As the world continues to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICF has recognized a chance to provide a public service. In these video interviews and series of related blogs, ICF will speak with leaders of Intelligent Communities about how they are tackling the fast-evolving coronavirus threat. We want to explore how their people are responding and the online and offline tools they are using in their effort to keep the community engaged and informed. Our goal is to help our network of community leaders better manage the crisis by sharing the experiences and practices of fellow leaders around the world.


No Place But Home: The New Abnormal – Ethical Smart Cities

In this episode of The New Abnormal series, ICF Co-Founders Lou Zacharilla and John Jung speak with Cyrus Tehrani of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Paddy Harrington of Frontier Co., and Institute without Boundaries at George Brown College graduate students Hardeep Kaur and Madalynne Lawrence. Their “Transforming into Ethical Smart Cities” playbook, website, and video launches this Friday, May 29 at 4pm EST - more information can be found at

No Place But Home: The New Abnormal: Data Governance, New Technological Paradigm; Who's Really Taking Your Temperature?

In this #NoPlaceButHome discussion, we move away from the topic of physical space and density in communities and move to another topic: privacy. ICF Co-Founders Lou Zacharilla and John Jung speak with Kristina Verner, Monique Crichlow and Jean-Noé Landry in the third discussion of The New Abnormal series.

No Place But Home: Hudson, Ohio, USA and COVID-19 with James Stifler

In this video, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks with James Stifler, Chief Economic Officer of Hudson, Ohio, USA - a Top7 Intelligent Community of 2020.

No Place But Home: The New Abnormal: The Future of Co-Existence & Unsocial Distancing

In this No Place But Home: The New Abnormal panel discussion, ICF Co-Founders Lou Zacharilla and John Jung speak with Shyam Khandekar and Hassan Radoine.

No Place BUT Home: Caledon, Ontario, Canada and COVID-19 with Mayor Allan Thompson

ICF Co-Founder Robert Bell speaks about COVID-19 and other challenges with Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson.

No Place BUT Home: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia and COVID-19 with Mayor Mark Jamieson

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks about COVID-19 and other challenges with Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson.

No Place BUT Home: The New Abnormal - Episode 1, with Joe Berridge, Luigi Ferrara and Ibrahim Almufti

What will our cities look like post-COVID? Will we ever trust our cities again? Is "density" the new enemy of urban planning? In this new segment of No Place BUT Home, we look at issues of vital importance that relate to the health, design & economic future of the places we live. Featuring Joe Berridge of Urban Strategies, Inc; Luigi Ferrera of the George Brown College in Toronto; and Ibrahim Almufti of ARUP. Co-Hosted by John Jung, and produced with the support of ICF Canada.

No Place But Home: Discussing COVID-19 and Taiwan with Ema Hsieh

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses Taiwan's successes in dealing with COVID-19 with Ema Hsieh.

No Place But Home: Discussing COVID-19 and Rural China with Giulio Verdini

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Westminster University's Giulio Verdini.

No Place But Home: Tallinn, Estonia's Response to COVID-19 (Toomas Sepp)

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Tallinn, Estonia Head of City Office Toomas Sepp.

No Place But Home: Dublin, Ohio's Response to COVID-19 (Part 2)

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Dublin, Ohio City Manager Dana McDaniel.

No Place But Home: Dublin, Ohio's Response to COVID-19

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Dublin, Ohio CIO Doug McCollough.


No Place BUT Home Blogs

Part 1: Socially Distanced by Spiritually Connected 
By Lou Zacharilla
March 24, 2020

There is no Dow Jones Index for social decline, it is said. But distance is the nasty medicine we are being forced to swallow for an indeterminate amount of time. So we use whatever tools we have to remain connected and to function.

Read more >>>

Part 2: The Blitz
By Lou Zacharilla
April 1, 2020

There is battle underway in New York. With the virus surging toward its peak I am starting to feel like I am living through something akin to what I know of “The Blitz” in the early 1940’s in England, during World War II. What will your community become when it goes indoors and the blitz starts? What will you be doing? 

