Communities from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Vietnam become finalists for Intelligent Community of the Year to be named at the ICF Summit in October
(New York, NY, USA & Durham Region, ON, Canada – June 20, 2023) – In an announcement today at the conclusion of a two-day hybrid live and online conference, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2023. The 21st annual Top7 list includes cities and counties from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Vietnam. 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 October. (www.icfsummit.com)
In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2023 are:
- Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam
- Coral Gables, Florida, USA
- Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
- Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
- Greater Geelong, Victoria, Australia
- Hilliard, Ohio, USA
- Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Four of this year’s Top7 Intelligent Communities appeared on the Top7 list in 2022: Binh Duong Smart City, Curitiba, Durham Region and Sunshine Coast. Coral Gables, Greater Geelong and Hilliard are making their first appearances as Top7 Communities this year.
The announcement was made at the conclusion of a two-day-long hybrid live and online conference with the theme Better Together: Building a Strong Region from Diverse Communities. It featured panel discussions and presentations from mayors, CIOs, futurists, researchers, and other experts in the Intelligent Community field, as well as a tour of the Durham Region where the live conference took place.
Also during the dinner, a signing took place between New Taipei City, the 2022 Intelligent Community of the Year, and ICF, announcing New Taipei City as the host of the 2024 Top7 conference and announcement. Mr. Chao-Hsiung Tseng, Chief Secretary, Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of New Taipei City, represented New Taipei City in the MOU ceremony.
“The 2023 group is perhaps the most mature and diverse group of Top7 communities we’ve had in the ICF Awards program,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Most have been working on their digital and acceleration programs for years and have made historic progress for their nations. We thank the Durham Region of Ontario, Canada for hosting this event and welcome our Top7 to New York in the Fall.”
The ICF Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2023, models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age, will be featured throughout the ICF Summit in New York City this October. Representatives from the Top7 will take part in the program’s features – including special Top7 Conversations – and one of the Top7 will be named the 2023 Intelligent Community of the Year. For more information on the ICF Summit, visit http://www.icfsummit.com/
Following are snapshots of this year’s Top7 Intelligent Communities. Complete profiles and data can be found online on ICF's Website.
For the third straight year, Binh Duong Smart City has been named a Top7 Intelligent Community. Located in the heart of the Binh Duong Province, this new city already boasts a powerful innovation ecosystem and creates strategic links with the world that are promoting balanced economic development as a center of science and technology. Working closely with the International Project Office of Eindhoven, the 2011 Intelligent Community of the Year, the city has developed Eastern International University, a world-class academic institution, as well as six industrial parks and the region’s first accelerator. The future is bright for this impressive greenfield city as it continues to transform a traditionally agrarian, low-population area into a core of Vietnam’s southern key economic zone.
Coral Gables is the first Florida community to achieve a Top7 Intelligent Community designation. Located east of Miami and with a population slightly under 50,000, this city has started a series of Smart City programs in recent years and is already reaping the rewards. With its Smart Districts Expansion project, Coral Gables has implemented a robust and resilient technology infrastructure, through multiple innovation districts providing connectivity, visibility control and automation of city services. In 2013, the city passed a sustainability master plan focused on renewable energy, green buildings, decarbonization and coastal resiliency, which has seen it become a sustainability leader in Florida and across the United States. With Florida's largest municipal electric vehicle fleet, it is in the process of installing nearly 250 electric vehicle charging points and is on pace to cut its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025.
Curitiba in the state of Paraná makes its third straight appearance as a Top7 Intelligent Community this year. Curitiba’s commitment to only accepting non-polluting employers and its development of an industrial space filled with green space has made it one of the most sustainable cities in Brazil and an attractive destination for innovative companies and top talent. Over 25% of its workers are employed by high tech companies, and that number continues to grow. The city has also developed the impressive Speaks Curitiba program, boosting civic engagement from all 75 of its neighborhoods and involving citizens in constructing budgets and development plans. Curitiba continues to expand upon an already robust level of connectivity for its people, as it has become the city with the highest 5G penetration in all of Brazil.
The Durham Region makes its second consecutive appearance as a Top7 Intelligent Community in 2023. This regional municipality provides shared services and program coordination to eight local governments in Ontario, Canada, a diverse group with economic sectors ranging from agriculture to automotive manufacturing and clean energy. It has completed the first phase of a 700-kilometer fiber network targeting underserved rural areas. A regional program is helping hundreds of low-income families every year to access Canada’s financial assistance programs for post-secondary education. Senior citizen centers provide low-cost tech training to thousands of older residents. These are opening moves in a community accelerator strategy for boosting growth and inclusion while preserving treasured ways of life across the region.
Greater Geelong is the second largest city in the state of Victoria and the second-fastest-growing in Australia. That growth is based on creating an innovation ecosystem stretching from high tech to advanced manufacturing for defense and commercial products. It feeds that ecosystem with a regional Tech School that delivers STEM education through partnerships with 31 schools serving 25,000 students, and supports it with teacher training and industry relationships. The city gives Geelong’s youth a stake in the future through service on a government Advisory Council and on the boards of local sports clubs and social welfare organizations. In consultation with 16,000 residents, it has charted a Clever and Creative future of innovation and entrepreneurship, creativity and culture and environmental sustainability that will guide its growth for the next 25 years.
Hilliard, a small city of 38,000 located in the metropolitan region of Columbus, Ohio, is a model of small-city innovation and growth on a technology foundation. In just a few years, its municipal dark-fiber network has attracted many service providers, while connecting companies, schools and city buildings, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Its partnership with Amazon Web Services brings technology and business education into schools, while the city and its partners have launched more than a dozen apprenticeship programs in technology, healthcare and IT. The Hilliard City Lab is guiding high-tech companies to prototype new technologies including an automated drone network to support first responders, which NASA, the US Air Force and other government agencies expect to become a national template. Learning from other award-winning Intelligent Communities in the region, Hilliard has developed a range and scale of programs worthy of a place many times its size.
The Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia joins the list of Top7 Intelligent Communities for the fourth time. This city of nearly 300,000 people, with its high quality of life, has diversified its tourist economy through programs that develop local innovation capacity while attracting inward investment. In 2020, a submarine cable landing station opened in Sunshine Coast, making it a vital interconnection point for global communications. That attracted major investment in broadband network buildouts by telecom carriers. It stimulated new business formation and led to the city becoming Australia's second cybersecurity innovation node. Co-working spaces, incubators and coding programs at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast are just part of the region's flourishing innovation ecosystem, which provides an ideal location for startups, scaleups and entrepreneurial talent. In June of 2022, the Sunshine Coast officially gained recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere, a site for testing ways to understand and manage how human society and natural ecosystems interact. Strong and imaginative collaboration among government, business educators and nonprofits continues to drive the Sunshine Coast towards a prosperous future.
About the Intelligent Community Forum
Starting in 2000 with a research project comparing cities in various nations, the Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) created a unique, data-driven approach to development that puts citizens first while tapping the enormous economic and social potential of technology. In a world dominated by digital, ICF’s mission is to help communities create innovative, sustainable and growing economies, inclusive societies and affirming cultures open to the world. We do it for communities large and small, in urban clusters and outlying suburbs and rural places through training, consulting, assessment, certification and award programs. ICF believes that digital connectivity and technology create the opportunity for almost every community to develop a dynamic local economy and the social and cultural strengths that go with it – giving them all a chance to be great places to live, work, learn, grow, raise a family and prepare a sustainable path for the next generation.
The Forum sponsors Institutes in North America and Taiwan 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 were 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.”
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Intelligent Community Forum
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