The Intelligent Community Forum Names the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2016

(New York, NY – 10 February, 2016) – The Intelligent Community Forum announced the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2016 today via live Web video from the think tank’s New York headquarters. The announcement features appearances from the Mayors of Eindhoven, Netherlands and Columbus, Ohio (USA), and the CEO of the city of Stockholm’s innovative broadband provider, Stokab.

The fourteenth annual Top7 list includes cities from four nations. Three communities are located in Canada, two in Taiwan, one in Germany, and one in New Zealand. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Hsinchu County, Taiwan
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany
  • New Taipei City, Taiwan
  • Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • Whanganui, New Zealand
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hsinchu County, New Taipei City, Surrey and Winnipeg are returning to the list of the Top7 from previous years. Muelheim an der Ruhr and Whanganui are joining the list of finalists for the first time and are the first-ever representatives from their nations on the list. Montreal, Canada has been on the ICF’s list of Smart21 previously, but reaches the list of seven for the first time.

“Canada and Taiwan are again well-represented among the Top7 Intelligent Communities,” said co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “These are nations where regional and national policy has long aimed at helping their citizens adapt to the demands of the broadband economy, which has given them a lead in moving from broadband technology to truly transformed communities.”

Following are brief profiles for this year’s 2016 Top7 Intelligent Communities. More complete profiles can be found online on ICF's Website.

Hsinchu County, Taiwan: In 1980, Taiwan’s National Science Council set up the nation’s first science park in Hsinchu County, as a means to create a domestic high-tech industry. Today, the 500 companies in Hsinchu Science Park employ 150,000 people and generate US$16.6 billion in total revenue. More than 10 percent of them are spin-outs from one of many Hsinchu’s universities and research institutes. Today, the city’s challenge is to translate economic success into civic success: to make Hsinchu County a sustainable Intelligent Community with a high quality of life, where innovation is a part of people’s daily lives. Government and business are pursuing the goal on multiple fronts. Read more

Montreal, Quebec, Canada: The largest French-speaking city in North America, the Montreal Metro Area is home to more than a tenth of Canada’s population. The region was hit by the decline of heavy industry in the Eighties, and launched a large-scale transition of its economy to ICT, aerospace, life sciences, health technologies and clean tech. Together, these clusters contain more than 6,250 companies employing about 10% of the workforce. The city’s economic future depends on helping those small-scale innovators to collaborate in building a bigger future, while preserving the culture and beauty that attract 3.5 million visitors to the area each year. Read more

Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany: To ensure that the city has the broadband infrastructure it needs, Mülheim completed an inventory of the telecom conduit network owned by multiple organizations that underlies the city, which reduces the challenges for new broadband providers and has encouraged the city to consider construction of its own network. As the city changes, it has been careful to engage organizations and citizens as partners in envisioning the future. One multi-partner initiative is coordinating a program to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, while another is forging a new urban development model that includes everything from business and social services to sustainability and health. Read more

New Taipei City, Taiwan: New Taipei City (NTPC) became the nation’s most populous city with its official creation in December 2010. Previously, it was a county surrounding the capital city of Tapei, and NTPC has worked to unify the new city and create a dynamic economy distinct from that of the capital. Massive investments in transportation are creating highways and transit lines that, ringing Taipei, connect the city’s 29 districts and more than 1,000 villages. The NTPC government has collaborated with telecom and cable TV companies to make ADSL available to 99% of the population, while speeds of up to 60 Mbps are available to 94% and 4G WiMax reaches 85%. Read more

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada: Surrey is a city in transition, from a suburban past to a sustainable urban future. It is Canada’s third fastest-growing city, which welcomes 1,000 new residents each month and where residential construction is a major industry. It is part of the growing metropolitan area of Vancouver, from which it derives most of its economic energy today. To gain greater control over its destiny, Surrey has developed a diversification strategy calling for deepening the partnership between its institutions of higher learning and local business. Development is focused on an Innovation Boulevard project, where the city, universities and business are building clusters in health technology, clean tech and advanced manufacturing. Read more

Whanganui, New Zealand: Bypassed by national rail lines in the 19th Century – which led to the closing of a railways workshop that was a major employer – it was bypassed again by broadband providers in the 20th. For Whanganui, on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the best of times may lie ahead. Rich in natural beauty and culture, Whanganui is currently the ninth poorest district in New Zealand and ranks near the bottom of the national index of social deprivation. However, the city has begun its transformation and is in the 8th year of a” Family-Friendly Strategy” that has overlaid broadband on goals set for the economy, community partnerships, health, safety, cultural richness and environmental sustainability. Read more

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Located midway between the two coasts of Canada, Winnipeg is the capital of a province rich in agricultural and natural resources. The city has pursued economic growth by connecting industry and education more systematically, and leveraging its indigenous geographical and cultural assets. A public-private R&D organization develops technologies and supply chains for high-performance composites based on agricultural materials, while there has been a programmatic attempt to equip its large aboriginal population with digital tools. Read more

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 2015 at ICF’s Institute in Dublin, Ohio.

Candidates are evaluated based on the six Intelligent Community Indicators, which provide the conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community's competitiveness and point to its success in what the Intelligent Community Forum calls, “The Broadband Economy.” Each year the Intelligent Community Awards Program has been guided by an annual theme. The 2016 theme, From Revolution to Renaissance, focuses on the ways cities and towns studied by ICF plan their future at a time when the economy, the environment and the patterns of urban and rural life are undergoing dramatic change. Click here to find out more about this year's theme.

The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in Columbus on 16 June 2016 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Columbus, Ohio, USA as 2016 Intelligent Community of the Year. The announcement will be made live at a dinner for 500 people and international media.

About Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum ( think tank, headquartered in New York, is a global network of 145 counties, cities and towns with a think tank at its heart. ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT). To help cities and towns build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts global events, publishes books, and produces its high-profile annual international awards program. The Forum has two Institutes in North America dedicated to the study of the movement and an affiliate ICF Canada organization. Global leaders, thinkers, and media observers follow and participate in the ongoing global dialogue initiated by the Intelligent Community Forum. 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 Foundation has an association made up of 145 designated Intelligent Communities worldwide, which is represented by mayors and key civic leaders. 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
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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