(TNS) -- Columbus, Ohio, is the top city in its class in its ability to attract and grow tech talent, according to an annual research report.
The report “Scoring Tech Talent,” from Los Angeles-based commercial real-estate company CBRE, ranked Columbus as the top small market among U.S. and Canadian cities and No. 23 overall.Read more
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is giving millions to turn Columbus, Ohio into the city of the future
Self-driving electric shuttles and high-speed WiFi stations may soon grace the the streets of Columbus, Ohio as part of a futuristic makeover planned for the city.Read more
Columbus is a city of sharp contrasts. The capital of the state of Ohio, it has the highest metropolitan concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in America and is the home of the research school Ohio State University (OSU) and Battelle, the world’s biggest private research institute. But the city also has a large, low-income population stranded by the decline of low-skilled factory employment and is ranked 46th out of the 50 largest US cities for upward mobility. As a result, average per-capita income trails America’s and its employers struggle to find qualified staff while unemployment and low-wage jobs afflict too many citizens.
Municipal Broadband Attracts Competitors
Columbus is attacking these challenges on multiple fronts and through collaboration among government, education, business and institutions. It is also leading a regional approach to economic development with surrounding communities including former Top7 Dublin. The collaboration plays out in broadband, where the partners have interconnected their fiber networks supporting schools and universities, hospitals, research institutes and government facilities. This continuing investment in advanced broadband has helped attract multiple competing commercial providers as well as enabling a unified traffic management system and mobile solutions for the city workforce including first responders.
Educators meanwhile are collaborating to improve the chance that low-income students can afford higher education and also succeed at it. The Central Ohio Compact unites K-12, community college and undergraduate institutions to guide low-income students into higher education. Preferred Pathway is one program that guarantees community college graduates a university placement, which lets them turn their 2-year degree into a 4-year degree at a fraction of the normal cost. City government supports this effort with programs including Capital Kids, which provides after-school digital literacy programs for K-12 students, and APPS, which works to give at-risk youth positive alternatives to being on the street, including computer labs funded by Microsoft.
From Brain Drain to Brain Gain
Another partnership, TechColumbus, offers startup acceleration, business mentoring, seed funding and capital attraction. Its First Customer program helps young companies generate their first revenue from established companies in the region.
The East Franklinton neighborhood was once the heart of a vibrant African-American cultural scene and Mayor Coleman has made its revitalization a personal crusade. A community-based planning effort has created a vision for building residential, retail and creative space as well as a business incubator, and private investment has already converted an abandoned warehouse into a performance and studio space supplemented by an art gallery, coffee shop and farmer’s market. Grant funding is going into the development of a makerspace and community workshop.
Go to the App Store on the iPhone or Android and search for MyColumbus. Downloading this app (rated 3.5 out of 5 by users as of June 2012) will put the City of Columbus, Ohio, USA into the palm of your hand.
MyColumbus started out as a student project at Ohio State University. Students worked with the IT department of the city to identify open-data databases that could provide the most up-to-date information on city services, location of facilities and schedules of public events. They then built an app to access the data and turn it into easy-to-understand information. The city’s IT department was so impressed with the result that, with the students’ permission, it hired a software company to expand the app and put a professional gloss on it.
The resulting MyColumbus provides MyNeighborhood (location-based mapping and information about community resources, refuse collection and health inspections), GetActive (links to events, bike and trail guides and healthy lifestyle tips), GreenSpot (with information on sustainability) and 311 (where residents can log service and information requests). Service requests submitted via MyColumbus are resolved 3.3 times faster, on average, than telephone requests. Why? Because users can submit photos and GPS coordinates with their service requests, which helps maintenance workers show up with the right tools and materials to get the job done.
