Who we are?
Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company tackling the challenges of urban growth. We are currently designing a new kind of mixed-use, complete community on Toronto's waterfront in partnership with the tripartite agency Waterfront Toronto and the local community. This joint effort, called Sidewalk Toronto, will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create a people-centered neighborhood that achieves precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.
Sidewalk’s Public Realm group is part of our Development team, bringing together designers, researchers, and strategists with backgrounds that span architecture, landscape, urbanism, rapid prototyping, public art, cultural anthropology, operations and management, and creative technology development. The team is responsible for the innovation strategy, design, and planning to create a public realm network for Sidewalk Toronto. Team members share a commitment to urban innovation and have diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise.
This position is ideal for someone who is passionate about the future of cities and wants to be part of a team focused on how innovation will shape that future, and is committed to working to figure out how to implement ambitious and impactful new ideas.
Before applying to a position at Sidewalk Labs, we strongly recommend you examine our Mission and Values.
What is the role?
An expansive open space network is vital to creating a neighbourhood culture and forming community bonds. Sidewalk Labs believes that plentiful, accessible, and exciting public space is a fundamental of urban life, not an exclusive amenity. Its approach to the public realm incorporates new design practices and emerging digital tools to provide more open space, make that space activated more of the time, and enable it to be more responsive to the community.
In this role, you will be responsible for leading public realm design projects internally and with external partners, including government staff, citizen stakeholder groups, civil engineers, transportation planners, landscape architects, ecological specialists, architects, and others. You will be responsible for design strategy, project management, team coordination, research, analysis, and documentation. This role will report to the Director of Public Realm and collaborate with members across the organization
We are looking for a design professional with deep passion for the role of the public realm in shaping urban life and the innovation opportunities afforded by emerging technologies. The right candidate is capable of quickly getting up to speed on a variety of topics and mapping out and analyzing complex initiatives to inform decision making.
One of the team’s most important initiatives in 2019 will be further refining an innovative new approach to modular paving, and it is expected that this role plays a significant role in leading the design and project management for this work, collaborating closely with internal and external experts. Another major project area will be refining strategies for flexible street furniture and landscaping that can support diverse uses across the course of a day and seasons.
What you have to achieve:
After one month
- Fully up-to-speed on existing master plan and urban design concepts
- Developed detailed understanding of pavement R&D work-stream, including:
- 2018 analyses
- Current 307 prototype
- Regulatory landscape
- Partnership opportunities
- Accessibility guidelines and designs
- Developed detailed understanding of street designs, including:
- Queens Quay evolution
- Parliament Plaza explorations
- Dynamic Curb as an integrated physical/digital/policy system
- Accessibility for all streets and use cases
- Become embedded in Street of the Future project team as urban designer
After three months
- Taken on day-to-day design leadership of pavement R&D work-steam, including partnership with local universities
- Taken on day-to-day leadership of urban design components of the Street of the Future prototype
- Contributing to select urban design projects as part of integrated master planning team, including work with design consultants
After six months
- Successfully implemented a new pavement pilot with local Toronto partners, operated program to measure success and reported results to identify best practices to inform Sidewalk Toronto design
- Contributed to successful iteration of urban designs to develop detailed design specs for next phase of design and engineering work
What you need to be successful
Focused on user needs
- Your design process is deeply rooted in observing user needs and creatively solving problems to improve people’s lives.
- You excel in user research through interviews, surveys, and observational methodologies.
- You understand public realm design to fundamentally be a practice of place-making, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.
- You think first in designing ecological and urban systems that adapt and evolve to multiple sites and scales.
- You consider sustainability and resilience a guiding principle in all of your work, both from the perspective of the environment and community well-being.
- You excel in diagramming as a design tool to advance thinking and clarify strategic approaches that encompass multiple users, time scales, and spatial conditions.
Bias towards action
- You have a proven track record as a design professional, having designed and executed the delivery of high-impact public realm projects focusing on streets.
- Once you’ve sketched out an idea, you find the fastest path to a prototype to prove the concept.
- You have a strong ability to create whatever assets are needed quickly.
- You are creative: you’ll come up with new ideas based on your broad understanding of user needs, technological possibilities, and city knowledge.
Solve problems, together
- You have strong project management skills, with a proven ability to manage complex projects with multiple internal and external stakeholders; to provide design feedback, receive direction from collaborators, and anticipate next steps; to think through, communicate, document, organize, and execute on project goals and keep other team members on schedule.
- You come up with novel solutions, working well with users, urbanists, and technologies.
- You ask hard questions and challenge assumptions to ensure that we’re solving the right problems.
- You have extremely strong written, verbal, and visual presentation skills, with a proven ability to produce high-quality materials in a variety of formats for internal and external audiences.
We are very excited to hear from you.
The community of the future is a place for everyone, and Sidewalk Labs is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All employment is based on merit and business need.