Congrats to Alexandria Lakes Area in MN – recently named to Smart21 Communities of 2021 from ICF

The ICF (Intelligent Community Forum) is a strategy and award that helps communities around the world strive to be smarter through the use of broadband technology. Each year they whittle down to the top community, starting with the announcement of the Smart21 Communities of 2021, which they did yesterday.

Big news! Alexandria Lakes Area in MN made the top 21 list.

It’s a big honor. Now we have someone local to cheer on as the race progresses. The Blandin Foundation has long been a proponent of the ICF model. The early MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) program, a precursor to the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) programs that Blandin hosts now. In fact, Blandin encourage and supported Alexandria Lakes Area in MN’s application.

Here’s the full list of the Smart21:

  • Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  • Alexandria Lakes Area, Minnesota, USA
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam
  • Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
  • Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
  • Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada
  • Fairlawn, Ohio, USA
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada
  • City of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
  • Markham, Ontario, Canada
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Prospect, South Australia, Australia
  • Rochester, New York, USA
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

I’ll paste more on the program from ICF below – but (especially) if you’re in Minnesota you have a unique opportunity to learn more through a series of webinars presented as part of the  AIR initiative, a partnership between Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation and Blandin Foundation. In fact, the there’s a webinar this afternoon:

  • 24: Connectivity: The Foundation of Digital Opportunity.
  • 25: Knowledge Work: Creating a Ladder of Opportunity.
  • March 2: Innovation: Building the Ecosystem from Growth.
  • March 4: Inclusion: Overcoming the Digital Divide.
  • March 9: Sustainability for Quality of Life, Engagement and Economic Growth.

More from ICF…

The Smart21 are selected by ICF based on quantitative and qualitative data related to the six Factors of the ICF Method. The data and information are evaluated by a global team of Analysts led by Columbia professor, former Cisco executive and former Westchester County (New York) CIO, Dr. Norman Jacknis. Dr. Jacknis serves as a Senior Fellow of the Intelligent Community Forum. The ICF Method provides the conceptual framework for understanding the factors that determine a community’s competitiveness in economic, social and cultural terms. Click here to learn more about the ICF Method.

This entry was posted in MN, Opportunities 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.

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