On Christmas Day of 2014, Taiwan lost a county and gained a city, when the county of Taoyuan changed to municipal status. Its proximity to the Taipei Metropolitan Area has led to major investments in such public utilities as Taiwan’s largest international airport and the 2017 Taoyuan MRT Airport Line, which speeds connections between the city’s high-speed rail station and the airport. These, in turn, have driven rapid development in Taoyuan City, which has attracted a large number of new residents from other cities and countries.
Taoyuan is the largest industrial science and technology city in Taiwan. More than one-third of Taiwan’s top 500 manufacturing industries have set up factories in Taoyuan. The industrial output value of about 2.87 trillion NTD has led all Taiwanese cities for 14 consecutive years. The population is a fusion of many ethnic groups such as Minnan, Hakka and Aboriginal people. Because of the industrial development, Taoyuan is also the municipality with the largest number of foreign workers from Southeast Asia and the largest number of Vietnamese new residents.
Broadband Services for All
Taoyuan initiated the i-Taoyuan Free Wi-Fi 2.0 project in 2016 to optimize the city’s existing wireless network services and expand the city’s free network environment of hotspots. As of 2019, the project has established 5,000 free wireless hotspots throughout the city with plans in place to expand four high-traffic areas into hot zones with wider coverage. Chunghwa Telecom has set up its own network of 5,236 CHT Wi-Fi hotspots with 400 access points as well, distributed in all public areas for use by the general populace. In addition to setting up hotspots, Taoyuan has worked with local providers Taoyuan City Telefirst Cable Communication Co., Ltd., North Taoyuan Cable TV Co., Ltd. and South Taoyuan Cable TV Co., Ltd. to ensure that broadband service is available across the entire city.
With Internet access available so widely in the city, Taoyuan has developed the Smart District and Village System. The system connects 13 districts and 495 villages and neighborhoods in Taoyuan City with the city’s many government departments, allowing citizens to access up-to-date transit information and providing local businesses with an online platform to offer their mobile services. Taoyuan is also introducing smart parking and location systems to car parks in those districts and has deployed a dynamic information system for the city’s buses. Taoyuan Metro now provides free 4G and WiFi coverage and smart services as well.
Taoyuan is also currently working on an Internet of Things demonstration site for Taiwan. Asia Pacific Telecom has established 90 LoRa hotspots in the city to support Taiwan’s first Internet of Things dual network. The network is expected to cover all of Taiwan in the near future.
Youth Entrepreneurship in Qingpu
To further develop its youth talent, Taoyuan has created the Youth Entrepreneurship Headquarters in Qingpu. The Headquarters hosts a series of innovation- and entrepreneurship-themed courses for local youth as well as courses in the application of technology in new industry. As of 2016, the Headquarters has reached 441 members, 933 stationed members, and 17 teams of instructors.
The Taoyuan city government has established another entrepreneurship headquarters in the Taoyuan Youth Commander, which is the city’s first co-working maker space. As a startup hub, the Taoyuan Youth Commander provides clients with professional consultation and other services to help new ventures get off the ground and learn the fundamentals of business and marketing. The maker space also aids entrepreneurs in finding partners for their projects both within Taiwan and overseas. As of 2017, Taoyuan has planned an additional three national-level bases for young entrepreneurs: Hotuoshan IoT New Venture Hub, Chung Yuan Entrepreneurship Village and Young Maker Co-working Park.
The city has also partnered with local colleges to add more entrepreneurial courses. National Central University in Taoyuan has established the Foreign Language Talent and Smart Industry Incubation Center to connect local students with international students and entrepreneurs.
Creating an Innovation Hub
With its location between Taipei and Hsinchu, Taoyuan is perfectly placed to be an innovation and business hub in Taiwan. The city is home to the largest cluster of logistics companies in Taiwan, including many supermarkets, hypermarkets, retailers and fresh food suppliers. To provide broader logistical support to new industries, Taoyuan has developed the Taoyuan Aerotropolis and has established the only airport free trade zone in Taiwan. The city has also created an Innovation and R&D Centre to provide further resources and services to new and established companies.
