The Certification Standards

Intelligent Community Certification is based on a proven methodology developed by ICF over 20 years of work with municipalities pursuing citizen-first economic, social and cultural growth. It analyzes communities across six Factors that have been shown to contribute to success. The Factors and data points are as follows:

Broadband and digital services

  • Degree of competition among broadband ISPs serving the community
  • Availability and adoption of broadband
  • Affordability of broadband service
  • Policies promoting broadband deployment
  • Presence of a senior IT leader in local government

Knowledge workforce

  • Technology offerings in public schools
  • Programs fostering collaboration between secondary, technical/community and undergraduate/graduate institutions and local employers
  • Training and support programs for unemployed and underemployed residents
  • Organizations providing or participating in workforce development
  • Educational attainment of the population
  • Higher education institutions within the community or within commuting distance
  • Changes in employment
  • Presence of a senior official responsible for coordinating internal and outside resources to identify employer needs and develop skills and knowledge in the general population


  • Innovation programs that support a startup ecosystem and established businesses
  • Innovation programs that promote business-academic-government collaboration on economic development
  • Funding sources available to support new and established business growth
  • Smart city services offered by local government
  • Presence of a senior official responsible for innovation in the community

Community engagement

  • Person-to-person methods used by local government to educate and involve the public in decision-making
  • Digital methods used to extend engagement to members of the public beyond person-to-person opportunities
  • Methods for communicating the economic and community development story to the outside world
  • Presence of a senior official responsible for engaging citizens, businesses and others in governance and community life

Digital inclusion

  • Barriers that keep citizens from engaging in the digital economy and society
  • Facilities and services for citizens to promote digital adoption
  • Facilities and services for organizations to promote digital adoption
  • Presence of a senior official responsible for bridging the digital divide

Sustainability and resilience

  • Local government strategies for sustainability and resilience
  • Environmental risks facing the community and status of programs to address them
  • Targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or saving energy, and progress toward those target
  • Programs engaging citizens and organizations in improving sustainability and resilience
  • Top industrial sectors in the community’s economy by employment
  • Green industries operating in the community
  • Strategies for attracting or promoting development of green industries
  • Presence of a senior official responsible for sustainability and resilience