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Intelligent Community Forum Announces Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2012
Published Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:30 pm

(Honolulu, Hawaii & New York, New York, January 18, 2012) – The Intelligent Community Forum named its 2012 Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year today at a luncheon ceremony at the Pacific Telecommunications Council’s annual conference (PTC’12) in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (13:00 HAST, 18:00 EST, 23:00 GMT). The ICF’s Top Seven are communities that provide a model of economic and social development in the 21st Century using information and communications technology to power growth, address social challenges and preserve and promote culture. The Top Seven announcement is the second stage of ICF’s annual Intelligent Community of the Year awards cycle.    

The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year
The following communities, drawn from the Smart21 of 2012, were named to the Top Seven based on analysis of their nominations by a team of independent academic experts:

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  • Austin, Texas, USA. In the late Eighties, fourteen semiconductor manufacturers and the US government created a partnership called SEMATCH to solve common manufacturing problems. The selection of Austin as its headquarters sparked a technology boom. Growth was so robust for so long that the Austin economy began to look recession-proof—until the dot-com collapse of 2001 tripled the unemployment rate. In response, city government partnered with the Chamber of Commerce on a long-term economic development strategy that led to a nearly $6 billion increase in regional payrolls over five years. A second five-year plan launched in 2010 seeks to add another $11 billion. To address a workforce challenge, Austin has established a program that puts College Enrollment Managers into public schools to guide the choices made by students has helped boost the graduation rate for low-income students 14 percentage points to 75%.
  • Oulu, Finland. Over the past 200 years, Oulu has seen industries come and go, from tar and wood in the age of sail to leather goods, fishing and heavy equipment manufacturing. When heavy industry went into steep decline, the Nokia Research Center and small-to-midsize enterprises (SMEs) became Oulu's biggest employers. But city leaders remained alert to "the Nokia threat"—employment concentrated in a single large company—and founded the Oulu Technology Park to incubate more SMEs. Despite the financial crisis that hit in 2007, Oulu has managed to create 18,000 jobs in high technology, thanks to risk-taking in education and strong public-private collaboration. The government of Oulu has also created an intensive culture of use for information and communications technologies.
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Quebec City has long enjoyed the benefits that accrue to a provincial capital that is also the economic and cultural hub of the province. In the midst of recession, its unemployment rate is less than 5%. Home to major universities, it ranks #1 in Canada and #2 in North America for university students per capita, and has the nation's largest per capita concentration of researchers. Regional GDP has grown 30% in the past 10 years, driven largely by R&D and high-tech businesses. Yet in the 1980s, Quebec City accounted for only 3% of high-tech jobs in the entire province. A decision by local government to interconnect the city's universities and business community transformed a political capital into a technology capital. Quebec Metro High Tech Park is now home to nearly 100 companies employing 5,000 people and the Park's management team continues to advise and steer promising applications from universities into commercial development.
  • Riverside, California, USA. Located 60 miles from Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Riverside is a bedroom community and university town, home to four colleges and universities. It is also an agricultural community and a warehousing and transportation hub. But none of these industries has provided Riverside with sustainable growth. Today, the city is building a tech-based economy that seizes the opportunities of the broadband revolution. A nonprofit, Smart

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