What is an Intelligent Community?

What comes to mind when you read the words “Intelligent Community?”

A city full of people with Ph.Ds? Some Intelligent Communities are – but it’s not what makes them intelligent.

A city or county that is home to hundreds of technology companies, from global brands to upstart innovators? That’s true of many Intelligent Communities – but it’s not what makes them intelligent.

A Smart City, one that installs technology to make traffic flow better, improve city services, help find a parking place, detect leaking water pipes and measure pollution and carbon emissions? Most Intelligent Communities have these systems – but it’s not what makes them intelligent.

Accelerating your community’s progress

What does? It is an approach to economic development that ICF calls the Community Accelerator Strategy. It is a strategy for surviving and thriving in an economy where digital dominates and has come to transform everything we do. In the pursuit of acceleration, cities and regions work across six Factors to build –

Dynamic, prosperous and inclusive economies that

>> Strength social connection and 

>> Support rich and meaningful cultures 

These are the things that make a great place to live, to work, learn, build a business or a career, and make a path for the next generation. You can meet the six Factors of the Accelerator Strategy on the pages of this site, and read profiles of the cities and regions – large and small, in dozens of nations – that have pursued it

Why does it matter?

Why have more than 200 cities and regions around the world pursued the Accelerator Strategy?

The digital revolution has created vast opportunities and just as many challenges to the place called home. The opportunities are the stuff of daily headlines: software, silicon chips, e-commerce, social media, video streaming, online collaboration, cloud computing, virtual companies, cybersecurity – the list goes on and on.

The challenges are less visible but more profound. The digital revolution has created an economy in which prosperity and social engagement depend on high-quality broadband. An economy where a good education is the only path to careers that pay decent wages. An economy where the ability to innovate in business and government is the only avenue to growth.

These trends have had huge impacts on society and culture at the local level. They have drained economic opportunity from the lives of millions who never acquired the skills to compete. Among employers, they have created new winners and losers at a pace never seen before. They have deepened the divide between those skilled with digital and those who struggle, and given individuals who feel aggrieved the power to share their rage with millions.

Touching people’s lives

This pace of change has overwhelmed national, state and provincial governments around the world. But at the community level, where government most closely touches people’s lives, there is hope. Digital services make it possible for communities everywhere to build dynamic economies, strong societies and affirming cultures – and to pass these assets on to the next generation. Helping make that happen – through leadership training, analytics, certification, events and awards – is the mission of the Intelligent Community Forum.

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