In this conversation, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Dublin, Ohio CIO Doug McCollough.
So much for the death of distance. Now it’s “keep your distance or get sick and maybe die.”
Social distancing, a new word and the emotional equivalent of a prison sentence for the innocent, descended on us like a sudden iron gate. Here in New York City, where I live, work and, so far, breathe we are the global epicenter for this Michael Jordan of viral diseases. So, I find myself isolated and weirdly unable to do my most simple, pleasurable social transactions and spiritual exercises. It is not losing access to the big stuff that incarcerates me here. Yeah, the restaurants are closed and the theaters are dark, but the fact that I cannot comfortably take an elevator to the lobby of my own building to talk baseball and gather frivolous gossip with my doormen Willie and Javier is killing me.
Nor can I walk down Third Avenue to get tea (and flirt) with the bright, overqualified workers at David’s Tea. This is a total shame because most are big followers of ICF and listen to our podcasts and inquire daily about our work.
And as lunchtime rolls around, I cannot stroll toward Central Park and Hunter College in the early afternoon to talk about Middle East affairs and small business with my entrepreneurial friend from Iraq, whose Halal food carts dish out the best chicken and lamb gyros on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has been expanding his empire on wheels the past two years and now owns additional carts, including one that produces amazing smoothies and healthy juices. In between sliding chopped pieces of scented chicken and herbs onto pita bread, he celebrates the reality of the American Dream. That dream is laced with the dread of a nightmare now.Read more
At the beginning of the New Year in 2020 we were looking at the threat of war rising out of the rhetoric coming out of Washington and from Tehran. I had a flight planned to travel to Kuwait in January to give a keynote address as part of the Kuwait Public Policy Center’s Lecture Series at the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning & Development in Kuwait. See: https://lnkd.in/esEVzzn. As the tensions grew and missiles were fired that downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8, I debated my flight to Kuwait, which neighbors Iran on the Persian Gulf. Ultimately, I made the trip via Cairo and spent an uneventful, but very enlightening, week in Kuwait. Upon my return we immediately had another crisis to deal with – whether or not the ICF Institute-organized ICF TOP7 event in Taoyuan, Taiwan would continue or not due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.Read more
In June 2020, ICF will hold its annual Summit in the city of Dublin. No, not the one in Ireland – nor the ones in the US states of California or Georgia, for that matter. I’m talking about Dublin in the midwestern state of Ohio.
Why is ICF bringing the world to Dublin in June? Because we all need to learn what Dublin can teach us about growing an economy, society and culture in a time when those things are under siege around the world. About being, in other words, a model Intelligent Community.Read more
As cities and regions continue to grow, one of its key economic and city-building drivers will be “airport cities”, known as an aerotropolis. These are massive projects that bring together major free trade zones and logistics activities. They also often bring together air, rail and road connectivity making them very desirable locations for businesses and for high-value products and related light-weight manufacturing and assembly activities that can be efficiently shipped by air cargo. But these airport cities or aerotropolis developments can also bring together other aspects of city building, such as entertainment, restaurants, markets and educational facilities. As a virtual city, it will also be filled with people who may wish to reside in or near an exciting aerotropolis requiring places for everyday shopping, culture and health-related facilities.Read more
The price of freedom in any culture, society or community ultimately comes down to the cost of people being able to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations.
A Supreme Court justice once said that, while the USA’s Constitution was inspired, it did not come with a guarantee that people and places would automatically prosper. It ensured that the people, of whom the government was for, would be protected to make any choice they sought best.
“If people want to go to Hell, I will help them,” he added. “It’s my job.”
At ICF we turned that phrase around by declaring that, “If places want to prosper and get on the path to prosperity and stability, we will show them a method for doing it.”
But it can be Hell to get there.Read more
|The Zacharilla collection from previous Intelligent Communities of the Year. Many of these cities will have representatives on the stage on June 13 to honor Espoo’s successor.|
First, I am wondering which of the seven communities now on their way to New York as I write this will succeed his city, which was an improbable and unexpected choice for the award in London last June? Which of them will celebrate their ranking among the Top7 but then walk to the stage alone, surrounded by Espoo and other former Intelligent Communities of the Year, to accept the trophy as Intelligent Community of the Year?
It is a question in the minds of hundreds of people in these seven communities, as well as throughout our worldwide network, site selectors, the media and, most importantly, cities considering using the ICF Method.
Second is a more parochial conceit. I am wondering if I will get a nice blue tie just like Mayor Mäkelä’s.Read more
“Neither Snow nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night ……stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
As I get ready to leave for my Top7 Site Visits I remember back to February 11 when the seven were chosen.
Pierre-Luc Lachance, a City Councilor for the Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur district of Quebec City was there and on my panel. He is the Deputy Mayor for Entrepreneurship in that fine Canadian city. Quebec played host to this year’s 2019 Top7 Announcement. Mr. Lachance was elected in 2017 after a rigorous campaign. Evidently most EVERY campaign in Quebec City, where the politics can be as hard as the ice on the St. Lawrence River in Winter, is rigorous. Pierre-Luc won his campaign by going “retail.” He went to the heart of his community and did something that seems low-tech but has resonance in local elections. He won the hearts and minds of his fellow citizens by physically knocking on 7,500 doors in the neighborhoods of his district! That alone should have guaranteed him the post.Read more
You go to a conference and a speaker talks about the vital importance of innovation. Your city, county or town needs to be more innovative. It needs to become smarter. It needs to be agile. It needs to juggle flaming torches while keeping a hula hoop in motion.
Actually, none of that is why innovation is important. The guy who first uncovered the truth was Stanford University professor Moses Abramovitz.Read more
|Rob van Gijzel|
The best description I have ever heard about ICF as an ideas-driving think tank for enabling Digital Age policy for cities and towns was from Rob van Gijzel, the former mayor of Eindhoven, The Netherlands and the ICF Foundation’s first chairman. He called us, “The method of transformational decision making for cities.”
And we are. Or at least “a method” for this. We are also a group that inspired communities to believe that, yes, they can.
The world has cooperated with the ICF vision. Thanks to broadband and satellite telecommunications the world became flat. Like the sound of a rail train’s whistle, people heard something familiar and it allowed them to rethink the proposition of the small and the midsized city especially. It dawned on them that “the middle of nowhere” was no longer their domain. They had places with a history and assets that could be transformed.
These cities and towns have begun to determine the course of the global economy because of how they have moved from using smart technology to become Intelligent places. This year’s Smart21 is laden with them, from Vietnam to Ohio to India.Read more