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Ottawa, Canada and 5 US cities make the Intelligent Community Forum’s “Smart21” list November 21, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Technology.

Congratulations to the Canadian capital city:

Ottawa-Gatineau has once again made the shortlist for a New York-based think tank that tries to identify the world’s most “intelligent” communities.

Each year, the Intelligent Community Forum identifies its Smart21 Communities, from which its Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year will be chosen.

The think tank’s agenda is to increase awareness of the role that broadband communication and information technology play in economic development, social cohesion and global growth.

The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation spearheaded Ottawa-Gatineau’s application to the program and was required to “demonstrate how our community leaders – including politicians, civil servants, educators, business executives or non-profit executives – enable Ottawa-Gatineau to compete effectively in the broadband economy,” OCRI said in a release.

Each submission was judged in five categories: broadband infrastructure, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital democracy, and marketing.

In case the article goes into the digital ether, here’s the link to the list of the Smart21 cities. And take a look after the fold at a snapshot of America’s Smart 21 communities from the Intelligent CommunityForum’s site.

[Ashland, Oregon – Pop. 22,000] A vibrant university town and home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland deployed a municipal broadband network to overcome its geographic isolation, and now operates multiple e-government and public safety applications over the network while local companies do business with customers around the world.

[Bettendorf, Iowa – Pop. 31,275:] Effective collaboration among innovative business leaders, government and local institutions allowed this former agricultural machine manufacturing hub to develop a public fiber network now being extended with WiFi. Strong commercial growth followed, creating new prosperity in what was once a “bedroom community.”

[Corpus Christi, Texas – Pop. 270,000:] A new 1 Mbps broadband wireless network covering 100% of the city is expected to have a transformational impact in Corpus Christi, thanks to multiple e-government applications, virtual textbooks and Web-based lessons in schools, and deep involvement by local business.

[Loma Linda, California – Pop. 22,000:] A small city east of Los Angeles, Loma Linda established an advanced broadband standard for new construction and pooled public and private investment to deploy a network that has attracted businesses and boosted both retail sales and home values in the community.

[San Francisco, California – Pop. 739,426:] A wireless network being built by Earthlink with public backing is making possible 300 Kbps free service to low-income citizens, supported by programs offering affordable PCs, training, support and online services, while paying users receive higher levels of service.

If this topic is of interest, the link above offers the same style snapshots of the other 16 of the Smart21.

Are there some lessons that other American communities – large and small – can draw from these examples?



1. globalburgh - November 21, 2006

I looked at some of the past winners, such as Cleveland in 2006. I’m not sure if making the list is predictive of successful economic development.

If you subscribe to the Intelligent Community Forum’s way of doing things, will it help your city or region?

2. Tom - November 21, 2006

To paraphrase the stock advice, “present performance is no indication of future success.” And I think we can agree that there is no single magic initiative for a successful ED agenda. If there were, we’d all be implementing it.

You amy want to take the Intelligent Communities agenda as part of a larger context. They’re recognizing communities that are doing a lot of good – and often innovative – things through broadband and technology implementation. Surely there are other elements to a robust community than bandwidth alone…but bandwidth may be an attribute of a robust community. And what you do with that bandwidth is probably the larger question.

3. globalburgh - November 21, 2006

Do we know what kind of predictive value the IC agenda has for “future success?” I’m curious about the utility of their analysis.

4. Tom - November 21, 2006

That would be interesting research indeed. And, no, I haven’t done it. If you do or find research that others have done, I would enjoy helping promote it.

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