Durham Region has been recognized as one of the Smart21 Communities of the Year for 2021, which Durham Region’s Sandra Austin, director of strategic initiatives, says is a “positive step forward for Durham.”
The awards, presented by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), recognize the world’s leading municipalities that are successfully leveraging data and digital assets to develop inclusive and prosperous communities.Read more
NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA — The Arrowhead Intelligent Region (AIR) initiative, a partnership between Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation and Blandin Foundation, is building on the momentum and bringing to regional scale the work and vision of 10 Iron Range Broadband Communities (IRBC) that have implemented nearly 125 projects in the past four years. IRBC broadband champions and regional developers are joining forces to think bigger about the role of broadband access and use in local economies.Read more
Coquitlam is up for a major international award as a “smart city.”
Last week, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Coquitlam as one of 21 municipalities in the running for the title of 2021 Intelligence Community of the Year.
The field will be narrowed on June 24 when seven finalists are announced; the winner is named in October at an annual summit of digital analysts.Read more
Communities from eight nations, including Vietnam and the United Kingdom, named this year
(24 February 2021 – Township of Langley, City of Maple Ridge & New York City) – At the conclusion of a virtual conference hosted by the Township of Langley and the City of Maple Ridge in British Columbia, Canada, and in a simultaneous global announcement online from its New York City headquarters, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2021.
Selection of this group of regions, cities and towns begins the think tank’s annual nine-month process which will conclude when ICF names the 2021 Intelligent Community of the Year in October 2021 at the ICF Summit. Each has applied the six principles of the ICF Method to begin building inclusive economic prosperity, social health and cultural richness, which together make a community strong and resilient. Most have been working on their programs for several years.Read more
The City of Maple Ridge and the Township of Langley are teaming up to host the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) Smart21 Conference this month.
The virtual event, themed “From Surviving to Thriving,” will take place from Feb. 22-24. It will bring together delegates from the business, government and non-profit sectors who have implemented smart technologies in communities around the world, said a press release from the City of Maple RidgeRead more
Maple Ridge and the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada to co-host the Intelligent Community Forum’s Smart21 Communities of 2021 Announcement
Announcement to be part of a 2.5-day conference, “From Surviving to Thriving” using the ICF Method
(New York, NY, USA; Maple Ridge, BC, Canada and the Township of Langley, BC, Canada – September 10, 2020) – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named Maple Ridge and the Township of Langley in British Columbia, Canada as co-hosts of the February 2021 ICF Smart21 Conference: From Surviving to Thriving using the ICF Method. The Smart21 Communities announcement will take place as part of a 2.5-day conference from February 21-23, 2021.Read more
Many communities are by now familiar with the annual selection and awards process of ICF. Selecting the Smart21, then the Top7 and ultimately the most Intelligent Community of the Year occurs in several phases and in many ways. There are rigorous quantitative evaluations conducted by an outside consultancy, field trips, a review by an independent panel of leading experts/academic researchers and a vote by a larger group of experts.
Although communities like to focus on the #1 spot, the biggest distinctions are not between the #1 and the others in the Top7, but between the Smart21 and the Top7. An especially important part of the selection of the Top7 from the Smart21 is an independent panel’s assessment of the projects and initiatives that justify a community’s claim to being Intelligent.Read more
Lenchiang County, commonly known as the Matsu Islands, is an archipelago of 5 major islands and 31 islets. Matsu is situated in the northwest of Taiwan approximately 250km from Taipei. Expanding on its traditionally service-based economy, Matsu has focused mainly on growing its tourism appeal over the last few decades, emphasizing its many cultural sites such as the Matsu Folk Culture Museum, Ching-Kuo Memorial Hall and War and Peace Memorial Park Exhibition Center as well as its natural treasures like the Matsu Island Bird Sanctuary that spans eight islands. To improve its appeal to tourists and the lives of those who call the islands home, Matsu is bringing modern comfort and conveniences to its population as well as visitors in the form of better connectivity, digital access, healthcare improvements and much more.
