|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
|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
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 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
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
A panel discussion exploring how the "datafication" of business and institutions is creating wholesale change in business economics, practices and employment, and how communities should prepare to respond. Moderated by Roberto Gallardo.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
A panel of government, university and technology experts debate the impact, potential and perils of Big Data and Open Data to introduce the theme of the 2018 ICF Summit.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