The Intelligent Community Forum Names the Global Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019

Small, Medium & Large Communities from Four Nations Show Transformative Change

(New York, USA and Quebec City, Canada – 11 February, 2019) –  In an announcement this evening at an event at Laval University in Quebec City, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019. The 17th annual Top7 list includes cities and counties from the United States, Canada, Australia and Taiwan. One of these seven finalists in the think tank’s annual awards program will be named the Intelligent Community of the Year at the ICF Summit in June in New York City on June 13th. (



In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019 are:

  • Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Hudson, Ohio, USA
  • Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • Westerville, Ohio, USA

While big cities like Toronto, Melbourne and New York have appeared on the Top7 list, ICF also looks “under the radar” for cities and counties that use its Method to create economic growth, dynamic societies and rich cultures far from the famous technology hubs of the world. This year, six of the Top7 Intelligent Communities make their first appearance on the distinguished list: Abbotsford, Chicago, Hudson, Sarnia-Lambton County, Sunshine Coast and Westerville. Taoyuan, where the nation’s major airport and logistics center is located, is making its fourth appearance.

Two of ICF’s founders, John G. Jung and Louis Zacharilla were on hand at Laval University where, following a day-long conference that gathered Intelligent Communities from around the world, they made the announcement before a live audience. In addition to the live announcement in Quebec City, ICF simultaneously has released a video on its official YouTube channel announcing the group.

You can watch video at: A high-resolution version of the video is available for media outlets by emailing [email protected]

“This year’s group comes from countries that have been applying the ICF Method and investing in their own technology, business growth and educational expansion systematically for a long time. They may not be as familiar to the world as some of our previous recipients, but in this century, it is becoming obvious that any place can become great once the playing field is leveled. Thanks to digital technology, the size and location of a community matter far less than ever before. People can stay home and thrive. That’s the good news that these seven will carry to New York and around the world,” said ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla.

The ICF Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019 will be featured throughout the ICF Global Summit in New York City on June 11-13. Representatives from the Top7 will take part in the program’s features – including Economic Development Matchmaking sessions and special Top7 Conversations – and will be honored on the evening of June 12th at a reception. For more information and to register for the ICF Summit, visit

Following are snapshots of this year’s 2019 Top7 Intelligent Communities. Complete profiles and data can be found online on ICF's Website.

Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada: Abbotsford is the largest city, outside Vancouver, in the province of British Columbia and is among the most diverse in Canada. More than a quarter of its population of 150,000 hails from south Asia, mostly from the Indian state of Punjab. The city borders the United States to the south and is part of the Vancouver metroplex, which has gifted it with both an independent economy and participation in the economic sphere of western Canada’s gateway city. Eighty percent of city lands are protected for agricultural use, and its farmers make good use of that land, earning the highest income per acre of any place in Canada. Other important industries are transportation, manufacturing and retail. The city is home to the University of the Fraser Valley and an international airport. The Abbotsford Regional Hospital is its largest employer. Given these assets, the challenge that Abbotsford has set itself is to leverage them for growth in a global economy that is dominated by digital while preserving an enviable quality of life and a culture whose roots date back to 1858. Read more

Chicago, Illinois, USA: Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is a global city of 2.7 million. It is the center of America’s third largest metro economy, which produces more than US$690 billion in gross regional product. Almost one-quarter of households had earnings exceeding US$100,000 in 2016, according to the US Census. Chicago companies employ over four million people, many of them at the more than 400 major corporations that have their headquarters there. In March 2018, its unemployment rate was an enviable 5.3 percent, nearly the lowest since the government started tracking it. All big cities have big challenges. What distinguishes the successful ones is how they rise to those challenges. To build a better tomorrow for all its citizens, Chicago is focused on enlisting technology, education, engagement and demand for a better quality of life to open the doors of opportunity. Read more

Hudson, Ohio, USA: The 22,000 people of Hudson live in a green stretch of the state of Ohio midway between the cities of Cleveland and Akron. Despite the major industrial disruptions of the last 40 years, the region is relatively prosperous. Its economy rests on a mix of manufacturing (polymers, automotive, fabricated metals, electrical and electronic parts and aerospace) and services (transportation, health, insurance, banking, finance and retail). Its population is highly educated, with 68% of residents over age 25 holding a bachelor's degree or higher, and relatively young, with a median age of 39. Median household income is in the six figures. Its downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places. But like Intelligent Communities everywhere, it is a place in transition from one economy to the next. Hudson seeks to secure its future at a time when smaller communities without a distinct competitive advantage are seeing their human, economic and cultural assets drained away by bigger places. Read more

Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario, Canada: Sarnia is the largest city in Lambton County, which extends from the shores of Lake Huron in the north to the Lake St. Clair in the south. Nearly 60% of the county’s population is concentrated there, with the remaining 40% distributed across 2,800 square kilometers (695 sq mi) of the rest of the county. The sparsely populated county was, however, the site of North America’s first commercially drilled oil well. Petrochemical and refining industries are still its largest manufacturing and employment sector, and Sarnia-Lambton considers itself the center of the Great Lakes Industrial Corridor. The other mainstays of the economy are agriculture and tourism. With this successful industrial base, Sarnia-Lambton focuses its development efforts on connecting the excluded to economic opportunity and spurring the innovation that can keep its industry strong. Read more

Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia: The Sunshine Coast is located 100km north of the state capital of Brisbane. The region, which spreads across 2291 kilometres features commercial, residential and industrial precincts, as well as diverse landscapes from open coastline to green belts and pristine hinterland communities. Its economy continues to evolve into a modern, smart economy based on sound growth across numerous high value and knowledge-based industries including professional business services, innovative manufacturing and numerous high-tech start-ups. The Sunshine Coast is now independently ranked as the second strongest performing economy in the state of Queensland, and has averaged 2.5% annual growth over the last decade; its employment growth of 5.3% is well ahead of the state’s jobs growth at 3.6%.  Read more

Taoyuan, Taiwan: Since December 2014, Taoyuan has been officially upgraded to a municipality and has become one of the six capitals in Taiwan. Due to its proximity to the Taipei Metropolitan Area, a number of major public utilities(metro, airport, etc.) and investments are located here. Taoyuan City has the largest international airport in Taiwan, and the 2017 Taoyuan MRT Airport Line is open to traffic, speeding up the convenience between the Taoyuan High Speed Rail Station and the airport. The unique geographical and traffic environment makes Taoyuan City develop rapidly in recent years, attracting a large number of people from other counties and cities to move in.

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 is about 2.87 trillion, ranking the top in Taiwan 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. Read more

Westerville, Ohio, USA: Westerville is a northeastern suburb of Columbus, capital of the state of Ohio, and home to nearly 40,000 people. It takes its name from the Dutch family that founded it in the 1800s. It was a small place that eventually became known as the “Dry Capital of the World,” based on an 1859 law that forbid the sale of alcohol in the city and the decision of the Anti-Saloon League – which played a leading role in Prohibition – to move its national headquarters there in 1909. It was only in the 1990s, when Westerville annexed land that included alcohol-selling businesses, that local prohibition began to change. Since then, Westerville has made a career of embracing change. In 2007, the city began planning expansion of an existing government fiber network to support smart-grid applications. (Like many smaller US cities, it owns its own electric utility.) The planning process revealed a lack of affordable choices for broadband and data center services. That ultimately led City Council to found WeConnect: an underground fiber network connected to a community-owned data center and delivering 100 Gbps connectivity to municipal service providers, businesses, schools, the local university and research institutes. Read more

More about the ICF Intelligent Community Awards Program
Before being selected as a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities were among those named to ICF’s list of the Smart21 Communities of the Year. The Smart21 were named in October 2018 at a conference in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Candidates are evaluated based on seven criteria that make up the ICF Method, which provides a framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community's competitiveness and point to its success in the digital economy. In addition, ICF asks communities to respond to an annual theme. The 2019 theme is Infinite Learning, which explores how communities will adapt so their citizens are not left behind as machine learning continues to advance. Click here for more information on the 2019 theme. 

The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in New York City on June 13 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Global Summit conference, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Espoo, Finland as the new Intelligent Community of the Year. The announcement will be made live at a dinner for delegations from intelligent communities around the world and international media. For more information or to register for the ICF Summit, click here:

About Intelligent Community Forum

The Intelligent Community Forum (, headquartered in New York, is a global movement and group of more than 180 cities, metro regions and counties. The ICF think tank studies and promotes the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands of society and the workforce and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT). To help cities and regions build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum offers a Method for getting on the path to progress. It conducts research, hosts global events, publishes books, and produces a high-profile international awards program. The Forum sponsors a research Institute in North America and Asia dedicated to the study of the movement, and national organizations in Canada and Taiwan, both home to many Intelligent Communities. In 2012 ICF was invited to participate at the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Oslo and in 2014, its model and work was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which, according to the American government, was "aimed at creating a more flexible and responsive system of workforce development to meet the needs of employers looking to fill 21st century jobs.” The Forum’s membership is made up of designated Intelligent Communities worldwide. For more information, go to For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs,

Intelligent Community Forum Contacts

Matthew Owen
Director of Operations, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 001-646-291-6166 x105
Email: [email protected] 

Louis Zacharilla - @LouICF
Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: (M) 001-917-715-0711 (O) 001-212-249-0624
Email: [email protected]

Matthew Owen
Director of Operations, Intelligent Community Forum

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