The Matsu Links
Over the last decade Matsu has created Internet links to transfer patient data to teaching hospitals and specialized hospitals in the Taipei area. Though it is over an hour from major Taipei hospitals by medivac helicopter, Matsu now can start general diagnosis at the county hospital and transfer the diagnostic results instantly to Taipei so that doctors there can be prepared with the patient's information and provide better care for the patient upon arrival. This service is used twice a month on average and has already saved numerous lives and improved the quality of medical care available to residents.
Promoting the "Smart Learning" Project
As a remote island community, Matsu is committed to closing the digital divide and information gap between urban and remote communities. Matsu's "Smart Learning" project helps them do this by focusing on resources and training for students. There are 133 free public Wi-Fi hotspots in Matsu, covering all public libraries and middle schools. The libraries also provide free access to computers with broadband connection. To facilitate usage, the community holds semi-annual basic training courses in computer skills.
Over 6 years of the program, Matsu schools have provided one tablet PC for every student, one desktop computer on campus for elementary and junior high school, and one desktop computer for every two students in senior high schools for digital learning on campus. As part of the "Smart Learning" project, Matsu focused not only on digital access for students, but their wellbeing too - creating a happy learning culture using in-class games and activities. Matsu is cooperating with National Chi Nan University (NCNU) and the Tainan University of Technology (TUT) to create a better digital learning environment. Programming resources from NCNU are used to enhance data collection; big data analysis is then performed to understand students’ learning experiences, and teaching suggestions are provided to help instructors make decisions about whether a student needs further attention or not. TUT also designed a graphical user interface to help students focus on learning and to improve their interactive digital learning environment on campus.
Since its first submarine data transmission cable linking the islands to Taiwan was completed in 1999, Matsu has completed two more submarine fiber optic cables in 2012 and 2014. Matsu is committed to digital access and has 34 4G cell towers and hundreds of signal amplifiers across the islands—which are only 29.2 sq km total—providing nearly 100% cell coverage. Household access to wired broadband is 95%, compared to a national average of 62%. Matsu's next broadband infrastructure project is to upgrade the free Wi-FI system to 100MB/s downstream in densely populated areas and commercial districts and to add Wi-Fi hotspots to the inter-island ferries for all visitors. A task force has been set up to build a solid foundation for the upcoming 5G system to make sure that Matsu keeps pace with the next generation of digital connection.
The Low-Carbon and Sustainable Island Program
Matsu is creating an energy-efficient, low-carbon community while making sure to maintain its status as an attractive eco-tourism destination. As part of the low-carbon and sustainable island program, Matsu is educating and supporting residents in the installation of efficient shower heads, toilets and other water appliances that can conserve water. Additionally, to better conserve electricity, the authorities are encouraging households to replace light fixtures, bulbs and home appliances with models that bear the Green Mark, and to turn lights and appliances off when not in use. At the same time, they are educating the people to reduce food wastes and recycle household garbage. Public buildings that were replaced since 2010 all meet green building requirements for environmentally responsible practices and resource efficiency.
Matsu has replaced street lamps with energy-saving fixtures and has begun teaching community environmental education programs that focus on carbon-reduction concepts. Matsu’s public recycling system is ranked first among Taiwan’s waste-recycling programs. Matsu also has the lowest rate of automobile ownership in Taiwan, which is attributed to its effective free bus system for local residents. Matsu has 200 electric scooters available for rental to reduce pollution and traffic congestion as well.
Famous for its mussels, a stop at the Mussel-tasting Festival is an essential part of any summer tour of Matsu. Matsu has pioneered the usage of new ocean-farming technology to build a sustainable mussel farming industry. Marine research shows that mussels are filter-feeders that eat tiny organisms from the sea water, which gradually cleans the water. The four local mussel farms producing up to 300 kilograms of mussels per day not only make Matsu's signature food sustainable but also make nearby ocean waters cleaner at the same time.
