Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year

Top 7Thanks to Bill Coleman for sending me an article from the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) on their Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year. (Folks who have been involved with Blandin for a while may remember that Robert Bell from ICF did a videoconference with Blandin in February, 20006. There was a video archive. I can’t get it to work from Dublin, sadly the good folks who had hosted the video for us may have taken it down.)

Super quick background on the awards: ICF spends about a year selecting the top community. In October, they select 21 Smart Communities (or Smart21) from the nominations they have received. In January, they pare those 21 down to the Top Seven Communities. In May, they announce the Intelligent Community of the Year at the Building the Broadband Economy conference.

Anyways, the ICF has announced their top 7 communities. I’ll paste the brief descriptions from the ICF web site below:

  1. Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom. This former industrial center known for “jute, jam and journalism” has transformed itself through intensive government-academic-business collaboration and broadband deployment into a UK center for life sciences and digital media. An innovative smart card for citizens was so successful that the Scottish Government asked Dundee to run its national program. With rising net job growth and business starts, Dundee has created a Digital Observatory to track its future progress as an Intelligent Community. (Top Seven 2007)
  2. Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. This community of 50,000 was a broadband “have not” until the City Council led an effort to aggregate public-sector, university and business demand and created e-Novations, its own fiber carrier, then launched the Fred-eZone wireless network offering free connectivity across the city. Today, Fredericton contains 70% of the province’s knowledge-based businesses and is using ICT to substantially reduce its carbon footprint.
  3. Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea. With only 2.5% of Seoul’s population, this district produces 25% of the city’s economic activity, and has invested its wealth in the next generation of e-government. Since 1995, a relentless digital drive has reduced the cost of government while delivering online services, education, quality of life programs and e-democracy to citizens. Over 70% of citizens have received ICT training through schools, community centers and a TV GOV program. (Top Seven 2007)
  4. Northeast Ohio, USA. The communities of this region are rising from the ashes of deindustrialization to recreate the entrepreneurial business, political and social culture that produced its first wave of prosperity. A successful fiber network deployment by OneCommunity has been leveraged by government and nonprofits to jumpstart new investment, improve healthcare delivery, bring the best in culture and education to urban schools, and engage tens of thousands of area leaders in collaboration over regional economic development.
  5. Tallinn, Estonia. A suggestion by Estonia’s president in 1995 that schools be connected to the Internet led to an ICT revolution that has linked 100% of Tallinn’s secondary schools to the Web and established over 600 public access points. More than 100,000 adults have received ICT training, while e-government programs have produced one of the most advanced smart card systems in Europe and a middleware program that slashes the costs of e-government. It was not until 2004 that the last Russian troops left the country, yet today, Tallinn receives 77% of all foreign direct investment into Estonia and seven out of ten in its workforce are in the service sector. (Top Seven 2007)
  6. Westchester County, New York, USA. This suburb of New York City was largely ignored by broadband carriers until it amassed demand from public agencies and built a multi-gigabit fiber network that now serves over 3,500 companies. Determined to maintain the quality of life that is its most compelling advantage, the county has invested in promoting business growth, improving the skills of its workforce and fighting digital exclusion in a community that has seen new immigrants become 35% of its population.
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. Powerful government-business-academic collaboration led by Wake Forest University permitted this former “tobacco capital” to build a fiber network that spurred demand and led to an 88% broadband penetration rate. The partners have used this digital foundation to develop free computer labs across the region, create an e-government portal that is number three in the nation, and build a sustainable ICT skills training program. The city and county now count 37,000 biotech employees as residents and will fund a program to put PCs and broadband connections into the homes of low-income students.

While I was on their site I checked to see if a Minnesota Community has ever been an Intelligent community. We haven’t. As far as I could see (and they don’t have Smart21 communities up for every year since 1999) the closest was Bettendorf Iowa in 2007.

The nomination process for 2009 doesn’t start until after May, but I think we should start thinking of some worthy local communities to nominate. (You can find the criteria on the IFC web site.) I have a note in my calendar to think about it again in June.

This entry was posted in Conferences, economic development by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year

  1. Pingback: ICF Announces the Smart21 Communities of 2009 « Blandin on Broadband

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s