Connecting all of these developments to the rest of Taiwan is essential for the innovation hub. The Taoyuan city government has established a comprehensive network of buses in the city with a total of 261 routes, many of which now sport dynamic information systems that provide useful data to travelers. In addition to the bus system, Taoyuan is connected to Taipei and Hsinchu via high speed rail, MRT, highways and the Taoyuan International Airport MRT. The city has outfitted all of these routs with 4G wireless coverage to allow travelers to work, research or relax while in transit.
Providing Knowledge and Access to Services through the Citizen Identity Card
Taoyuan launched a citizen identity card called the Taoyuan City Card in 2015 as a means of connecting its residents with a wide variety of public services and information. The card is integrated with many of the city’s transportation systems, serving as a ticket for busses, MRT, the Taiwan Railway, and even as a means to rent a bicycle. It may also be used to pay parking and most other government fees, as a municipal library card and even as a meeting attendance card for citizens to better keep track of their schedules.
In addition to city services, the Taoyuan City Card also provides citizens with discounts at over 700 stores offering hospitality and tourism services as well as local sports and fitness centers, youth centers and public halls and the Taoyuan Municipal Swimming Pool. The card is linked to a holder’s sports history for the sake of providing doctors with additional information during medical exams, and the city plans to integrate with cards with the national health insurance system in the future to provide citizens with easy access to their medical records in the future.
Taoyuan has issued roughly 1 million cards to citizens as of 2019. The cards grant discounts in more than 1,000 locations, including 742 stores participating in the program. In the future, the city plans to expand services to include banking, mobile payment services, telecommunication, and electronic tickets.
Alternative Energy in Taoyuan
To build a sustainable future, Taoyuan City has been heavily investing in solar energy. The city leases roof space of public houses to establish solar generation systems, with 132 government-owned buildings outfitted as of 2017, generating a total of 12 million kwh of electricity annually. With the assistance of the Tatung Company, Taoyuan will be building 200 public housing developments with solar generation capacity, aiming to produce 20 million kwh of electricity per year.
The city is working with businesses to improve solar energy production as well. The Department of Environmental Projects in Taoyuan has introduced an energy service company to provide free installation of solar generation equipment on the rooftops of factories as well as public housing.
In addition to solar energy, Taoyuan is also focusing on wind power generation. Since 2011, 57 wind power plants have been installed in Guanyin and Luzhu. The city is also planning a number of offshore wind plants in the coming years.
By nourishing local innovation, attracting international entrepreneurs, and building an ever-growing infrastructure for clean energy production, Taoyuan is preparing its people, organizations and environment for global competition.
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Read the latest updates about Taoyuan City.
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Taoyuan City was featured in the Intelligent Community Forum book Brain Gain.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2019
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Top7 2013 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019
Taipei is no stranger to technology-based development. This city of 2.6 million people is the world's largest producer of laptop and notebook computers and computer motherboards. The Taipei Technology Corridor consists of two major science and technology parks, with a third one in development, that currently employ more than 85,000 knowledge workers in 2,200 companies with combined annual revenues in 2004 of nearly US$53 billion. Taipei is also one of the world's top three cities for broadband deployment, with PCs in 88% of homes and 77% of households connected to ADSL service. Where hardware and infrastructure is concerned, Taipei is justly proud of being a global leader.
For Taipei, the challenge of the 21st Century is to run faster in a fast world. It is to maintain and increase its competitive edge while preparing for a demanding future. As Taipei Metropolitan Government wrote in its application to ICF, "In the past Taipei tended to follow examples from developed countries. Now, Taipei is looking for its own paradigm and value."
