About ICF

Building the Community of the 21st Century

The Intelligent Community Forum is a global network of cities and regions with a think tank at its center.  Its mission is to help communities in the digital age find a new path to economic development and community growth – one that creates inclusive prosperity, tackles social challenges, and enriches quality of life

Growth in a Time of Transformation

Intelligent
Communities
and Smart
Cities

What's the
difference?

 

The “golden oldies” of economic development are losing value year by year as today’s growth companies seek different qualities in a site location or expansion opportunity.  At the same time, communities everywhere are feeling a growing “undertow” as high economic inequality breeds social disruption and cultural loss – just as the social and cultural amenities of a community become as important to employers as they have long been to citizens.   

Why is this happening?  It is the result of decades of digital technology innovation.  Today, cities and counties that adapt to the demands of the digital age survive and thrive amid technology disruption and global competition.  Regardless of their size or location, they make “the place called home” a great place to live, work, build a business and raise the next generation.  But communities that fail to adapt face economic stagnation, decline, population loss and the social and cultural collapse that follows. 

A Method for Growing Your Economy, Society and Culture

For two decades, ICF has studied how communities respond to the disruptions of digital technology and use it to growth their economies, societies and cultures.  From that evidence-based research, it developed the ICF Method, which we teach through educational programs, analytics, reports, books and conferences.  The data comes from a network of more than 180 cities and regions – large and small, urban and rural – on five continents.  Those communities have completed detailed questionnaires, which feed our research and make it possible for ICF to provide analytics reports on their readiness and progress. 

It also entitles them to compete in the global Intelligent Community Awards. From the data, ICF selects each year’s Smart21 Communities (semi-finalists), Top7 Communities (finalists) and Intelligent Community of the Year.  Communities recognized at any of those levels gain global recognition and substantial free media coverage.  Having their goals and programs validated by ICF also leads to broader buy-in from citizens and stakeholders, and gains them access to our global network of peer communities.

Institutes and National Chapters

The Intelligent Community movement is bigger than one organization can serve. To enrich and extend our mission, we work with educational institutions to create and grow Institutes for the Study of the Intelligent Community. We also license groups to establish national chapters of ICF that share our expertise and encourage cities and regions to participate in our programs.

Welcome to the Intelligent Community Forum

We invite you to nominate your community for our Awards, to subscribe to our content, and to learn how our programs create a better future for the place you call home.