MyColumbus is so effective because of the rich data that Columbus’s IT department makes available to it. The city’s geographical information system (GIS) has hundreds of layers and supports applications including One-Stop-Shop Zoning, Utility Dashboard, Capital Improvements Planning, Fire Hydrants Inspection/Maintenance, and that all-important function in snowy southern Ohio, Snow Removal. The data derived from databases, sensors and GPS flows through to operations managers, planners, businesses and citizens in a never-ending stream.
This range of programs and applications is having measurable impact. Columbus is now one of a handful of US metros that turned a brain drain in 2005-2007 into brain gain in 2007-2009. Employment growth in skilled manufacturing has exceeded 35% over the past decade. And in 2013, Columbus was named one of the top 10 cities in the US for new college grads.
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Columbus was featured in the Intelligent Community Forum book Brain Gain.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2015
Smart21 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Top7 2013 | 2014 | 2015
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
Former Taichung mayor and Foreign Minister Dr. Jason Hu named Visionary of Year at 20th Anniversary of Intelligent Community Movement
(June 11, 2015 – Toronto, ON, Canada & New York City, NY, USA) – Declaring that the rebirth of the American Midwest was in full view for the world to see, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named Columbus, Ohio, USA as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year at a dinner ceremony in the spectacular Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto, Canada host city for the global awards program. The awards ceremony was the conclusion of the Intelligent Community Forum’s annual Summit. Columbus succeeds Toronto as the think-tank’s annual Intelligent Community of the Year. Dr. Jason Hu, the three-time mayor of Taichung and nation’s former Foreign Minister was given the group’s prestigious Visionary of the Year award. Dr. Hu gave the Keynote address.Read more
In 2008 Columbus, Ohio (USA) was named the #1 “up and coming city” in the United States by Forbes magazine. This surprised people. Most people did not know where Columbus was and those who did associated it with poverty, lack of digital inclusion and the flight of its gentrified and middle-classes from its urban center. There was the impression that Columbus, the capitol of the state of Ohio, was rusting away. Bitten by the fangs of a post-industrial collapse, Columbus was a place where, if you were born poor, you had only a 5% chance of getting into the top fifth percentile of wage earners, which nearly guaranteed a long, mainly miserable life. Your relief was hoping that nearby Ohio State University might win its football games. You could at least live a success vicariously. It was ironic. In a state (Ohio) that headquarters America’s national Inventors Hall of Fame, Columbus scored low on Richard Florida’s “creative index” list. Even Columbus’s Smart21 nomination form to ICF pointed to the disappointing ranking (#61) as one of its challenges. In 2008 it promised itself and the world more.Read more
The best thermometer of how the world views the 2015 finalists for the world’s most Intelligent Community of the Year designation is best found in the press coverage. This year the lesson is that dark horses have reached for the top. Forbes noted that the Top7 “are not the cities you think of immediately” as tech powerhouses. The UK’s Independent said as much and concluded by saying that we can learn from them. Noting the population differences the Independent referred to Mitchell, SD (pop 15,000) as the “minnow” of the group. The South Dakota community, in the mind of the press, is swimming upstream in its quest for further glory in Toronto in June when we will announce the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.Read more
New York, New York – January 22, 2015 - The Intelligent Community Forum announced the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 earlier today in an online event hosted by Finland’s former Minister of Communications, Suvi Linden. The Top7 list included cities and towns from 5 different nations, three communities from the United States, one from Australia, one from Brazil, one from Canada, and one from Taiwan.Read more
Taichung City, Taiwan & New York, New York – January 23, 2014 - The Intelligent Community Forum has announced the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Top7 list includes three from Canada, two from the United States, and two from Taiwan. "This year's Top7 group is unusual in that they represent only three nations. However, they collectively are a canvas that represents our movement. Each made it to the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability. They have set a new course for other cities to follow. We look forward to welcoming them to New York in June for the selection of the Intelligent Community of the Year," said Lou Zacharilla, Intelligent Community Forum co-founder as he announced the Top7 at a conference hosted in Taichung City, Taiwan, the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year.Read more