Taipei's development as an Intelligent Community began with the election of Mayor Ying-jeou Ma in 1998. Mayor Ma challenged Taipei to become what he called a CyberCity. The first phase of the project (1999-2002) focused on building broadband infrastructure and using the Internet to improve public services. The city invested an average of US$75 million per year to install PCs on the desks of all employees at leading government agencies, deploy a city-wide electronic document system that saved US$7.5 million per year, and create hundreds of online applications ranging from requests for service to complaints about parking violations. An e-schools effort placed at least one PC with broadband connectivity in every classroom, created computer labs in 250 schools and trained teachers in PC and Internet skills. An e-communities project provided free PC and Internet training to 240,000 people and established 800 public Internet kiosks throughout the city. An online Intelligent Transportation System was developed to monitor traffic flow, guide drivers to available parking and improve taxi safety, and an EasyCard multi-function pass for Taipei's Mass Rapid Transit System attracted new riders. To date, the system has issued over 5.7 million cards.
Phase Two Brings Second Top7 Ranking
For these efforts, Taipei was named one of ICF's Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2003. In 2006, ICF recognizes Taipei for taking its CyberCity program to the next level by making broadband connectivity an essential component of life for its citizens and businesses, and using it to transform the economy of the city.
The second phase of the CyberCity program (2003-2006) has focused on several priorities. The first was to better integrate broadband and online services into citizens' lives. By May 2005, 84% of the government's total document traffic was moving through its electronic document exchange. Its Internet portal was offering over 400 services used by an average of 3,500 citizens per day, and over 5,200 small-to-midsize companies had created Web sites on a free Taipei Business Net portal. In the longer term, Taipei aims to encourage development of better Chinese computer interfaces and expand content and applications suited to Chinese tradition. These advances will not only foster broadband use by citizens but will provide an opportunity for Taipei's companies to more easily access business opportunities in greater China.
A second priority was to shorten the time and resources needed to turn students into productive knowledge workers. The most crucial challenge faced by Taipei's companies is the "last mile" between school and industry. To that end, every four years, over US$93 million is earmarked to fund IT education in Taipei. IT skills are widely taught in elementary schools, high schools and universities as well as business incubators. Microsoft selected Taipei as the world's first location for its Future School Program. Cisco is implementing its Network Academy in Taiwan, which has attracted participation from 79 Taiwanese companies and provided training to 16,000 students. The government has also created Taipei e-University to provide online training in academic theory and hands-on practice, leading to professional certification.
The third priority was to provide an IT-based platform for innovation. In the CyberCity program's second phase, the government deployed a municipal wireless network to mass transit stations and all elementary and middle school campuses, where each class was equipped with its own Web site to facilitate teacher-student communications. Plans call for extending the network to 90% of the city.
The fourth priority was to use broadband to ensure digital equality. With the encouragement of the government, nonprofit organizations have established 13 community universities that have offered technology and other classes to nearly 220,000 people. Internet kiosks were established at 800 convenience stores and other locations to give citizens access to online services. An e-healthcare initiative has integrated the data systems of 300 municipal hospitals and clinics and provides safety monitoring of elderly and disabled citizens via wristbands.
On New Year's Eve 2004, Mayor Ma and Taiwan's President Chen Shui-ban led the celebration of the opening of Taipei 101, the world's tallest skyscraper and one of the most technologically advanced buildings on earth. It was a fitting symbol for this city of almost limitless ambition, which aims to number among the select few leaders of the Broadband Economy.
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Read the latest updates about Taipei.
Labor Force: 1,183,000
Intelligent Community of the Year 2006
Top7 2004 | 2006
When the city and county of Taichung merged in 2010, it created a huge metropolis uniting completely different economies: a major seaport city where 70% of employees work in services, and a rural county where 50% work in industry and agriculture is a significant source of income.
The city’s leadership, under Mayor Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu, was determined to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.
The city and telecom companies partnered to create thousands of WiFi hotspots, fiber-based broadband and 4G WiMAX now reaching more than 90% of the population. Through imaginative applications developed by public-private partnership, ICT has become a driver of greater global competitiveness.