Read more >>>

Part 3: Six Feet
By Lou Zacharilla
April 6, 2020

When our Mayor and Governor put out a call for healthcare industry volunteers from around the nation to come here to help us, 21,000 people signed up for the dangerous job within 72 hours! Add to them another 40,000 people inside the State’s cities and towns who also raised their hands and are arriving or going online to provide a range of services. There is no better feeling, especially during an existential crisis, than to feel this.

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Part 4: Dying Like Grandpa
By Lou Zacharilla
April 13, 2020

Lyons, New York is 40 miles east of the City of Rochester, where ICF held its Smart21 Conference in October in what feels like another era. If there was any good on Friday, when we are reminded that if there were no Cross there would be “no Crown” to gather around, it was the report that for the fourth day in a row, the rate of new COVID-19 cases was lower. The field hospital at the Javits Center is more lightly populated with patients than we feared. New York is using data to manage the crisis, but the crisis remains deep. But we are managing. The curve is levelling. Our healthcare workers are worn to the bone like infantry soldiers on a Pacific jungle island in World War II. They have emerged as heroes – as heroic as the First Responders of 9/11 – and they continue to come from states like Kansas to be here to fight for us.

Read more >>>

Part 5: “. . . And This is a Long Day.”
By Lou Zacharilla
April 23, 2020

Since COVID came to town, I notice things when I wake up in the morning with an intensity and a clarity that wasn’t there weeks ago. When I look outside of my window, the “worldly dust,” as the Dali Lama once called it, has vanished. I see with terrible clarity. What do I see now? The parking garage attendant in a short sleeve shirt waiting for a car to pull in. Bright sunlight. Tulips in front of the Imperial House apartments.

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Part 6: The Tunnel at the End of the Light
By Lou Zacharilla
May 5, 2020

It seems appropriate that the USS Comfort shoved off and left New York Harbor a hero and forever a part of the New York legend. It was also right that she left us in the damp, misty fog that engulfed the harbor and the city that day. She did leave behind a black swan, which she could not do anything more about. That is left up to us. Rain or shine, the Pandemic is still very much walking my streets and riding my beloved Q train like a hungry ghost and mass murderer who seems ready to appear at any moment in any household, apartment or CVS checkout line to devour.

Read more >>>

Part 7: Epicenter
By Lou Zacharilla
May 19, 2020

When this Pandemic ends and how it ends, no one really knows. But on this incredibly beautiful mid-May afternoon, my neighborhood almost seems normal again. Shops are opening their doors to air out their insides. Starbucks on East 66th is selling take-out coffee again. Streets are swelling, but there are hints that not all is altogether well.

Read more >>>

Part 8: Heroine’s Walk
By Lou Zacharilla
June 3, 2020

She hears it every night precisely at 7:00 PM. But tonight, she was running late for her shift and talking on her phone as briskly as she was scurrying to confront what is left of “The Beast” inside New York Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues – and those of us shouting our thanks at her from balconies, windows & the street - have managed to put this son-of-a-bitch of a virus on the run and bend it with the authority of a blacksmith pounding hot steel to a more desired shape. Finally.

Read more >>>

Part 9: The Boards of Madison Avenue
By Lou Zacharilla
July 21, 2020

The Big Apple is the wrong name for New York this summer. No one knows what will come to New York this autumn and beyond. It will not be the World Series, Tracy Letts’ new play or a fraction of our 65.2 million annual visitors. New York will not be as fine as apple pie by Columbus Day or Thanksgiving. What New York will be from this moment forward is not clear. This may be true of most places. What they must now think about is how to become more intelligent. Less indoctrinated and more sensitive to a need to preserve the greatest material gift everyone shares: the place we live in together. Home.

Read more >>>


Community Success Stories

COVID-19 Lockdown Finds Hudson, Ohio Prepared to Teach Online
By Robert Bell
April 24, 2020

Educational systems around the world are struggling to provide online learning to students who can no longer gather in schools. The challenges range from equipping and training teachers to teach online and adapting course materials to the availability of technology and connectivity, especially for low-income families.

We spoke with Rhonda Kadish, Community Relations Manager for the City of Hudson, about that two-time Top7 Intelligent Community’s learn-at-home strategy.

Read more >>>

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