Three US communities have managed top slots in the Intelligent Community Forum’s Top7 list for 2015. The list provides a ranking of the top communities for connectivity and innovation. The Top7 list included cities and towns from five different nations, three communities from the United States, one from Australia, one from Brazil, one from Canada, and one from Taiwan.
According to the New York-based think tank, which has been naming the world’s most Intelligent Community of the Year since it named Singapore in 1999, Canada and Taiwan continue to reach the group’s Top7 regularly. The list also includes two American communities (Columbus and Arlington County), which were on the list in 2014 as well.
In order to qualify as a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities and regions first needed to become an Intelligent Community Forum Smart21 Intelligent Community. The Smart21, named in October 2014, were chosen from hundreds of evaluated communities from around the world.
Candidates are evaluated based on the five 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.” In addition, the Intelligent Community Awards Program is guided by an annual theme, which in 2015 is The Revolutionary Community. This is an attempt to study and to have a global dialogue about urban and regional planning and how it is impacting the way people live, work and create in their cities and towns. The Intelligent Community Forum released a white paper discussing the theme, which can be downloaded here.
The Top7 for this year include:
· Arlington County, Virginia, USA
· Columbus, Ohio, USA
· Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
· Mitchell, South Dakota, USA
· New Taipei City, Taiwan
· Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
· Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Arlington County, Virginia appears for the third time as a Top7 Intelligent Community, Arlington has used smart planning to leverage the benefits of its location near Washington, DC. Arlington looks to continue its growth into the future with its Telecom Master Plan.
Columbus, Ohio is also on the list for the third year in a row. Columbus aims to overcome its biggest challenge – a large, low-income population stranded by the decline of low-skilled factory employment – with programs increasing collaboration among government, education, business and institutions. The city is now actively working to keep and train people in the community.
Mitchell, South Dakota the third US community to be on the list. A strategic plan developed in the late 1980s, named Vision 2000, called for a community-wide emphasis on education, healthcare, infrastructure and recreation. It led to the merger of two hospitals, creating a unified healthcare system that became the city’s biggest employer, and the construction of new schools that partnered with the local university and recreation center to advance educational excellence. ICF said it demonstrates the hope that broadband and new ideas in planning offer to rural communities and towns.