The countryside is in trouble. You know it. I know it. The United Nations says so. The share of the world’s population living in the countryside is shrinking as megacities grow. Opportunities for education and employment are shrinking with it, forcing bright kids to leave town to pursue their ambitions. The tax base erode, schools consolidate, services falter and stores close.Read more
There are some interesting developments happening in Winter Park, Florida. Established in the late 1800s as a winter haven for the wealthy of northern states, it is now a city of about 29,000 people in the Orlando metroplex.
Although it has a nice quality of life, relative affluence, other good aspects, etc., like every city, it faces its challenges. What makes it interesting is how the city is responding.Read more
Every day now, the migrants flow north by the thousands from the arc of chaos on the Mediterranean’s southern shore. Their fearful, inspiring stories grip the world and confront the nations of the European Union with yet another challenge to unity.
Whether to let the migrants in, whether to let them leave, where and how to distribute them, how generously to meet them – these are fundamental questions of policy and humanity. One answer comes from the German and Austrian citizens who flock to train and bus stations bearing food and clothing, calling out greetings to exhausted travelers. They challenge us all to find the compassion hidden in our hearts. They remind us of the many times a stranger helped us without being asked.Read more
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