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Columbus Named as Top 7 Intelligent Community of 2014

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    Press Release:

    Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2014 named by Intelligent Community Forum

    Taichung City, Taiwan & New York, New York – January 23, 2014 – The Intelligent Community Forum has announced the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Top7 list includes three from Canada, two from the United States, and two from Taiwan. “This year’s Top7 group is unusual in that they represent only three nations. However, they collectively are a canvas that represents our movement. Each made it to the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability. They have set a new course for other cities to follow. We look forward to welcoming them to New York in June for the selection of the Intelligent Community of the Year,” said Lou Zacharilla, Intelligent Community Forum co-founder as he announced the Top7 at a conference hosted in Taichung City, Taiwan, the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year.

    In alphabetical order, the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:

    • Arlington County, Virginia, USA, which is building its own fiber network to boost broadband service and re-energize government-business-university collaboration
    • Columbus, Ohio, USA, which in its recovery from the 2008 recession has 20,000 more jobs than it did at its last economic peak in 2007
    • Hsinchu City, Taiwan, the first city in Taiwan to implement e-learning platforms for its students and establish a science park
    • Kingston, Ontario, Canada, which leveraged its educational institutions to build an innovation economy focused on environmental sustainability
    • New Taipei City, Taiwan, a new city forged from communities surrounding the nation’s capital, which is creating a unified and dynamic knowledge economy
    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a renowned waterfront development that will provide Internet at 500 times the speed of conventional residential networks
    • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where reinvention of its agricultural legacy is creating strong growth while preserving a valued heritage

    Study after study notes that cities all over the globe need solutions to a wide range of problems from transportation and the environment to economic growth and education. Intelligent Communities provide solutions.

    In order to qualify to become a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities and regions first needed to become an Intelligent Community Forum Smart21 Intelligent Community. The Smart21, named in October 2013 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 the broadband economy. In addition, the Intelligent Community Awards Program is guided by this year’s theme, Community as Canvas, that looks at three specific aspects of culture: as art and craftwork with both economic and social value, as heritage that gives a place its identity, and as attitudes arising from that heritage that determine how people react to change. The Intelligent Community Forum released a white paper discussing the theme, which can be downloaded here.

    The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in New York City in June 2014 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, where one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities will succeed Taichung City, Taiwan, as 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year.


    Columbus, Ohio, USA. Making its second appearance on the Top7 list the capital of the state of Ohio, Columbus combines great strengths with significant challenges. It is the home of two multi-billion-dollar institutions: Ohio State University (OSU), one of America’s largest research universities, and Battelle, the world’s biggest private research institute. Fifteen of America’s largest companies make their home there, as do award-winning museums, science centers and libraries. Multiple commercial broadband providers serve the metropolitan area, and public-sector networks provide government and academia with even more advanced capabilities. In 2013, US employment was still 25% down from the previous high, but Columbus had 20,000 more jobs than at the last economic peak.

    OSU lags nearly all of its peers in commercialization income and patents per research dollar. The city has a large low-income population stranded by the decline of manufacturing employment and ranks 46th out of the 50 largest American cities for upward social mobility. Per-capita income has declined over the past decade and unemployment, while below the US average, is a fact of life for too many citizens, while companies struggle to find properly qualified workers to fill open positions.

    Attacking these challenges through broad and deep collaboration has been the priority of Mayor Michael Coleman. Programs include the Columbus Partnership, an association of the CEOs of the city’s largest organizations. It develops strategy and engages stakeholders in civic improvement projects from downtown development to education and healthcare. Another partnership, TechColumbus, offers startup acceleration, business mentoring, seed funding and capital attraction. OSU has a US$35 million venture fund, raised jointly with Ohio University, to turn research successes into new companies.

    The city’s Capital Kids program provides after-school digital literacy programs for students K-12, and APPS works to give at-risk youth positive alternatives to being on the street. A Brookings Institution study identified Columbus as one of the few American cities whose population of young college graduates increased from 2007 to 2009. Over the last decade, the city has seen a 30% decline in low-skilled manufacturing employment but a 36% increase in higher-skilled education and healthcare employment.

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