Ever wonder how an idea is started and how it might lead to something much bigger than you ever thought it could? The birth of the Intelligent Community Forum started through a new idea generated in the 1980’s and early 1990’s through participation in two organizations, the World Trade Centers Association, focused on global trade, and the World Teleport Association, focused on global telecommunications to link opportunities for global trade, international sports and entertainment events and communications.Read more
Today’s earthquake in Amatrice, Italy prompted the city’s mayor to say, “The town is not here any more!"
There are no sadder words. It is obvious when an earthquake or natural disaster wipes out a place that the future will never be the same. So much is lost when the icons and life of a community are wasted. Desperation seeps in.
Over the summer, I was back in my hometown of Lyons, New York and witnessed another moment of community evisceration that I want to share with you.Read more
The small American rural city of Ashland appeared on our Smart21 list for the first time in 2007. Located in the mountains of southern Oregon, Ashland (population 22,000) has a seasonal economy built on forestry and, as home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, on tourism.
Both are seasonal businesses, so Ashland set out in 1997 to diversify its economy by building a metropolitan fiber network. The deployment went well: from 1997 to 2006, it helped add 517 businesses to a town of just over 10,000 postal addresses. New companies sprang up in e-commerce and audio books as well as such esoteric technologies as the handling of unexploded ordinance.Read more
People who live in big metropolises, like New York City, London or Hong Kong, often say that they can always find someone within a few miles who has a special skill they need to complete some project or build a business. I’ve pointed out that the close proximity of millions of people with so many different skills is part of what has made cities successful economic engines during the industrial era.Read more
You have never seen the work of Ms. Hadam Sung and her sexy dance cover group from Korea, Bambino. She is a “nugu” to you (I’ll explain that one later). On the Internet, however, she is a record-breaking superstar whose talents are cherished throughout Asia. Thanks to broadband, they are exported worldwide. Broadband and innovation, the golden combo, have made it happen for her. Not to mention her hard work and her talent.Read more
In my last post, I wrote about the ladder of opportunity created by a remarkable high school in Winnipeg – created, not alone, but in collaboration with colleges, universities and with the active support of city government. Now I want to write about the next rungs that lead from building skills to building companies.Read more
In early April, I was in the city of Winnipeg in the Canadian Midwest. There I got a lesson in the construction of ladders. Not the kind of ladder on which I make the dangerous climb to clean out my gutters. The kind that helps people of all ages to access opportunity.Read more
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is the original smart cities organization formed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s – initially as the Canadian Smart Cities Institute (CSCI), which worked with the World Teleport Association to organize SMART95, the first smart city conference, held in Toronto in September 1995. The CSCI evolved into the Intelligent Community Forum as a global, but New York City-based non-profit think tank, when it moved from Canada to NYC in the late 1990’s. So, yes, we have been around for a considerable time.Read more
I recently spent two intensive days visiting the 2016 Intelligent Community of the Year, Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. While there, I learned that the world may be a lot more hopeful place than you might think. (For a taste of the experience, see the video compiled by my hosts below.)Read more
The Jury has again warned me.
Before I leave for our annual Top7 site visits I get the same thoughtful warning from members of ICF’s international awards jury. It goes something like this, “Beware of the ‘Potemkin Village’ stunt that these cities may use on you once inside their borders. They will try to show you their best parts, not their broken ones.” The Jury has recommended in the past that we include a second person on our site visits. The second would serve as the provocateur for ICF. This makes sense because I am often there to perform necessary cheerleading with the media, and to remind other stakeholders in the cities why their city was chosen. So far, however, we have determined that the cost to the host community does not justify this.Read more