There is now conclusive evidence that a community seeking to provide its people with a long, healthy life and meaningful days does not necessarily need more broadband but more alcohol and good sidewalks. It also would benefit from fewer conveniences in the home and the elimination of the word “retirement” from the culture. In fact, what National Geographic Fellow and TEDMED superstar Dan Buettner (pictured right) refers to as “de-convenienced homes,” as well as a concept which the Japanese refer to as ikigai, are major contributing factors to the shockingly long lives with which the people in Okinawa, Japan are blessed. A few drinks each day, a walking lifestyle and Ikigai (which translates roughly into “that which makes life worth living”) are among the criteria at the heart of what Buettner and a group of extraordinary researchers discovered as the real secrets to the long lives people experience in place as diverse as Okinawa, Sardinia and, yes, 2007 Smart21 Intelligent Community Loma Linda, California. After seeing Buettner’s recent appearance on HBO and rereading some of his work, I am surprised that Loma Linda did not make it to the top of the ICF’s Awards that year!Read more
There are few things in life that are free. Being recognized as an Intelligent Community may just be one of them. ICF has never charged any of its 134 recognized Intelligent Communities to apply for the recognition and it even covers for the cost of the Conference fees and Awards dinner if you make the list each year. And there are many other benefits as well. To become recognized by the Intelligent Community Forum as an Intelligent Community we undertake a year-long process that celebrates and promotes these communities as we evaluate them first from a SMART21 level and later to the Top 7 and finally as the Intelligent Community of the Year.Read more
Every year in July, we open the Intelligent Community Awards to new nominations. And every year, we find ourselves engaged in the same strange balancing act.
ICF is a global network of cities and regions with a think tank at its center. That think tank conducts research to learn how cities and regions use broadband and IT to create inclusive local prosperity, to address big social problems, and to enrich their quality of life.Read more
But when it comes to the economy, especially growing global trade, we often hear of great distinctions between city and countryside. Indeed, it is often assumed that most of any country’s economy can be attributed to its cities and public policy follows that assumption.Read more
Around this time of year a lot of cities and communities have started to worry that their nomination for our 2016 Awards program might not be “perfect.” I have an answer for that: if anyone has a perfect city, please send your submission to us right now so that we can name you The Intelligent Community of Forever. While it is not impossible that your place is perfect, I say that this is highly improbable. So relax. This year we have revised the form so that it should be easier for first-time communities to send along their submissions and we expect them ALL to be works-in-progress. After all, as we say, a community is a creative canvas not a fixed stone.Read more
This year’s Summit in Toronto was different and perhaps needs to be recounted. First of all, it was produced by an entirely new entity, ICF Canada, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, City of Toronto, Invest Toronto and the Summit’s Platinum Sponsors, IBM and Cisco. We also had an anniversary - the 20th Anniversary Edition! We had our best-ever event this year since 1995 when we held SMART95 in Toronto – the world’s first ever Smart City conference. So it was no surprize to us that 20 years later we held a phenomenal SOLD OUT event once again that covered 5 days from June 8-12.Read more
The ICF Summit in Toronto (www.icfsummit2015.com) had a lot of moments I will long remember.
Onstage discussions among ICF mayors, city managers and IT directors about how they are collaborating with each other across borders to build their economies.
Visionary of the Year (2014) Suneet Singh Tuli committing to provide a Toronto-based charity with hundreds of his low-cost Datawind tablets for low-income kids.Read more
Last week, the Intelligent Community Forum held its annual summit in Toronto. The underlying theme was “How Intelligent Communities Are Re-Inventing Urban and Rural Planning”, so much of the discussion was about re-invention and innovating.
In addition to the all-day workshops for large urban jurisdictions and smaller cities/towns/rural areas, all of Friday was devoted to Ideas Day – with a slew of presentations sharing novel approaches to local government and planning.Read more
When I heard that they were rumbling into Canada on a big “Buckeye” bus, the same one used by the university’s American-style football team, I thought to myself, “Either the delegation from Columbus, Ohio is very confident, or they are afraid of flying.” Neither was the case, since the delegation was mainly there to learn, to network and, of course, to represent themselves as one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. In the end, however, our Jury and researchers decided that Columbus had enough of the right stuff to accumulate the points needed to push it upward, after several tries, to Intelligent Community of the Year. The city with the “inner go” earned the right to go back home in that bus as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year. They did it their way, proving again, as I said in an interview in their city in April, that no one is fast enough to run away from who they really are.Read more
A little thing like an introduction can sometimes lead to a very big outcome. Connections between ICFF Member Intelligent Communities, for instance, can result in mutual benefits and economic development success stories that can help inspire others and provide invaluable lessons for their evolution as successful Intelligent Communities. At the ICF Summit in Toronto this year - on June 9, you can meet and hear from some of the people behind these successful connections including success stories from Dublin, Ohio and Arlington, Virginia, as well as between Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Waterloo, in Canada. The latter, in fact, is evolving in extra-special terms with a little help from some pomp and ceremony.Read more