The backbone of Taichung’s manufacturing economy is a network of 1,500 precision machinery makers and tens of thousands of SME suppliers. Smaller companies now benefit from a shared, cloud-based ERP system that reduces their purchasing costs and time-to-market. An RFID system at the port automates the clearing of shipping containers for exit, slashing the time trucks spend idling at the gate.
Taichung is also helping farmers apply ICT to improve yields and profitability while expanding their international markets.
To power this new economy, the city and its 17 colleges have created a truly lifelong learning system ranging from basic digital education and vocational training to advanced study and continuous skills improvement. And Taichung is aggressively pursuing industrial clustering through development of the Central Taiwan Technology Corridor combining science parks, precision manufacturing parks and software parks to give physical shape to its global ambitions.
In the News
Read the latest updates about Taichung City.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2013
Smart21 2012 | 2013
Top7 2012 | 2013
Singapore is a city-state of 685 sq km (264 sq miles) at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula with a population of 4 million. ICF named Singapore as its first Intelligent Community of the Year in 1999 for its ambitious plan for – and then to its 2002 Top seven list for its successful deployment of – the Singapore One project beginning in 1998. The aim was to provide every citizen and business with a high-speed Internet connection, and to foster the development of an online economy benefiting all of its citizens. In April 2002, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore’s government announced that broadband was available via ADSL or cable modem to 98% of homes, and that one in three residents was a subscriber. An annual survey of Internet activities revealed that Singapore’s B2B e-commerce revenues grew from US$23 billion in 1998 to US$51 billion in 2000. Online procurement by business alone rose from US$3 billion in 1998 to US$10 billion in 2000. Not content with this level of growth, Singapore’s government began announcing a series of programs and incentives starting in January 2002 to promote applications development and greater usage, including a “Connected Homes” test bed for home networking and community services and a MySingapore Web site giving citizens access to a broad array of services.
Digital Age Trading Hub
Singapore rejoins the Top Seven in 2005 because of the outstanding progress it has continued to achieve and for its ambitious new vision for creating a Digital Age trading hub for the Asia-Pacific region. Progress has come in many areas, thanks to IDA’s unrelenting focus, strong funding and a emphasis on collaboration with private-sector partners. In 2003, PC ownership had risen to 74%, Internet connectivity to 65% and broadband subscribers to 40% of the total population. About 600 wireless hotspots have been deployed across the island (125 at McDonald’s restaurants), providing one wireless hub per square kilometer, and a standards-based integrated roaming and billing service gives users access to the entire wireless network. An alliance between IDA and Microsoft has made Singapore’s schools a test bed for digital textbooks, Tablet PCs and other innovative technology, as well as for in-depth technology training for both teachers and students. The World Economic Forum has ranked Singapore as one of the world’s most network-ready nations, and a 2004 report by Accenture ranked the country as second in the world for e-government leadership.
The Intelligent Island
Becoming an “Intelligent Island,” as Singapore calls itself, is only one step in a process. IDA’s latest vision, Connected Singapore, positions the nation as a Digital Age trading hub, echoing its leadership role as a trade port for physical goods. IDA’s plans call for Singapore to become a center for the secure creation, management and distribution of digital content, from TV programs to images, movies to online games. Piracy of intellectual property is a major problem in much of Asia. It stunts the market by reducing incentives for content owners to create or distribute content in the region. IDA will work with local and global companies to develop technological and other means to ensure security in all forms of digital commerce, with the potential of unlocking high growth. As one example, IDA recently facilitated a pilot project for the distribution of new Indian films via satellite to secure servers in Indian movie theaters. The theaters reported a sharp increase in attendance, because local pirates were prevented from stealing the 35mm film reels, digitizing them and selling DVDs on the street. If Singapore can fulfill this vision, it will indeed become one of the world’s great digital commerce centers.
