The Intelligent Community Forum Names the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2017

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15th annual Top7 list includes communities from Australia, Canada, Taiwan and Russia

This year's Top7 reflects how Canadian, Taiwanese and Australian national governments have worked to unleash ‘the power of the local.'

At the conclusion of “The Internet of Cities Forum” in Taipei, Taiwan today, the Intelligent Community Forum announced its list of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year to an audience of national and municipal leaders from Taiwan, Canada, Estonia, the Netherlands and Vietnam. The 15th annual Top7 list includes communities from four nations, with Australia, Canada and Taiwan each contributing two, and Russia contributing a seventh community in a first-time achievement for that nation. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Chiayi City, Taiwan
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Grey County, Ontario, Canada
  • Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  • Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan

Simultaneously with the Taipei announcement, ICF released a video on its website featuring the co-founders of the Forum and a group of mayors and city officials from New York City; Ipswich, in Queensland, Australia; Knowle West in Bristol, United Kingdom; and Nelson in British Columbia, Canada. See the video announcement at: http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/top7

Ipswich and Taoyuan are returning to the list of the Top7 from previous years. Chiayi City, Edmonton, Grey County, Melbourne and Moscow are joining the list of finalists for the first time.

“In October, when we made our Smart21 announcement, I noted how the Canadian, Taiwanese and Australian national governments have worked to unleash ‘the power of the local,’” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla.  “We continue to see this reflected in this year’s Top7.”

Following are brief profiles for this year’s 2016 Top7 Intelligent Communities. More complete profiles can be found online on ICF's Website at http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/top7.

Chiayi City, Taiwan: Chiayi is a provincial city of 270,000 in southeastern Taiwan, midway between Taichung and Tainan. Ninety-five percent of its economy is in the services sector – wholesale and retail, transportation and warehousing, and accommodation and food – which employs three-quarters of the workforce.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: The city of Edmonton lies close to one of the largest oil deposits on Earth, which has created a foundation for prosperity but saddled the community with major challenges as well. The resource boom has swelled Edmonton into the youngest major city in Canada with the most diverse population. It has also created housing shortages, homelessness and a range of social ills. And when oil boom turns to oil bust, the challenges mount higher. To create a new economy on top of the oil-driven present, Edmonton has built the infrastructure of the new century and engaged its institutions in translating that infrastructure into a new source of prosperity.

Grey County, Ontario, Canada: The County of Grey is a rich cultural center of Ontario with a long history of agriculture and bustling water trade. Located in "cottage country" with a population of 92,0000, the county is home to the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival and the Festival of Northern Lights, and the county seat of Owen Sound was even named the 2004 Cultural Capital of Canada. The future looks bright in Grey County as farmers step into the digital world with the help of their technically-skilled neighbors and local youths train to become the next generation of innovators.

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia: In 2011, the city of Ipswich published a 20-year economic development plan for its population of 195,000. It forecast the addition of 292,000 new residents, who will require an additional 120,000 jobs, and will live in a network of distinct communities interwoven with centers of employment, recreational facilities and green space. The plan responded to future challenges but also to past ones. Because Ipswich offered affordable housing and an attractive lifestyle, its population has grown rapidly in the booming economy of 21st Century Australia. 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne is Australia’s second largest municipality and the capital of the state of Victoria. A leading financial center, this city of 130,000 is at the center of a metropolitan area of 4.5 million people and is hub for the Australian film and television industries. In 2016, The Economist named Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for the sixth year in a row. Working together, the people, businesses and institutions of Melbourne are building a future that leverages the city’s strengths while working to close the gaps left by the past decade of development. 

Moscow, Russia: The capital city of Russia, Moscow produces more than 20% of that nation’s GDP and, with over 12 million people, is the largest city on the European continent. It is also a city that has taken enormous strides to build a collaborative, knowledge-based economy in a nation better known for top-down leadership, where 80% of exports are of oil, natural gas and other natural resources. The administration of Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has invested large amounts of money and political capital in a vision for Moscow as an attractive location for knowledge-based businesses, a center for learning and a city where government exists to serve the people as efficiently and transparently as possible. Deploying digital technologies to serve those ends, Moscow is turning one of the world’s megacities into an Intelligent Community.

Taoyuan, Taiwan: From the Taoyuan International Airport on its northwest corner to its mountainous and thinly populated southeast, Taoyuan is home to 2 million people and 47,000 companies including one-third of the nation’s top 500 manufacturers. By nourishing local innovation, attracting international entrepreneurs, and building an ever-growing infrastructure for clean energy production, Taoyuan is preparing its people, organizations and environment for global competition.

ABOUT THE INTELLIGENT COMMUNITY AWARDS
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 2016 at a conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Candidates are evaluated based on seven criteria: 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,” and the annual theme. The 2017 theme, The Internet of Cities, was announced by ICF in October. A special report detailing the theme can be found here: http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/internet_of_cities

The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in New York City on 8 June 2017 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Montreal, Quebec, Canada as 2017 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: http://www.icfsummit.com/

ABOUT THE INTELLIGENT COMMUNITY FORUM
The Intelligent Community Forum (http://www.intelligentcommunity.org) 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 http://www.icf-foundation.org. For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs, http://www.intelligentcommunity.org.

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