In the lexicon of planners and developers “Smart Parks” are usually reserved for new forms of industrial and business parks that provide high speed broadband to their end-users as the new form of utility. Of course many offer additional benefits to be part of this special tenant mix, from special LED lighting, guaranteed electric power, electric car charging posts, underground utilities, and gated security services. The physical environment might also include high-end data centers, incubators, accelerators and educational institutions in addition to the office environment that they normally offer. Some offer unique environmental applications such as green buildings, wind turbines, solar panels, vacuum-based waste disposal as well as collecting data via sensors to measure for system efficiencies, environmental readings and traffic flow. Some, such as the Eindhoven Tech Center in the Netherlands offer synergy centres where people gather in restaurants, gymnasiums, ad hoc meeting spaces and advanced digital libraries.Read more
Well, here we go: another Smart21 announcement day approaches, and a new group of communities – cities, towns and regions representing millions of people – will prove yet again that the future belongs to places that we may have once thought were extinct or in great danger of perishing.Read more
As we heard at the announcement of the ICF Summit in Toronto on June 11, 2015, “O-H-I-O”, representing Columbus, Ohio, was the newest Intelligent Community of the Year. The Mayor, Michael Coleman, pictured right, shot out of his seat as he and the rest of the large Columbus delegation were soon up on stage and basking in the glory of their well-deserved and long sought-after win.Read more
The maker movement is one of the hottest trends in the public library world. Maker spaces in libraries have the latest in 3D printing technology, digital media tools and other tools for the creative person who wants to make things. These are full-fledged STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts and math) labs.Read more
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