Intelligent Community of the Year 1999
Top7 2002 | 2005
Top photo, “Singapore, Marina Bay” is copyright (c) 2014 Leonid Yaitskiy and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. The image was cropped for use. The original image can be found here: https://flic.kr/p/oa6sWm
In 2001, Frost & Sullivan named South Korea the world’s leader in broadband deployment, and Seoul, the capital and primary population center, is the hotbed of the phenomenon. Year-on-year, the number of subscribers grew 59% from 2000 to 2001. According to the OECD, there were 23 million broadband users in Korea by the end of 2001, 50% of the online population, including 8 million individual subscriptions. This achievement is the product of strong government policy in support of broadband services. Three years ago, the Ministry of Information and Communications made broadband infrastructure a high priority, reflecting the goals of President Kim Dae Jung. The government began to invest in networks for its agencies, schools and universities and offered US$400 million in loans to carriers for infrastructure construction. This led first Korea Telecom and then its competitors to invest an estimated $10 billion in network development.
Pointing the Way
Today, there are more than 70 broadband service providers, led by Korea Telecom, Hanaro Telecom and Korea Thrunet. These leaders have bundled content along with access in an effort to build usage. The nine key Internet access applications are online gaming, Internet telephony, e-learning, movies-on-demand, finance, shopping, broadcasting, chat and music. Under the combined pressure of government policy and competition, access prices are kept low — users pay either a flat fee or a usage-based price only slightly higher than dial-up service. Yet revenues from broadband applications and services generated US$3.5 billion in 2001, and both Korea Telecom and Hanaro Telecom have achieved operating break-even. Residents have been inculcated with the “broadband lifestyle,” according to Frost & Sullivan, and spend an average of 13 hours on the Internet each week. With its mix of clear policy direction, investment incentives and pricing, Seoul and the entire South Korean nation are pointing the way for the rest of the world in broadband.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2002 (co-honoree)
The Gangnam District lies to the south of the Han River, which snakes through South Korea's capital city from east to west. This district of 557,000 people contains 2.5% of Seoul's people but produces 25% of its gross domestic product. High-rise apartments make up 80% of its residential areas, and the district is home to the corporate headquarters of such Korean firms as POSCO and Korea Telecom, as well as the IT venture companies on Teheran Road, South Korea's Silicon Valley.
So it is perhaps no surprise that, if you wish to see how completely broadband and information technology can transform local government, Gangnam-gu (as it is called in Korean) is the place to go.
Getting an Early Start
Gangnam's development as an Intelligent Community began in 1995, when the district launched its first "electronic government" project. By 1997, the district had a local area network connecting government offices and a set of tax payment and other applications running on public kiosks. By 1999, the system could process all registrations, permits and other citizen applications electronically. Gangnam converted the system to the Web in 2002, and by 2006, Gangnam collected 264 billion won (US$280m) in taxes online, 15% of the total, and issued 2 million documents to citizens through the Internet or public kiosks. The system has made possible a 25% reduction in the local government's employment since 1995, saving 36.7bn won (US$39m), even as population and economic activity have grown sharply. In terms of what economists call "opportunity cost," Gangnam estimates that it has saved citizens time worth another 28.5bn won (US$30m). Just as important, it has minimized opportunities for corruption, because nearly every transaction between government and constituents (except those requiring the protection of personal privacy) takes place through Web-accessible platforms. As Koreans say, "no fungus grows in the light." Gangnam's system for providing access to public documents was adopted by the national government in 2002.
The years since 1995 were witness to an economic miracle in South Korea, which saw per capita GDP climb 71% through 2006. There was a matching broadband miracle as well. In 1995, only 1% of South Koreans used the Internet. Under strong policies from the national government, private wireline and wireless carriers deployed broadband networks that reached 14 million subscribers (28% of South Korea's population) by 2006, ranking the nation fourth in the world. They also enjoy some of the fastest speeds in the world, with 100 Mbps available for as little as 35,000 won (US$37) per month. Today, 3,000 Gangnam residents subscribe to Wibro, an advanced form of broadband that can be used even in a speeding car, while 8,000 South Koreans are using a digital broadcasting service to watch TV on their handheld devices during the commute to work.
