprietary cities — like Jamshedpur, India, or Reston, Va., may provide answers.
By the way, Virginia’s private city, Reston, was just named by Money magazine as one of the best places to live in the United States.