As the first hurricane-force storm sits just off from the Atlantic Ocean’s shores, the American Northeast Summer draws to a close. During its rapid course, I took some hours to look back on the ICF Summit in June, celebrate its highlights and to consider what it means as our movement goes forward into the next Awards cycle, with its conclusion this time on the big stage of New York.Read more
Intelligent Community Forum Honors Rio de Janeiro’s Knowledge Squares Program with 2016 ICF Visionary of the Year Award
New York, NY, May 5, 2015 – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today announced that it will present the 2016 Visionary of the Year Award to Rio de Janeiro’s Knowledge Squares (Nave de Conhecimento) program. ICF is recognizing the program for its novel approach, which makes digital inclusion the centerpiece of neighborhood regeneration for some of the city’s most impoverished and excluded citizens.Read more
Rio is a city as famous for its natural beauty and Carnival spirit as for its crime-plagued slums. After the national capital moved to Brasilia, Rio lost economic clout to Sao Paulo, which became known as Brazil’s business hub while Rio gradually declined due to drugs, corruption and mismanagement. But ambition, good luck and better leadership have given the city a second chance. The city was one of 12 venues where the 2014 World Cup was played, and Rio also won the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Preparation for these games turned the city into a construction site, but also gave it opportunities to revitalize itself, create a better transportation system and deal with long-standing infrastructure problems, including flooding.
Information and communications technology is at the heart of the transformation. A central Operations Center was built by IBM in the aftermath of disastrous flooding in 2010. It has become the nerve center for city administration by displaying data from thousands of cameras and sensors and giving emergency managers a comprehensive view of problems and the resources available to deal with them. The city also runs a high-capacity fiber network, Rio Digital, linking 70 universities, schools and research centers as well as city facilities. But more profound has been the use of ICT to expand economic opportunity and make government better. It has built Knowledge Squares in nearly 40 low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. These facilities offer classrooms, labs, digital libraries, recreation areas and a cinema, and provide young people and local communities with skills training in IT, robots, graphics, Web design and video production. The city has also built 32 Casa Rio Digital facilities in partnership with Cisco, Intel and the Sequoia Foundation, which have provided digital literacy training to 69,000 citizens.
How Information Improves Services
The Rio Datamine is an open-data system that makes available vast amounts of city information as well as powering a city-hosted RioApps contest. One RioApps winner was 26-year-old computer engineer Andre Ikeda, who used data on bus transit to create an app that put real-time scheduling information into rider’s hands. The publicity and access to information created public pressure that led to sharp improvements in service.
Luck has played its part. Rio is home to the national oil company Petrobras, and the discovery of vast offshore fields has given a significant boost to the economy. Rio is now receiving twice the foreign direct investment of Sao Paulo. By continuing to open its government and empower its citizens for the digital age, the city is striving create a future worthy of its nickname: Cidade Maravilhosa or the Marvelous City.
Smart21 2013 | 2014 | 2015
If you are a property developer in a big city, I have bad news. Nobody likes you.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate. Maybe your family likes you. Perhaps your dog looks up to you. But nobody else does. And why should they? You are filthy rich. You control the places the rest of us live and work. Politicians fawn on you and bend the rules for you. Did I mention you’re filthy rich, too?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