Broadband for the People
Gangnam-gu was quick to seize on broadband as a means to make government more transparent, increase citizen participation, and even to help citizens who remained outside the local broadband economy. About 350,000 citizens are registered users of the district's Web portal, and 210,000 are subscribers to an email system that asks for their comment on proposed laws and regulations. They seem to take their responsibilities seriously. Recently, the district proposed installation of surveillance cameras in a particular alley in a residential district. A local human rights organization opposed the move on privacy grounds. When polled by email, however, 82% of residents supported the move and installation subsequently led to a 40% reduction in crimes in the area. One interesting aspect of the email polling system is that Gangnam uses demographic weighting to adjust the results. It compares the demographics of the citizens who vote (provided in the registration process) with those of the district as a whole, and weights the voting in order to make it reflective of the whole population.
The Web has also played a vital role in a public campaign introduced by newly elected Mayor Maeng Jung-ju in July 2006 called the Movement to Keep Basic Order. The campaign enlists citizens in reporting on public nuisances, from illegal parking to environmental violations, by phone and online. More important than improved law enforcement is the change it has created in public awareness. Within 10 months of the campaign's start, the average daily number of violations reported dropped nearly 9%.
Gangnam has also found innovative ways to bring the benefits of Web-enabled government to citizens who have never gone online. In 2005, Gangnam equipped its social service staff with wireless PDAs, enabling them to check information, make reports and request services while visiting clients. In 2006, it launched TV GOV, a set of interactive e-government applications running over the familiar medium of the television set. The system enables users to access services in 34 categories, as well as government news channels, cultural and arts channels, and specialized information for seniors, women and children. In 2007, the district began offering a service that placed wireless motion detectors in the homes of the elderly and triggered a remote alarm if the sensor failed to detect motion for an extended period of time. In 2008, the service will be extended to provide citizens with the option of wireless location tracking for young children or the elderly suffering from dementia. These are the first of a set of "ubiquitous technology" services that the district expects to introduce in coming years to further improve the quality of life of its citizens.
Education Online and Offline
Korean culture puts a premium on education. The success of the broadband economy in Gangnam has both added to educational requirements and delivered new ways to meet them. To equip citizens with digital skills, a program called the Regional Information Classroom has provided classes on computers and the Web to over 400,000 citizens in their middle and senior years. Additional instruction is available via programs on TV GOV.
Education is a major expense for families with children in South Korea, and low-income students are at a substantial disadvantage. Gangnam offers several programs to lower this barrier. The district offers over 100 online lectures from a famous private academy for only 20,000 won (US$21) per year to more than 335,000 registrants. It has opened digital libraries in the empty classrooms of elementary schools, providing access to 330,000 electronic books not only in those schools but nationwide to more than 133,000 students in 123 communities. The district also has a partnership with the University of California at Riverside's International Education Center to deliver ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction to students in the district. Knowledge of English is considered so important that it assigns native English speakers to work in its schools and operates an "English Experience Village," in which students interact with native English speakers in real-life situations.
This vast array of programs takes a great deal of investment. Gangnam also invests directly in business development. Its Small & Medium Business Development Fund invested 4 billion won (US$4.2m) in 32 technology companies in 2006. It also underwrites the activities of local nonprofits dedicated to business development, child welfare, sports and conservation. But in addition to the intangible returns of good governance, the community sometimes receives a direct return that also makes headlines. In 2004, Saga City in Japan awarded a US$2 million contract to a Gangnam company to build a complex software platform. What Saga City wanted, and was willing to pay for, was Gangnam's e-government system.
