America’s government – representing 21% of its mighty economy – was shut down as those of us living here celebrated the arrival of the New Year. Nearly 800,000 federal employees were put out of work, including the transportation security agency tasked with ensuring that our flights to Quebec City to announce the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities on February 11th will take off – I hate to use the word – without a bang!
Ronald Regan’s infamous, unfortunate political dictum, spoken on a January day in 1981 was not only put to the test, it was proved resoundingly wrong, but in a way that gnaws at you the way in which a platitudinous claim can reveal a nugget does. He got something right by forcing us to again rethink the virtues of government.
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem.”
Ahhh, but of which government was “The Gipper” speaking?Read more
I’m waiting at a stoplight. It turns green but the car ahead of mine sits still. Time passes. I gently tootle the horn. After another moment’s pause, the car ahead of me shoots guiltily ahead through the intersection. And I know exactly why.
Put down the phone.
It has gotten to the point in my little suburban town where the police have a digital sign running downtown. It says, “Get your head out of your apps.” Okay, it’s a little crude but this is New Jersey. Whaddaya want?
Really, put down the phone.Read more
Smart Infrastructure Solutions for your Intelligent Communities
June 11, 2019, New York City: Mark that in your calendars. Better yet, register to be among those who will be able to benefit from the exclusive all-day economic development program to add real results to your attendance at the 2019 Global Intelligent Communities Forum Summit in New York.
What can you expect at this event?Read more
“I teach two things, suffering and the end of suffering.” Buddha
Over the years I have attempted to understand the “inner mysteries” of place. It has always been a core belief of mine that communities succeed or fail, as do sports teams, on what are called the “intangibles.” The unidentifiable or ineffable – call it “chemistry,” as they do in athletics – components. Hard to measure, impossible to see but felt like a breeze when things go along smoothly and like a sledgehammer on the chest cavity when they do not. To borrow a phrase from the American president’s inauguration speech in 2017, a sense of “carnage” seems palpable.
I prefer the word of the ancient wisdom traditions to describe these intangibles: the “soul” of a place.Read more
According to an outfit called Grand View Research, the global market for Smart City solutions will grow by 18.4% per year through 2025, reaching US$2.57 trillion in annual sales.
If you lead a city or county, those words should make you uneasy – because they mean that the beating heart of your community is somebody’s else’s low-hanging fruit.Read more
As we approach the 2018 Smart21 Announcement in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on October 25, 2018, there is an added twist to this event this year, a Community Roundtable. It will be a great opportunity for communities to showcase their cities, towns and regions, but equally important is the fact that these are all Canadian communities, big and small, urban and rural, that had previously been recognized by ICF’s adjudicators as a SMART21, TOP7 or Intelligent Community of the Year. They will each speak to what makes their community smart and intelligent and what some of their key challenges were and what solutions they applied to resolve these challenges. Some may even brag about how this process has helped their community focus their transformation to become smart cities and intelligent communities. And some may even boast about how their use of the brand as a SMART21 city or TOP7 Intelligent Community may have helped them attract investors, jobs and talent to their communities.Read more
Rarely have I seen a mayor cry when receiving an award. But there I was, in London, on the angular stage of American Square, standing next to Mayor Jukka Mäkelä of Espoo, moments after announcing our 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year. It is always a thrilling event, much like a World Cup, with unexpected moments almost guaranteed and plenty of nationalism garnishing our celebration of our eclectic salad of communities.
Apparently as surprised as most everyone in the room, the mayor took the stage and greeted everyone on it. He took his trophy and looked at it for an almost uncomfortably long time before speaking. I realized that this was partly because he was in a minor state of shock and delight. He acknowledged his Top7 peers, whose long faces were not as long as I imagined they would be. Each had a classy smile on as they applauded. This said everything you need know about our Top7 this year.Read more
Binh Duong, Vietnam Journal – Part One
“History is always more exciting, inspiring and approximate of the truth when you focus on telling the story of the heroic ones of the tribe,” Michael Medved, Historian.
In my travel journal from December 2016, I wrote this about my first trip there to the aspiring Intelligent Community of Binh Duong:
Vietnam. The word stirs many images, feelings and opinions, especially as an American. Even now. Here for the first time, and it is gratifying to see the work and ideas of ICF being embraced and put into action. Hopefully the ICF Method will be remembered here as a unifying idea for the Intelligent Community of Binh Duong and for human communities elsewhere in the country. The ICF Method is being put to work in this place of great potential by some amazing people in the Smart City Office, the government and in academia. Many are becoming my friends. I am glad they are working with the Dutch (Eindhoven International Project Office) on this program, since Eindhoven is a former Intelligent Community of the Year and, more than most, totally grasps the “triple helix” method. (Hell, they practically invented it!) I believe these ideas and the “helix” approach can apply everywhere, although at various pace depending on a lot of things. Vietnam will be proof of it someday. The intent and seriousness are here. But as always, as is the case just about everywhere, there is a ways to go. I will say in my talk tomorrow that this place is someday going to be “the pride of Vietnam,” because I can feel that. And I am hopeful for that to happen someday sooner rather than later.Read more
“There are few things in life that are free. Being recognized as an Intelligent Community may just be one of them.”
That was the beginning of the blog on August 5, 2015 about the benefits that communities can expect by successfully applying to be recognized as a SMART21 Intelligent Community via https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/nominations. I have often been asked what the benefits are from the unique ICF Awards Program and I have referred them to the original blog from August 2015. But three years later, I felt we needed to update the original. Besides, the original listed only 12 benefits. Today, we are listing an amazing Top 20 Reasons.Read more
“The purpose of life is not to increase its velocity.” – Gandhi
My ancestors came to America from the southern regions of Italy and populated New York City, as well as many small towns in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. It surprised people unfamiliar with the unique and specifically local and regional nature of Italy that, even though I am of Italian ancestry, I did not visit Venice in northern Italy until I was nearly 40 years old.
I was there for my honeymoon. It was a glorious, sunny day. The Grand Canal and especially the Rialto Bridge at dusk captured me like love itself, and though northern and southern Italy are as different as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, I knew I had, in some deep sense, returned “home.”
My new wife and I were headed to the site of La Fenice, the iconic opera house which had mysteriously burned to the ground in the late 1990s. She loves opera and I love walking in cities and meeting people.Read more