Sidewalk's initial ideas – in a 220-page document made public Tuesday – show the company with an agenda that represents significant innovation in architecture, construction and urban design. Within the area it develops, private cars would be banned; streets would be served by autonomous vehicles and freight robots moving in underground tunnels. Intelligent signals would manage traffic on pedestrian-friendly streets; buildings would be designed to be highly flexible, constructed using modular units that are produced nearby. These would be home to a "radical" mix of offices, retail, residence and maker spaces, a blend which would challenge existing zoning and building-code regulations.
Those buildings would be linked by an energy system that would reduce the district's energy consumption by 95 per cent below city regulations. And a "digital layer" would measure movements of people, energy, traffic and goods through the district.