Labor Force: 496,490
Intelligent Community of the Year 2008
Smart21 2006 | 2007 | 2008
Top7 2006 | 2007
Mitaka is a suburb of Tokyo, home to 173,000 people in its 16.5 sq km (6.8 sq miles) of space. Before the Second World War, it was home to Japan’s aeronautical industry and many small and medium-size manufacturers, giving it an early reputation as a high-tech center. But in the 1950s, high-tech manufacturing moved to lower-cost sites, threatening Mitaka’s economic viability. Fortunately, the city also began to attract a different kind of organization: universities, corporate research centers and data centers. They were drawn by Mitaka’s proximity to Tokyo, its location in a low-risk area for earthquakes (important to data center operations), and by the remaining base of manufacturers, including JRC, a well-known and highly-regarded technology company. As a result, over the next decades, the city developed a social and political culture that prized technology and considered R&D of high importance.
This culture stood Mitaka in good stead as the digital revolution began re-making the economy of Japan and of the world. In 1984, Mitaka became the first city in Japan to host a field test of fiber-to-the-home networking. In 1988, it served as a test bed for Japan’s first ISDN service and, in 1996, Musashin-Mitaka Cable Television became the first ISP in Japan to offer broadband at 10 Mbps. Today, Japan is a world leader in both broadband deployment (third in the world after South Korea and Canada) and broadband pricing, with some of the world’s lowest subscription costs. Even more important was a tradition of strong citizen participation, because it equipped Mitaka to respond flexibly and energetically to the challenges of a global economy. The current mayor, Keiko Kiyohara, came to her office after decades as a technology educator and leader of citizen groups. As the city has created development strategies, citizens have collaborated in planning, from transportation and public services to land use and communications.
In the late Nineties, Mitaka launched a “SOHO City Mitaka” program to promote further development of the small office/home office businesses that were an important part of its economy. An organization called the Mitaka Town Management Organization (MTMO) was founded to create a SOHO incubator. Its seven facilities today are home to 100 technology businesses. MTMO also provides business-matching programs and venture investment and other financial services to encourage business start-up and growth. In 2003, Mitaka launched a new public-private project called “Mitaka City of Tomorrow,” with a core team of 83 citizens and representatives from business, universities and government. The project is now engaged in national field testing of information home appliances and citizen e-projects. As early as 1989, Mitaka had introduced computer literacy classes for teachers and students. By the late Nineties, the city had connected its schools to broadband and the cable TV system and begun introducing digital materials and computers as learning tools. One example was a 2003 school project involving 1,400 students that experimented with a wireless network running at 52 Mbps. And the city has not neglected its post-school population. It has created a series of classes and activity groups to introduce senior citizens and parents to life on the Internet.
Research & Design Center
Today, Mitaka is home to research and data centers for Dentsu, IBM Japan, SECOM and a variety of Japanese government agencies. There are a total of 61 educational institutions in the city employing 3,000 academics and researchers, and a group of universities lead by HOSEI is creating a new Mitaka Network University set to open in 2005. Mitaka has continued its traditional role as a cluster for the design and manufacturing of precision and optical instruments, and has become the worldwide hub for production of “anime” cartoons, producing an estimated 75% of all anime seen around the globe.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2005
Melbourne is Australia’s second largest municipality and the capital of the state of Victoria. A leading financial center, this city of 130,000 is at the center of a metropolitan area of 4.5 million people and is hub for the Australian film and television industries. In 2016, The Economist named Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for the sixth year in a row.
Filling the Gaps
Australia, however, ranks 48th in the world for the speed and services available over broadband, due to a long history of monopoly and duopoly markets. That has put Melbourne’s people, institutions and businesses at a disadvantage in reaping the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution. As a midsize city, Melbourne has many competing service providers but also significant gaps in coverage outside its central business district. A group of frustrated Internet users teamed with a community-led pilot project in Melbourne to create Lightning Broadband, which uses a mix of optical fiber and wireless to connect high-rise apartments and business customers at 100 Mbps. Rolling out in Melbourne suburbs now, it is targeting a national build-out in areas underserved by private carriers and bypassed by Australia’s National Broadband Network.