The number of domestic and foreign tourists to Matsu has increased from 144,500 in 2015 when Matsu initiated the Matsu Eco-tourism Travel Plan to over 200,000. Matsu has reduced the price of its buses to $1.50 USD and has added real-time bus schedules via GPS tracking and comprehensive electronic signage at all bus stops. Visitors have access to the same real-time public transit information on the web, accessible via iMatsu free Wi-Fi hotspots available at many bus stations and all ferry ports. Matsu has also set up an array of weather sensors to make up-to-date air quality, temperature, wind direction, etc. available to visitors. Due to demand for tour guides outpacing the number of trained tour guides, Matsu has begun encouraging students to participate in junior guide short-term training tours. Matsu has also prepared an extensive recorded self-guided tour system available to backpackers at the Nangan Airport or any Matsu visitor center.
Green spaces in Matsu offer residents and visitors great opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and camping. Surveys show that Matsu has approximately 24 square meters of park and green-belt space per person, ranking the islands number 1 in Taiwan. Matsu Geopark is part of Taiwan’s geopark network. Eighty-six percent of the islands’ area is covered by trees, and they are full of geological features, historic military tunnels, ocean landscapes, and traditional stone houses. Visitors can walk around one of the islands within a single day. Matsu has taken the steps to protect its natural beauty for today’s residents, tourists and future generations while making the islands an ever-more-efficient and pleasant place to call home.
The town of Newmarket was born from revolution – specifically, the one that broke out south of Canada’s border with America in 1775. For members of the Quaker faith there, the patriotic fervor of revolutionary America signaled that a people committed to nonviolence might not be welcome in the new nation. By 1800, Timothy Rogers of Vermont was exploring an area around the Holland River north of Toronto, looking for a new home. Winning a grant for a large amount of land there, several Quaker families soon settled in the area and were joined by others over the next decades.
They chose well. Newmarket was a natural stop on a river route that connected Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, to Lake Simcoe to the north at a time when rivers meant trade and power for industry. The village thrived as a farming community, industrial center and market town. Two centuries later, that same location is just as valuable, though for different reasons.
Toronto, on Newmarket’s southern border, is Canada’s biggest city and top center for business finance, arts and culture. The seat of the Regional Municipality of York, Newmarket serves as a bedroom community to Toronto and benefits from its economic heft. Its local economy prioritizes business and administrative services, the knowledge industries, advanced manufacturing and retail, reflecting the principal drivers of Toronto’s larger economy.
For years, however, this town of 88,000 has worked to build an economic base that can stand on its own as well as benefit from Toronto’s proximity. Because, in the digital economy, the power of location is giving way to the power of intention: the commitment to meet the challenges of change and seize the opportunities it brings.
Newmarket’s agenda for change is built on a foundation of collaboration among local and regional government, business, academia, nonprofits and citizens. This kind of community-led development can be slow – but the gains it achieves last longer than the careers of individual leaders and create institutions that drive progress.
One of those institutions is the Smart City Council. Formed in 2011, it is a team of leaders from government, businesses, universities, colleges, hospitals and citizen groups. Their goal is to develop innovative projects that leverage their combined assets to address new opportunities for the town. They serve as catalysts and connectors to the launch of new projects, champions for their value and cultivators of community engagement. Nearly every Intelligent Community project launched by Newmarket has its origins in the Council.
Create It, Make It
Two projects stand out. CreateIT Now began life as a healthcare incubator where multiple partners would help commercialize new healthcare technologies. It succeeded in that vision, offering advice on business, finance and law as well as high-quality work space and a prototyping facility. Since its launch in 2015, it has served about 40 companies per year with counsel and assistance in winning grant funding. Six have gone on to complete testing of new technology in healthcare settings and win their first customers.
