As a member of the 6 Place Toronto, a research and working group on urban space in Toronto, Canada, IXDM researcher Jamie Allen hosts one of their thematic investigations called Water/Data:

Modern cities are spaces of desire, projection and futurity. One way that cities express inclination and aspiration, to themselves and to the world, is through real, planned, projected and imagined infrastructure projects.

Toronto’s R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, completed in 1941, is the city’s palatial ode to shared, public provision — it is an over-specified, immoderately adorned expression of the potential of public works and the collective systems that constitute urban life. Sidewalk Toronto is Google subsidiary Alphabet Inc.’s proposed 12-acre development of “smart” infrastructure, urban innovation and improved, sustainable and connected living.

These two sites are productively disjunctive — revealing comparable if opposing motivations in the contemporary history of a city that feels as if it is always becoming, always reaching toward a future it missed somewhere along the way. R.C. Harris and Sidewalk are two infra-structurally connected undertakings only Toronto could produce and/or project, two sites that bookend visions of a modern city that, through technology, attempts to support, nurture and create the social, economic and ecological needs of its denizens.

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