The Melbourne metro region is home to hundreds of two-year colleges and more than a dozen universities. Nearly 47% of its population has a graduate or undergraduate degree. City government and nonprofits have therefore targeted programs at segments of the population that are not participating fully in the knowledge economy. Code Like a Girl runs a series of tech-focused events around the city. Targeting females from 13 to 45, events like Creative Coding and The Internet of (Girl) Things teach basic programming skills while awakening girls and women to new career opportunities.
A small-scale program called Life Experience Skills Sharing pairs young people of post-secondary age with socially isolated older people in sessions where the youngsters teach digital skills. While older citizens learn to navigate the digital world, their younger companions gain in self-esteem, empathy and communication skills. The annual Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival, launched in 2010, consists of conferences, workshops and demos that showcase a smart and innovative city and brings the future city to life today.
Two projects, one in production and the other in development, are equipping Melbourne with new innovation districts. The Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT, a public research university, creates collaborative projects between researchers and industry, and equips them with technology and equipment to speed up prototyping and design of the manufacturing process. Early results include a 3D printed spine implant and an improved car seat for the Tesla Model S.
The Carlton Connect Initiative (CCI) aims to bring together people from diverse disciplines to one precinct, where CCI will create and curate partnerships between research and industry locally, nationally and globally. It has established the Melbourne Accelerator Project, whose 24 startup teams have already created 150 jobs and generated A$10 million in revenue. LAB-14 is CCI’s first small-scale demonstration site, where 270 people are at work on projects from computing through artistic creation. When CCI is complete, it will be Australia’s largest innovation district and home to the Melbourne School of Engineering.
Helping the Homeless Online
Like many successful cities, Melbourne faces sharp increases in its cost of living and a shortage of affordable housing, both of which contribute to the problem of homelessness. Though the city offers a wide range of support services finding is difficult for the homeless because information can be outdated, waiting lists long and the rules complex. Melbourne’s answer is Ask Izzy, a new mobile website that connects the homeless, or those at risk of homelessness, with essential services. Research showed that 80% of people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne own a smartphone. Ask Izzy is a free location-based directory that helps them find food, shelter, health and other critical services. It was developed by a partnership among a Melbourne nonprofit, Google, RealEstate.com.au and News Corp Australia.
Sustaining the Community
Melbourne makes sustainability strategy a community affair. Its Smart Blocks Solar Rebate program helps apartment owners and building managers install solar panels to reduce energy costs. The installation of a solar system on common property requires the owner or executive committee to work together to develop the concept, build a business case, and engage tenants, apartment managers and suppliers. The Smart Blocks program provides advice throughout the process. It had installed 144 KW of solar through the end of 2015 and is saving apartment owners an average of A$25,000 in energy costs per year.
Melbourne’s top score for livability is partly the product of a community plan called Future Melbourne. In 2016, the city began to refresh the plan, renaming it Future Melbourne 2026, through meetings of a Citizen’s Jury made up of residents, workers and business executives. To broaden participation, it created a digital forum called Participate Melbourne, which lets members of the community contribute to decision’s shaping the city’s future. The result has been 970 ideas for projects and a program of events that engaged participation from 2,000 people. Meanwhile, the 250,000 registered users of Participate Melbourne logged more than 50,000 sessions in a single year. Working together, the people, businesses and institutions of Melbourne are building a future that leverages the city’s strengths while working to close the gaps left by the past decade of development.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2017
Smart21 2006 | 2017
ICF's Lou Zacharilla interviews Jennifer Keesmaat about Toronto, the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year.Read more
The ICF Summit in Toronto (www.icfsummit2015.com) had a lot of moments I will long remember.
Onstage discussions among ICF mayors, city managers and IT directors about how they are collaborating with each other across borders to build their economies.
Visionary of the Year (2014) Suneet Singh Tuli committing to provide a Toronto-based charity with hundreds of his low-cost Datawind tablets for low-income kids.Read more