Since launch, however, the model has evolved. Healthcare startups fail in large part because they cannot get access to a healthcare facility until they have a product to sell. CreateIT Now has broken through that barrier with the help of founding partners Southlake Regional Health Center and York University. Their Health Ecosphere Innovation Pipeline program guides the development of personalized healthcare technologies and new enterprise solutions for customizing care with the active involvement of medical staff and testing in the hospital environment. Technologies already emerged from the pipeline are improving procurement with potential savings in the millions, preventing and killing infections in catheters, and empowering patients to self-schedule and manage appointments for complex tests.
The same kind of collaboration led to the launch of NewMakeIt, a makerspace founded in 2016. It offers innovators and entrepreneurs a coworking and fabrication space loaded with equipment, and education programs in skills certification and business. Where CreateIT Now focuses on information technology, NewMakeIt is all about manufacturing. In its first 30 months, it has created 45 new businesses and more than 50 new jobs, with an estimated economic value of C$3.9 million.
Matching People to Opportunities
Newmarket has an economic development problem shared by countless other communities. Focus groups and surveys have shown that employers have a hard time hiring qualified staff, which stunts their growth, while students are unaware of the companies, industries and careers right in their backyard.
Newmarket is meeting the challenge with a set of events and programs aimed at its young people and developed in cooperation with the chamber of commerce, schools and nonprofits. The latest is the Career Pathways Expo, launched in 2018, which where local businesses and post-secondary schools exhibit and attendees can learn about training opportunities in trades and entrepreneurship. Interactive tools also help students, teachers and parents explore career pathways and learn career opportunities in the region. The Expo joins programs including the Fast Track Student Conference, which focuses on secondary school students who have not registered for higher education, and an ICE Challenge that brings students together in a hackathon environment to solve real-world challenges for local employers. Digital Shift @ Library offers training sessions and workshops on digital skills, while the Ignite Conference helps students develop digital portfolios of their skills, experience and goals for presentation to local entrepreneurs.
Infrastructure for the Digital Age
Newmarket’s prosperity has made it an attractive market for broadband providers – but studies by the town uncovered significant underserved areas and lack of competitive pricing for levels of service. Between 2010 and 2014, studies and planning exercises sparked rising awareness of the importance of broadband to the town’s future, culminating in a digital strategy called Innovate Newmarket. It highlighted the need for a locally owned service that could deliver reliable service and good customer support at competitive prices.
In 2018, the town launched, in partnership with the local electric utility, a company called ENVI Networks. ENVI’s stated mission was “to establish Newmarket as a smart city and intelligent community through a high-speed broadband fiber network.” Construction of the core network was completed by the end of that year. It is launching last-mile connections to customers beginning with municipal, university, schools, hospitals and commercial customers.
Another form of infrastructure became a priority project for the town. Newmarket was one of four municipalities to receive government funding to develop a community energy plan. Working with ABB and Siemens, it chose to focus on a unique requirement: establishing a network of heavy-duty charging stations for all-electric transit buses that use local battery storage to reduce impact on the grid during peak travel hours. In a 2-year trial, the project will deploy 6 electric buses and one charging station along their route to explore how such a system will work and the benefits it will deliver in carbon reduction, which are estimated to be 561 tons of CO2.
The value of the trial extends far beyond the municipal border. The province of Ontario is home to approximately 5,000 transit buses. If a well-publicized trial validates the feasibility, economics and carbon impact of the design, the contribution to air quality and carbon reduction from widespread adoption would be vast. And the contribution to Newmarket’s reputation in the province and the nation would be just as large.
Newmarket is another of the smaller, quieter places in the world that is taking effective steps to seize the opportunities of the digital economy and master its sharp challenges. It is not moving fast and breaking things, not launching the next revolution in how we live. It is creating an Intelligent Community by focusing on problems that matter and bringing the entire community to their solution.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand with a metro area spanning 1,388 square kilometers on the southwest tip of the North Island. It ranks among the most livable cities in the world, owing to its low pollution, short commute times, ample public transit, diverse landscapes, nearby parks, forests and mountains. As New Zealand’s capital, Wellington is the center of the nation’s government, but it is also a cultural center. Wellington is home to the National Archives, the National Library, and numerous museums and theaters, as well as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Wellington is exceptionally windy year-round due to its latitude and location on the Cook Straight; in fact, it is the windiest city in the world. The city has harnessed its natural winds by establishing two large wind farms that generate 213 MW of green energy.
With the benefits of being nicknamed "Windy Wellington" comes infrastructural risk. Along with the intense winds, Wellington is located on one of the world's most active fault lines. In 2014 Wellington was accepted into the 100 Resilient Cities Network, and in 2017, the city released the Wellington Resilience Strategy. The Strategy has three goals: (1) that people are connected, empowered and feel part of a community; (2) that decision making is integrated and well informed; and (3) that Wellington's homes, natural and built environment are healthy and robust. These goals were tested both during the development and implementation of the Strategy and again by the 7.8 (Mw) Kaikoura Earthquake which affected the city.
As part of the Wellington Resilience Strategy, Wellington has created collaborative lifelines groups which bring together government, local government, and utility providers to strengthen the city's lifeline infrastructures through investment and greater coordination. The city has implemented Open Data approaches to communicate risk and enable community-based planning responses. In partnership with local companies, Wellington has created a metropolitan-scale VR platform to aid in both real-time response and future city planning for resilience issues. As part of the Wellington Resilience Strategy, the city has also begun proactively strengthening at-risk buildings to withstand earthquakes.
Te Atakura - First To Zero
With the smallest per person carbon footprint in Australasia, Wellington has a strong history in environmental sustainability. Wellington is committed to building on this to reduce their footprint to zero as quickly as practicable. To assist with this, the city is reviewing city plans, transportation investments and the way in which they build. They are also building a climate lab and electrifying Wellington's vehicle fleet. This has been underpinned not only by an active network of partners in the NGO and private sectors, but also a highly engaged community assisting in the development of plans and also taking practical actions such as large-scale tree planting. Wellington has been planting a tree every five minutes for the past 15 years.
Wellington is using its tree planting initiative as part of the Emissions Trading scheme to create new funding streams using the sale of credits to offset the emissions of its tourism industry and provide additional investments in further ecological restoration. Wellington is one of the few cities in the world with increasing native biodiversity thanks to a combination of community-based tree planting on public land, investment in pest control through the Predator Free Wellington program and investment in the native sanctuary Zealandia. The city is also engaging with technical startups and communities through hackathons such as the Climathon and the Zero Carbon Challenge.
Leveraging New Technology to Improve Lives
Wellington has a multitude of initiatives to improve the lives of Wellingtonians through modern technology. The Wellington Trauma Intelligence Group (TIG) is an interagency data-sharing initiative which brings together data from multiple agencies such as the District Health Boards (Hospitals), Ambulances, Police, Accident Compensation Commission, City Council and others to deliver better outcomes for people. TIG has been involved in using data to better tackle alcohol from a public health perspective in order to formulate future policy, manage crowds, plan hospital capacity and formulate responses to storms and earthquakes based on data on the most vulnerable populations. Whare Haora has been installing environmental sensors in people’s homes to identify causes of respiratory illness and to help increase heating efficiency. As part of this initiative, Whare Haora has trained communities in digital literacy and how IoT sensors can be used to proactively address problems and inefficiencies.
Wellington launched the Summer of Tech program to match student interns with local IT startups in 2006. Internship placements have risen from 14 in 2006 to over 4,500 in 2018. This program has been so successful that it has spread to five other cities in New Zealand and has spawned a Summer of Biz program along with a series of bootcamps.
New Zealand's nationwide Ultra-Fast Broadband program, which aims to provide 100Mbit/s downstream and 50Mbit/s upstream to 87% of New Zealand's population by 2022, pairs with all of Wellington's technological and ecological initiatives to make Wellington situated to be a world leader in modern sustainable living in the next decades.
Smart21 2020 | 2021